Become a Flight Service Specialist

Become a Flight Service Specialist

Our Local represents over 600 Flight Service Specialists who work across Canada, in every Province and Territory. We can be found at the International Flight Service Station, 54 Airport Advisory Stations, 5 Flight Information Centres, and various regional and national head offices from coast to coast.

Why I Am A Flight Service Specialist

Read stories of why our members are so proud to be part of our growing community

An Interview With Jody Paton

Kamploops Airport Advisory Station

How do you describe what you do for a living to your family and friends? I keep planes from crashing. Things don’t just work out by themselves…they need somebody to create order. That’s what I do. I make sure air traffic runs smoothly and efficiently at my airport.

What attracted you to work as a Flight Service Specialist? Honestly, the money and the career. I wasn’t particularly attracted to the job at first. I had no idea how much I’d grow to absolutely love it…how valuable I feel and know that I am by being good at my job and making everything work well.

What has surprised you about the career path you have chosen? How much I’ve grown to love it. How much me doing my job and doing it well adds to my self-esteem. My airport is a better place because I’m there making things work. That feels good.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career as a Flight Service Specialist? If you’re able to do the job, if you have the skill we need, then this job is the lottery. We get paid really well, we have great benefits, you get to hang out with a bunch of really smart people…it’s a great job. If I had to do it all over again, I absolutely would.

What are some highlights of the community you live in? We have or are close to everything. Mountains, lakes, all the shopping you need, and none of the big city traffic. Small cities are the best!

What are some of the highlights of the site at which you work? While there is certainly mental downtime, it gets really busy and complex here. It makes you think, plan, change the plan when needed, etc. You really have to keep a constant mental picture of the air traffic here, and you need to be ready for monkey wrenches in your plan.

What are some of your favourite things to do outside of work? I’m a father, a husband, I play in 2 bands, I ebike around this beautiful town, I play video games, and I think about how lucky I am to have this great life that I have…which is made possible by me having such a great job.

What is your biggest achievement to date? Saving lives, multiple times. There have been a few times when the only thing that kept 2 planes crashing together was me. I prevented that when the pilots weren’t able to themselves. So, some families are still complete and haven’t had devastating losses because of me. That feels pretty good.

What have you learned about yourself as your career progressed? I have more in me than I thought I did. This job has helped show me that I’m more capable and valuable than I thought I was before. I just needed the right challenge. And FSS is the perfect challenge for me

Saving lives, multiple times...

Some families are still complete and haven't had devastating losses because of me. That feels pretty good.
-Jody Paton, Kamploops AAS

An Interview With Tim Sikkema

Timmins Airport Advisory Station

How do you describe what you do for a living to your family and friends? When I first tell people about my job, I tell them I work in the tower at the airport – that’s something that people can relate to in some way. Then I’ll let them know that I don’t actually control airplanes, just give information and advice that pilots do well to make use of.  

What attracted you to work as a Flight Service Specialist? It was my wife who first suggested that I get into NAV Canada. A counsellor had previously told us that some of the stuff we’d gone through before was “as hard as air traffic control,” so when I was looking for a career change, she jokingly suggested I give that a try. I took it seriously, though, and after an unsuccessful attempt at training in Air Traffic Control in Toronto, ended up in the FSS stream. I am now a Flight Service Specialist in Timmins and in retrospect, I think I enjoy this job and the lifestyle that comes with it more than I would have enjoyed working Canada’s busiest airport. 

What has surprised you about the career path you have chosen? Aside from working air traffic at the Timmins airport, we also work two other airports remotely. It’s quite striking how different the operations can be at each airport, which makes for a great challenge. 

What advice would you give to someone considering a career as a Flight Service Specialist? There is a lot to learn in training, but after some time, the job comes fairly naturally. Air traffic levels vary hour to hour and month to month. I love being moderately busy, where it feels like I’m really making a difference to aviation safety. My schedule here is quite flexible, which really helps with juggling various commitments in life. 

What are some highlights of the community you live in? Timmins is a small city of just over 40,000 people that has everything I need (and for everything else there’s the Internet). I appreciate the slower pace of life and the short commute to work compared to living in the GTA. I especially love the opportunities for outdoor adventure not far from home – kayaking, canoeing, snowshoeing, hiking, geocaching, and uncovering some amazing geology.

What are some of your favourite things to do outside of work? I have become very involved with the local volunteer ground search and rescue unit. From the camaraderie of training exercises, to learning valuable outdoors skills, to tromping through swampy forests looking for missing people, to leadership experience, to managing the administrative details as secretary of the board, it’s a real pleasure to give back to the community.