Flight Operations Officer - Red Arrows

info Issues viewing the video?

00:00:06:23 – 00:00:08:23
Hello. I’m Flying Officer Tasha Nicholson.

00:00:08:23 – 00:00:11:17
And I’m a flight operations officer here on the Red Arrows.

00:00:12:11 – 00:00:16:16
My day to day job is I have to look after the effective

00:00:16:16 – 00:00:20:14
training and delivery of the Red Arrows throughout the season.

00:00:20:20 – 00:00:22:21
And also the delivery of air shows.

00:00:24:16 – 00:00:25:19
I’m originally from Lancaster.

00:00:25:19 – 00:00:27:11
I went to a secondary school in Lancaster.

00:00:27:11 – 00:00:30:04
I took all the standard English, maths, science.

00:00:30:11 – 00:00:33:22
But I think my favourite two subjects at school were dance

00:00:33:23 – 00:00:36:12
and systems and control, which is like engineering.

00:00:36:17 – 00:00:38:07
I absolutely loved engineering.

00:00:38:07 – 00:00:42:07
I did really well in my GCSEs so I ended up going on sixth form.

00:00:42:07 – 00:00:47:06
At sixth form I did sociology, psychology, systems and control and mathematics.

00:00:48:01 – 00:00:51:15
I really enjoyed sixth form and continued it on, and

00:00:51:15 – 00:00:54:07
I think systems and control again was my favourite thing.

00:00:54:07 – 00:00:55:23
I think like hobbies and stuff,

00:00:55:23 – 00:00:59:14
I still carried on dance, but I didn’t continue it on to A-level.

00:01:00:20 – 00:01:01:16
But at the same

00:01:01:16 – 00:01:04:23
time as doing my A-levels, I worked at Vue cinemas in Lancaster

00:01:04:23 – 00:01:09:04
just to earn a bit of pocket money and piece until I finished and took a year out

00:01:09:11 – 00:01:13:07
and I carried on working at Vue until I applied for the RAF.

00:01:15:00 – 00:01:19:06
I think a real turning point for me was when I applied

00:01:19:06 – 00:01:23:00
initially to be in the RAF and I applied to be a flight ops officer.

00:01:23:15 – 00:01:26:13
Unfortunately, at the time I didn’t get that.

00:01:26:14 – 00:01:27:12
I was quite young at the time.

00:01:27:12 – 00:01:31:04
I was 19 years old when I applied, but I really knew I wanted to be in the RAF.

00:01:31:15 – 00:01:35:17
So I applied to be in the RAF and I put my application in still

00:01:35:17 – 00:01:40:00
and I joined at the time as a flight ops assistant, but now ASOS.

00:01:40:12 – 00:01:44:08
I think that was – it was a bit disheartening at the time.

00:01:44:16 – 00:01:47:19
However, I look back on the experience and the knowledge

00:01:47:19 – 00:01:51:04
and skill and experience that I gained for the role now that I have

00:01:52:07 – 00:01:53:03
It’s unparable.

00:01:53:03 – 00:01:57:24
So that for me it was a difficult point and I thought –

00:01:57:24 – 00:02:00:19
do I just wait and try again or do I just not bother?

00:02:01:00 – 00:02:06:05
But I stuck at it and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the experiences that I have.

00:02:06:06 – 00:02:08:05
I did three years in Cranwell air traffic.

00:02:08:05 – 00:02:11:23
I went on an overseas trip to Malta

00:02:12:13 – 00:02:14:18
and we got to go round Malta, which was absolutely amazing.

00:02:14:19 – 00:02:17:07
I’ve played basketball for the RAF

00:02:18:11 – 00:02:20:22
and the amount of things that I’ve done has just been absolutely amazing.

00:02:22:16 – 00:02:25:05
I think any advice I’d have to give to my younger self

00:02:25:15 – 00:02:28:17
would be try not to be as nervous for things that you can’t control.

00:02:29:01 – 00:02:32:22
So try not to worry as much for stuff that you’ve done.

00:02:32:22 – 00:02:34:13
And it’s just waiting in the hands of others.

00:02:34:13 – 00:02:37:11
Not only that, there’s always time to prepare. So

00:02:38:19 – 00:02:40:23
definitely prepare for everything.

00:02:40:24 – 00:02:42:18
I think sometimes I felt like I was a little bit

00:02:42:18 – 00:02:44:23
underprepared for situations and it showed.

00:02:44:23 – 00:02:48:12
So if you can use all the time that you can to prepare for stuff

00:02:50:02 – 00:02:52:08
and have fun with it, try

00:02:52:08 – 00:02:55:08
not to take things too seriously and actually have fun.


“It was a bit disheartening at the time.” After having her officer application turned down when she was 19, Tasha applied for a junior role instead and was accepted into the air force. Two years later, and with lots of experience under her belt, she applied again for an officer role and was successful.

Tasha now looks after the training and delivery of the Red Arrows and their air shows.

More information about Officers in armed forces

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

80%  male 
20%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Officers in armed forces serve as commissioned officers in Her Majesty’s armed forces, foreign and Commonwealth armed forces; plan, direct, organise and administer military operations; and perform duties for which there is no civilian equivalent.
Entry to a commission in the UK armed forces is possible with GCSEs/S grades and A levels/H grades, or with higher academic qualifications, or by promotion from NCO or other rank. Each arm of the forces has different age restrictions. Candidates must pass a medical examination and interview.
  • Advises and provides information on military aspects of defence policy;
  • Plans, directs and co-ordinates military training and manoeuvres;
  • Supervises the operation of military units and monitors the activities of junior officers, NCOs and other ranks;
  • Plans, directs and administers aid to civilian authorities as requested or when faced with civil disorder, natural disaster or other emergency.
Employment by region
Top 10 industries for this job
Public admin. & defence 24626
Other personal service 5192
Head offices, etc 1445
Employment status

From personal careers advice to finding work, see our round-up of
useful websites to help you on your way

Explore more videos by: