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Old 28th Dec 2012, 21:25   #1 (permalink)
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Changes to pure flying syllabus at valley?

Reading an article in latest Air International magazine about the T2 Hawk at valley and modernisation of the syllabus; it said aerobatics were no longer taught but combat manoeuvres.
Is this just name changing with no substantive change in actual manoeuvres?
If there are changes what are they? What if anything has been dropped?
Have these changes been warmly welcome as "about time " or not?

Just asking as interested low hours PPL/ aerobatic student ?
Obviously if straying into Official secrets territory just tell me to b*gg*r off !

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Old 28th Dec 2012, 22:06   #2 (permalink)
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Long gone from the RAF, but from my days, few aerobatics were "taught" at AFTS (Valley/Hawk). You "learned" aeros at UAS/EFTS/BFTS on Props/JPs/Tucano - and these types could do everything the Hawk could do and more in this area.

Yes - some conversion to Hawk speeds / techniques / gates, but not proper teaching. So not answering your question, but not sure what you have read is a big deal (if true?)...

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Old 28th Dec 2012, 22:13   #3 (permalink)
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I've not read the Air International article and it's been a good many years since I passed through Valley but when I was there 208 Sqn taught aerobatics and 19(F) Sqn taught Basic Fighting Manoeuvres.

The difference being that 208 did it purely as an aircraft handling exercise hence it was called aerobatics and 19(F) did it as a way of using the aircraft to win a fight.

BFM undoubtedly have their roots in aerobatics but sometimes you just don't care how perfect your manoeuvre is, you just want to haul your nose round and get a firing solution.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 00:48   #4 (permalink)
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As a piston aerobatic pilot, I'd have thought (please correct if I'm wrong as I have NO Mil experience) that first you'd teach aeros on the aeroplane so you know what the aeroplane can do and what it feels like in extremis and beyond, then you'd build on those skills to teach fighting manouvres?

Last edited by Shaggy Sheep Driver; 29th Dec 2012 at 00:49.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 01:28   #5 (permalink)
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Changes to pure flying syllabus at valley?

The new syllabus at Valley on IV Sqn does not formally teach aerobatics any more. The Hawk T2 syllabus is a combination of the old 208 and 19 Sqn syllabi.
The structure now is intended to show a seamless transition between the two. Hence, pilots are taught combat manouevres that will have a direct read across to BFM. For example max rate turns (rate fighting) into a pitch up (down range travel stop) and slow speed reversals (flat scissors technique).
As a student on 208 (back in 2002) I always hated aeros and couldn't really see the point in demonstrating the perfect slow roll. I think the new syllabus is a big improvement and aims to teach directly transferable and useful skills. Does that sound like a sales pitch? Maybe that's because I was teaching it for a while and can see the benefits!
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 07:29   #6 (permalink)
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Yes I can see that time spent perfecting your slow roll technique is not going to improve your BFM....on the plus side you'd luck good in your opponents gun sight.

Thanks for all the replies TIM
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 10:18   #7 (permalink)
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Since they have next to no one to train in 2013 its all rather academic...

Those that get trained for fast jets will arrive on a frontline Squadron where flying is tightly constrained by cash...

And if they ever go into combat against a real air threat will find they are stuffed by ROE....

Still there's always the Red Arrows post that frontline tour.

Sorry to be so cynical but when I went through in 1980 I had a year on the JP5 at Cranwell, a weekend to get to Valley, a hundred hour course, Kemble MU holding, CFS and back to Valley. Finished Chivenor in 1985 with a 1000hrs Hawk, arrived Binbrook later that year.

Worked hard, flew hard, did not realise at the time how lucky I was in comparison with the disgraceful way we treat the next gen of RAF pilots now..
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 15:41   #8 (permalink)
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Sad, but true, BigPants.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 15:55   #9 (permalink)
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...a weekend to get to Valley, a hundred hour course, Kemble MU holding, CFS and back to Valley. Finished Chivenor in 1985 with a 1000hrs Hawk, arrived Binbrook later that year.
Now THAT's a busy weekend

Actually BP, I'm envious of your experiences.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 16:14   #10 (permalink)
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Changes to pure flying syllabus at valley?

