Make your mark from the flight crew to the flight deck Flight Operations

There are many ways to involve yourself in the intricate world of Flight Operations in America’s Navy. Guide aircraft off and on to a carrier deck at sea. Fly aboard high-performance aircraft. Conduct Unmanned Aerial Vehicle/Unmanned Aerial Surveillance (UAV/UAS) operations or run computer-based ground-/carrier-controlled navigation and radar approach systems.

Navy Aircrewmen and Air Traffic Controllers are essential in directing the everyday complexities above and below the flight deck. They provide radio instructions to those who pilot the sophisticated airplanes and helicopters of America’s Navy. Ensure that each aircraft that leaves the flight deck performs its mission successfully and returns home safely. And make sure these advanced aircraft operate at peak condition at all times.

Job Description

Guarantee the successful launch of SH-60 Seahawk helicopters and F/A-18 Super Hornet jets. Conduct mine countermeasures. Provide aircraft with critical information essential to recovery missions. Some of the most well-rounded men and women in America’s Navy make up the Flight Operations community. Your job will require you to be your best at all times, no matter the task or situation at hand.

No college degree is required to become an enlisted Navy Aircrewman or Air Traffic Controller. As an Enlisted Sailor working in this field, you can expect to:

  • Perform aircraft tactical duties as a flight engineer, loadmaster and/or reel operator
  • Execute handling duties related to the launch and recovery of Naval aircraft
  • Interpret data shown on radar screens to plot aircraft positions
  • Operate tactical weapons, sensors and communication equipment
  • Work with pilots to operate and control aircraft systems

Your multifaceted talents will make you an important part of one of the world’s most renowned aviation forces.

Specific Responsibilities

As a member of the Flight Operations team, you will undergo some of the most demanding physical training offered by the military services. With the knowledge you gather, you could support your squadron’s flight line, assist Navy Pilots and Naval Flight Officers with antisubmarine warfare, contribute to search and rescue operations or control the movement of aircraft and vehicles on airfield taxiways.

As part of this community, you may have the opportunity to:

  • Perform pre-flight planning, equipment checks and post-flight maintenance
  • Maintain aeronautical charts and maps
  • Manage advanced airborne electronic equipment
  • Work with airborne mine countermeasure equipment
  • Act as a flight communications operator

Work Environment

As a Navy Aircrewman or Air Traffic Controller, you may be assigned to sea or shore squadrons in any part of the world. You will have the opportunity to work in a variety of environments – from airborne aircraft to hangars, hangar decks to flight decks, and flight lines at air stations and aircraft carriers.

Training and Advancement

America’s Navy offers some of the most advanced and comprehensive aviation training in the world. Sailors who demonstrate academic and physical aptitude and a potential for leadership and responsibility are considered ideal candidates for this highly select, prestigious unit. Select Sailors who have completed this training have gone on to become Aviation Rescue Swimmers (AIRRs).

If you are an Enlisted Sailor, the aviation training you will receive in this field is a mix of hands-on experience and classroom study. Advanced technical and operational training in the aviation field is also available as part of your career development, preparing you for any number of future civilian careers with airports, airline industries, government and law enforcement agencies, aircraft manufacturers and more.

Education Opportunities

As a Sailor, a large amount of the training you will receive in the aviation field can be counted toward credit hours for a vocational certificate, as well as toward a college degree.

Pay Range

For enlisted members of the Navy Flight Operations team, pay is dependent upon rank or rate and years in service. Like all enlisted positions, promotions will depend upon your performance and time in service, and you would have to earn an increase in rate.


A four-year college degree is not required to become an enlisted Aircrewman or Air Traffic Controller.

After the Navy

The extensive specialized training you receive while in America’s Navy will provide you with the skills and knowledge civilian employers desire in employees. As a Sailor in the world’s most respected aviation force, you will have endless career opportunities after your service. You could become anything from an aircraft electronics mechanic to a computer peripheral equipment operator and more.

Consider Your Service Options.

There are different ways that you can commit to serve in America's Navy. Besides full-time opportunities in Active Duty, part-time Reserve positions are also available in this career area.