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Old 3rd Jan 2017, 22:59
  #3064 (permalink)  
The B Word
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Uranus
Posts: 824
As someone who has flown a dozen cadets or so under ACTO35 rules this year I feel that we should think again about the way we fly cadets and expand them to Service Flying/Gliding Clubs. Firstly, we need to stop the nonsense about not being able to use public money to fly Air Cadets under ACTO35 - my 30 minute flights cost about 25% of a similar Vigilant flight; now that's a saving. The risk to life sits outside of the military airworthiness chain and then the RAF only own the reputational risk of losing a Cadet in a military sponsored flight. They already do this for Air Cadet flying scholarships. Furthermore, the Service Flying/Gliding Clubs can plug the ridiculous gaps left in coverage by the current AEF/VGS laydown - kids don't want to sit 1-4 hours in a bus to go flying! That means supporting the RAF Air Sports and ensuring that we keep small airstrips open for their operation (rather than sell it all off like is planned at Henlow, Wyton (which has recently started a small grass airstrip in lieu of the large concrete runway that has been sold off) and Halton). There are 13x RAF Flying Clubs, 6x RAF Gliding Clubs and 1x RAF Microlight Club. If all of these flew 300 Cadets per year (to put this into context the Halton Aero Club flew 100 children in an afternoon last summer) then that would see 6,000 Cadets flown. This could easily be extended to 10,000 per year with little effort.

I'm not proposing that this Air Sport activity replaces the 2FTS effort (which wouldn't be hard at present!) but should augment their efforts and that of the AEFs. When I flew this dozen or so youngsters only 1 of them had flown before and they had all been in the Air Cadets for over 2 years (page 44 of their little logbook of achievements). So augmentation to ensure that these Cadets fly has got to happen otherwise it is not just the RAF that will lose out, but British industry and our civil aviation service providers - as the leaders of British Air Power it is our duty to do so for the good of the Service and the Country.

We do nothing and wait for the current proposed solution at our peril.

The B Word
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