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The Fleet

NAVAL AIRMAN (AIRCRAFT HANDLER)

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    Average pay:
    RN and RM Officers and Ratings Rates of Pay 2008
    Age on entry:
    16-36
    Nationality:
    British, Irish, Commonwealth or British/dual citizenship
    Qualifications:
    No specific qualifications are needed
    Gender:
    Naval Airmen (Aircraft Handler) - NA(AH) - can be men or women
    Job description

    The work you do is essential whenever the Royal Navy is flying; you are needed wherever naval aircraft take off and land. Whatever the mission, the aircraft could be landing or taking off from a ship anywhere on the world's oceans or from an air base, and that is where you will be making sure that any of the aircraft can take off or land in safety.

    We offer most people the security of a Full Career, which is 18 years or to age 40, whichever is later. Some people may have the opportunity to serve for longer, depending on their wishes and the needs of the Service. However, if you want to leave the Royal Navy, you can submit 12 months' notice two and a half years after the end end of your initial professional training. The exact length of this training period depends on the particular job you do and the level of training it requires. All new recruits have a right of discharge at 14 days notice after 4 weeks, within the first 6 months of service, regardless of career terms.

    On board

    Name: Graeme Robinson
    Age: 27

    Is your job very demanding?

    If we have a squadron of 10 to 15 aircraft on board, that means a lot of flying. The pilots need to get their flying hours in, so the flight deck is going to be a very busy place. It may mean anything from a four o'clock start in the morning, flying all the way through to four o'clock the next day. But obviously that's not just me - we work shifts, called watches, of eight hours on, eight hours off.

    Is it ever dangerous?

    The flight deck can be a very busy place at times, particularly at night, so you need to be quite strong willed and confident - not worried about shouting at people - because, obviously, very dangerous things can happen very easily.

    But with the training I've had and the people I've got round me, I always feel confident and safe up on deck, to be honest. So I can't really say I've had any dangerous times.

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