Of course you realise that in 1985 there were retired pilots saying:
"I feel so sorry for the guys nowadays. When I joined we used to get 600 hours a year in our Meteors and if we crashed a few no-one got overly upset".
Before that it was "When I were a lad we used to get 20 hours on Tiger Moths and a few trips in the Spitfire before it was chocks away and give old Fritz the heave ho over the channel".
I'm sure you see what I'm getting at. Times have changed but guys are still enjoying what they do. Its not the RAF you joined in the 1980s but its not too bad. The Hawk T2 as a trainer followed by a Typhoon career is hardly the end of the world.
As an aside I think we are all guilty of rose tinted specs syndrome. Already I look back and think "when I was on the frontline we used to fly every day and never had to do paperwork". My logbook tells a different story.

Last edited by Bob Viking; 29th Dec 2012 at 16:17.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 17:17   #11 (permalink)
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Dougie Mee

Well sort of...

There was a very experienced and well liked old boy called Dougie Mee who by then was doing a bit of post maintenance test flying and sim instruction who explained what that 1950s period was like.

If I recall correctly, he said the RAF had lost something like 50 pilots on the Meteor in one year due training accdidents. He had survived that period, flown various types and instructed on the Varsity at one stage.

Dougie apparently still alive in Rhosneigr.

During the Gnat and Hunter period at Valley they also suffered significant losses. Thankfully the Hawk had a much better record, Paul Gay I think the first fatal and after that an acceptable if sad level of attrition at Valley, Brawdy and Chivenor.

Think current generation of pilots getting a bad deal none the less but hope they make the best of what is on offer... or come and join us in civvy street.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 18:00   #12 (permalink)
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Aerobatics v Combat Manoeuvres.

When I were a lad (and that's going back some !), was taught that aeros might be great fun, but were of no relevance in battle now (even though Immelmann had done all right with his Turn a while back).

"Can't fly, but can shoot,
He still can be a bit of a brute.
Can fly, but can't shoot.
For him the Huns don't give a Hoot"


Last edited by Danny42C; 29th Dec 2012 at 18:07. Reason: Missed off a "n" (tut mir leid, Mein Herr Immelmann)
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 20:11   #13 (permalink)
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Required reading

Suggest a copy of "Fighter Combat. Tactics and Maneuvering" by Robert L. Shaw be left lying around the crewroom.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 22:08   #14 (permalink)
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Bigpants - rest assured that there are plenty to train. Courses starting every 6-8 weeks. 3 courses in progress at the moment with another starting in the new year.

Whilst there is part of me that thinks my inner pilot would have enjoyed the 1950's I'm not sure I would have survived. You are correct that the Hawk is easier to fly than that generation of aircraft but don't underestimate the improvement in training. Yes we might not be teaching the latest generation of barnstormers and stick n' rudder pilots but I would like to see a pilot with 250hr of the 60s cope with the amount of inputs these kids cope with. Single seat wingman self escort multirole with knowledge of relevant BVR (MRAAM) EW and Precision Wpns.

And yes Dougie is still here. I had a beer with his son only 2 weeks ago
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 22:48   #15 (permalink)
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Lets just hope that the fixed wing boys do not go down the route of the rotary chaps in which pilots were flying 'spirited' manouvres that were no longer taught at BFTS/AFTS/OCU because they knew it could be done. It cost lives including passengers and rear crew. The old and bold reintroduced wing-over instruction in acceptance that if the crews were going to do it, they may as well be taught how to do it safely and with finesse. Dilution; or rather further dilution of basic stick skills cannot possibly be a good thing.

Last edited by Yozzer; 29th Dec 2012 at 22:49.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 23:25   #16 (permalink)
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Manoeuvres are either legal or illegal. There are angle of bank and nose down limits laid down in orders. Stay within them your training is fine. Go outside them and a. Expect a shoeing or b. crash. Simples!
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Old 30th Dec 2012, 10:07   #17 (permalink)
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Aeros as a handling skill still have their place on EFT/BFJT, well certainly on EFT. I imagine the combat manoeuvres will filter back to to BFJT when the MFTS syllabus gets pencilled. If you're worried about a lack of AC performance knowledge and gate height awareness have no fear as the BFM syllabus covers it. Rolling/looping scissors or an aggressive transition to rate will test any of those aspects all whilst looking out the window and not flying IF Aeros as was the accurate method on the T1.
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