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Old 13th Mar 2017, 18:57
  #3320 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 777

Thanks for the support. Perhaps I can help take this thread along a bit more. In an earlier post I offered the idea of getting an organisation labelled as 'failing' or 'unsatisfactory' - in this case such a process would be aimed at two organisations: the DE&S Project Team and 2FTS. Let's take a look at why.

DE&S are first in the frame. They are responsible for loss of maintenance records, (a very probable) lack of configuration control an (almost certain) shortfall in maintenance publications and an (almost certain) failure to properly supervise the various maintenance contracts that were used in place of RAF in house maintenance. I'd lay a decent side bet that they've also failed to maintain a proper Aircraft Design Organisation (ADO) technical support contract. I'd like to know if they've got a (proper) safety case in place. They would no doubt plead shortage of resources, difficulty in dealing with an offshore aircraft supplier, plagues of locusts, etc.

Incidentally, if anyone has access to the ageing aircraft audits for the Viking and Vigilant, I'd really appreciate a link, or a PM.

22 Gp and 2FTS: These are on the hook for allowing aircraft under their charge to become non-airworthy. These aircraft are on the military register, and are fully 'owned' by the RAF, who made quite a song and dance about taking them under full control in 2010. But that wasn't the end of the changes. Here's my summary (please correct me if wrong)

2010: Control of VGS moved from HQ ATC to 1 EFTS
2011: No.1 EFTS absorbed into No.3 Flying Training School
2014: Gliders handed over from 3FTS to newly formed 2FTS

I wonder whether anyone in the ivory towers raised any risk flags about three changes of responsibility for airworthiness in as many years...

There were plenty of people responsible for airworthiness in the chains throughout that period. You can start at the Technical Officers in the VGSs, through 2FTS, through Group, through HQ Air, all the way up to ACAS, who was responsible for the RTS. I'm not saying they all failed. But sure as hell some of them have, or this lot wouldn't have happened. Yes, 2FTS were left 'holding the tar baby' when the full picture merged under the glare of the CAMO audits in 2013. But here's an important point - the 'new' MAA regs don't ask a 'CAMO' to do anything that a properly run organisation wouldn't have already been doing.

So when 2FTS proudly took over the reins from 3FTS (or when OC 3FTS took over from 1FTS, or when 1FTS took over) exactly how did he know he was taking on an airworthy fleet? Any inspections? Any audits? Any checks on selected airframes? Any checks on selected MF700s and log packs? Any special QA checks on the organisation? Any review of previous QA inspections and results? Anything at all that would have been absolutely standard, normal, commonplace (choose your adjective) a decade or so earlier? Silence. Tumbleweed.

So, those are my suggestions for where the fault lies - any comments? If anyone has any information they'd like to share via PM, please let me know.

A final thought to all aircrew out there. This is not the result of 'new MAA regs'. It's not the result of 'engineers getting all risk averse'. This is a really, really, bad event - the MoD and the RAF have lost control of the airworthiness of a fleet of simple aircraft, and put schoolchildren at risk. It should not have happened. It could be happening to an aircraft near you right now. Get upset, and start asking some hard questions.

Best Regards as ever to all those putting the pieces back together,

Engines is offline