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Old 11th Mar 2017, 12:42
  #3312 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 777

Perhaps I might offer a comment here.

You say that 'the only focus now should be on getting back to a better place'. I fully understand why anyone involved in executing the recovery should think that. At the tactical level, that's absolutely right, just get on and clear the problems, get the cadets back in the air. Great.

Except for a couple of rather important points. Where exactly ARE the RAF getting back to? (And how do they 'get back' to a 'better place'? Is that the same 'place' as the 'worse place' they were previously in?). Sorry if that sounded sarcastic, it's not my intention. My point is that an organisation can only get itself sorted out if it understands what went wrong, identifies who was responsible, and then acts to stop it happening again. Honestly, I'm not convinced that the RAF can do that. Why do I come to that conclusion? First, what might be called 'cultural' failings. The RAF's leadership has, time and again, been shown where it has failed to achieve or maintain airworthiness in its aircraft fleets. Almost every time, it has ignored or, even worse, covered up, its failings. Sorry, but I don't see any signs that this aspect is changing.

My second reason for concern is more particular to the ATC fleet issue. Looking at OC 2FTS's response to the MAA's CAMO audit, the reason for the failings was identified as 'lack of resources'. His proposal is to 'obtain more resources' and to set up offices of people dedicated to producing the 'airworthiness assurance' documentation required by the MAA regs. Sorry, I don't buy that. Lack of resources wasn't the reason for failure to document repairs. It was a failure by RAF engineering officers to carry out their mandated duties. Loss of configuration control was due to a failure by MoD PT personnel to implement mandated regulations that have existed for many years. Same with toleration of poor documentation and lack of quality control. Failure to implement simple regulations. Common sense regulations. All the 'assurance' in the world won't make an organisation do the right thing if it's not organised and led properly.

Going forward, what I'd like to see is some equivalent of the system elsewhere in the public sector where an organisation is identified as 'failing' or 'unsatisfactory', and then put under 'special measures', where an external team comes in and does what is required to get it back up to an acceptable standard. To my mind, that would properly fulfil the MAA's remit to ensure that schoolchildren are, in the future, being flown in airworthy aircraft. Of course, labelling 2FTS a 'failing' organisation would be anathema to the RAF. As would labelling a DE&S PT as 'failing'. And that's kind of my point. Until this IS admitted, real progress will likely be nil.

Best Regards as ever to all those working honestly and hard to pick up the pieces,

Engines is offline