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Old 25th Sep 2016, 22:26
  #2876 (permalink)  
Engines
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 778
Corp Clott (and others),

Perhaps I might offer a couple of observations on what (to me) is one of the key issues raised in this thread - the non-airworthiness of the ATCO aircraft fleet and how that is seen to relate to new MAA rules.

It seems to be a common assumption that the problem lies with application of the MAA regulations to the glider fleet. Understandably, some appear to believe that moving over to a fleet of aircraft operated under civilian rules would avoid many of the problems that led to this grounding.

In my view (and that's all it is, please feel free to disagree), the core of the problem is simply stated - the RAF have failed to look after their aircraft properly. And by 'properly', I don't mean to the new MAA rules - I mean to long standing and well understood basic principles of maintaining airworthiness. The rules that applied when they bought the aircraft in the first place. Despite being dressed up in a new format and in new language, the aims of the MAA regulations aren't very different to those that were used (and observed) for many years. Tuc has succinctly set these out many times, my version of them is:

1. Know what you have procured - define the configuration
2. Demonstrate that it's airworthy - build your safety case
3. Release the aircraft into service (with your RTS) to that configuration, underpinned by your safety case, with all the required information and support to allow the front line to operate and maintain the aircraft so that it remains airworthy
4. When you change the configuration (repairs. modifications) document the changes and update your safety case, RTS and the publications.

I've said it before, but it bears repeating. Doing this for a fleet of gliders and low power aircraft should have been an absolute doddle. Basic. Ops normal. Choose your adjective. So the big question remains - how on earth did the RAF NOT do that? Come on MAA, people want to know. After all, they paid for these aircraft.

If you let an aircraft fleet get into this condition and then years later slap a new set of rules on them that say, in effect 'do what you should have done back in the 1990s when you bought the aircraft' - well, that's when things will go pear shaped. And they have.

Way forward? Actually, I agree with other posters that the RAF have no business providing experience and solo flights for school children in military aircraft. If it's a core RAF requirement, then justify it (personally, i think that given the current state of the Armed Forces, it needs a good hard look) and contract it out to civilian organisations better equipped to do it. Sell off the fleet (although after all this, I'd see their resale value at about nil), and let a competent organisation bring what aircraft they can up to compliance with civilian rules.

And then bring those responsible for the waste of millions of taxpayer pounds to justice.

Best Regards as ever to those having to sort this lot out - they shouldn't have to.

Engines
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