There are around 45,000 individual take-offs and landings every year at RAF Wittering, making it one of the busiest Ministry of Defence flying stations. In addition to ensuring airspace is safe for elementary flying training, the Air Traffic Control team regularly manages activity with heavy transport aircraft, jets and helicopters.
The Air Traffic Control team at RAF Wittering is a combined military and civilian organisation - which is unusual. The visual control room is manned by Babcock International personnel, while the radar room is controlled by those in Royal Air Force employment.
Over the last two years the team's output has shifted from being mostly supportive of flying training exercises; since 2018, the busiest year since the airfield reopened in 2014, there have been numerous visits from fast jets, helicopters and transport aircraft. There were also displays from the Red Arrows and Typhoons.
Flight Sergeant Katie Mason, Unit Standards Officer for air traffic control at RAF Wittering, said: "Our aim is to provide a safe operating environment for our trainee instructors and pilots, and also for the many other aircraft that use the station, and it’s a privilege to be recognised for our cohesive working practices."
The commendation is given by Air Officer Commanding (AOC) 38 Group, Air Vice Marshal Simon Ellard. RAF Wittering is a 38 Group Station and the commendation is not awarded often.
Five flying units are based at RAF Wittering. No 16 Squadron trains novice pilots, No 115 Squadron teaches qualified pilots to become instructors on the Grob Tutor, No 5 Air Experience Flight gives Air Cadets their first flying experiences and there are two University Air Squadrons; Cambridge and London.
Group Captain Jo Lincoln, Station Commander at RAF Wittering, commented: "This is a perfect example of the Whole Force in action; military personnel and civilian contractors working in harmony to deliver a safe and effective airfield and airspace. Well done to all members of this fantastic team, both past and present, as you are a credit to this Station and Babcock International. You thoroughly deserve this formal recognition."