Information for Air Traffic Controllers

Guidance for existing ATCOs

Applications regarding the grant of an ATCO Licence, Rating, Rating Endorsement, Unit Endorsement or English Language Proficiency Endorsement, expiry or withdrawal of Unit Endorsement or to notify they CAA of a change of personal details should be completed and submitted on form SRG 1411 Air Traffic Controller Licensing.

If you have any questions or queries regarding your ATCO licence, you can contact the CAA at +44 (0) 1293 573700 or e-mail

Maintaining your Licence

Unit endorsements are issued for a period of 12 months and may be renewed by an assessment of your continuing competence to provide the Air Traffic Services detailed in the unit endorsement. Competence examinations are conducted either by a Unit Competence Examiner (UCE) or by a CAA Inspector.

Training in Unusual Circumstances and Aircraft Emergencies (TRUCE)

In addition to your competence to provide an Air Traffic Control service at your unit, at least every 12 months you will need to undertake TRUCE and be assessed as competent to handle unusual circumstances and aircraft in emergency situations. TRUCE may include live aircraft simulating emergencies, exercises with the aerodrome fire service and exercises on radar simulators.

If you fail an assessment of your competence to handle unusual circumstances and aircraft in emergency situations, you will not be permitted to continue to provide an Air Traffic Control service until you have undertaken further training and passed an assessment. If you continue to fail the assessment, the CAA will be informed and may take action to vary your ATC licence.

Maintaining Currency

To maintain your currency you will need to work on each sector or operational position for which you hold a unit endorsement for a particular number of hours during a notified period. Units will publish the hours and notified periods, but it is your responsibility to ensure you satisfy the requirements.

Medical Certification

You must not provide an Air Traffic Control service unless you hold a current medical certificate of the appropriate class. If you are below the age of 40 you only need a medical every two years; if you are 40 or over the medical is annual. You must inform the CAA if you are pregnant or if you have suffered any illness or injury which will involve your not being fit for a consecutive period of 20 days or more.

Removal from Operational Duty

If you are involved in an ATC incident or an aircraft accident there are procedures for removing you from duty to ensure you have sufficient time to recover from any stress. This period also gives the unit management or the CAA time to assess your role in the incident. Although controllers may consider themselves unaffected by an incident, experience has shown that controllers who remain on duty following an incident have an increased risk of having another incident.

Psychoactive Substance Abuse

It is extremely important that controllers do not provide an operational Air Traffic Control service while under the influence of any psychoactive substance. The law already prohibits controllers from providing a service while under the influence of drink or drugs, but medicines either prescribed or bought over the counter may affect your ability to provide a safe Air Traffic Control service. If you are in any doubt you should ask for advice from the CAA.


The charges for the granting and renewal of ATCO licences can be found in the CAA’s Scheme of Charges, ORS5 No. 281 Personnel Licensing.