“The best job in the world” is how Flight Lieutenant Brittany Knowles describes her role as an air traffic controller in the Air Force.
CAPTION: Flight Lieutenant Brittany Knowles in her role as air traffic controller in Darwin. Story by John Noble.
Flight Lieutenant Knowles had always wanted to work in aviation, undertaking flying lessons before moving to Dubai to work as cabin crew and a recruiter for Emirates. A move back to Australia in her late 20s to pursue her dream saw her joining the Air Force as an air traffic controller.
Now based in Darwin with 452 Squadron, Flight Lieutenant Knowles says her job offers plenty of exciting challenges.
“Darwin is such an exciting place to be an air traffic controller because of the variety of aircraft, ranging from small Cessnas through to the F-35A fighter aircraft during an exercise period,” Flight Lieutenant Knowles said.
“Because of the great differences in aircraft speeds, it can be difficult to sequence. Some days you will have your in-bound sequence all completely done, everything looks perfect and then the military aircraft in the exercise areas will change plans.
It can mean you have to scrap your sequence and plan everything again.”
In addition to her work, Flight Lieutenant Knowles enjoys Darwin’s wet-dry tropical climate, laid-back lifestyle and access to the outdoors.
“I have been in Darwin for over four years and I really enjoy the lifestyle; it’s so outdoorsy,” she said.
“Whether it’s just walking along the esplanade in the afternoons or visiting the surrounding national parks, it’s stunning.”
Flight Lieutenant Knowles said there are two options in Australia for becoming an air traffic controller, either through Air Force or Air Services Australia.
“I chose to join the Air Force for the adventure and to do something for the national interest.
“The camaraderie and friendships you make are fantastic, and are another reason why I love the job. It really is the best thing ever.”