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Surplus ME Pilots?

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Surplus ME Pilots?

Old 15th Dec 2004, 20:56
  #1 (permalink)  
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Devil Surplus ME Pilots?

I keep hearing there are too many ME pilots in the RAF. Do you think this will be the case in 2 years?

As morale dives, the airline recruitment continues (especially VS & BA), will the PVR rate continue to grow?

Alternatively, is this the PMA masterplan to save money?
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Old 15th Dec 2004, 21:32
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there WERE too many multis mates about two months ago... not sure if thats the case now though! And in a few months time, I would imagine things may not be any better (ie more leaving). Any (official) figures?

Last edited by mbga9pgf; 15th Dec 2004 at 21:43.
Old 16th Dec 2004, 11:04
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I know of at least 5 who have recently PVRed from my ac type. I reckon the real danger is the large number who are thinking of it, or are simply going to leave at the first available option.

What are things like on other multi fleets? There seems to be little talk of anything but leaving at the moment at my place.

There doesnt seem to be any prospect of life getting any better for the ME guys. At a dining-in this year, an air rank told us that things were going to get worse, and if we didn't like it, then the RAF had no need for our type!

If they chop the retention bonuses, then I think the floodgates will really open, as I know a lot of guys who are only staying for this.
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Old 16th Dec 2004, 12:15
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So they're only being retained by the prospect of a retention bonus?

Seems only reasonable!
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Old 16th Dec 2004, 12:57
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Well it would be if they weren't stopping it!

Anyway, I think a few of them wish they had not taken it, as it is a set of golden handcuffs.
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Old 16th Dec 2004, 14:21
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I know of at least ME 4 pilots that have walked (or will be doing so within a matter of weeks), and this is a different fleet to the one P-T-G is on

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Old 16th Dec 2004, 16:34
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Yeah, i'm a chopee waiting around for the fabled multis slot but it's not looking too hopeful. Kinda annoying when I should have been streamed there in the beginning

I'm pretty sure they'll be crying out for more guys in 2 years or so when i'm living it up on the airlines (Hmmmmm...)
If only I was The CAS....
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Old 16th Dec 2004, 19:35
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It seems to me that the RAF have a major crisis on their hands. They need to cut numbers to satisfy Government spending, however because they have no long term planning and work from one financial year to the next, the solution is obvious. Get rid of the surplus of ME pilots now, not by redundancy but by natural wasteage and lack of recruitment. This policy will work however the result will leave an RAF with no experience and ultimately no capability. There are RIs and FIs on my Sqn who have many qualifications,(TACAT, QFI, SF, AAR) but are not being offered assimilated and as such will be leaving at the earliest opportunity. Even those that have been offered PA are leaving. Can the RAF afford to lose these individuals without a serious effect on future capabilities. This does not look good for the future, when I swap into the Captains seat It would be nice to have an experienced set of training staff rather than the guy who was on the course a year ahead of me. Personally, I think the best course for Cos coming up on a Captains board just now is to go CFS and get out of the so called front line. At least while all this upheaval is ongoing.
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Old 16th Dec 2004, 19:47
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A lot of my co mates are seriously considering CFS as their best option. They are getting narked off with the constant ops, and they have only been on the frontline for a couple of years.

The job has changed hugely in the last 5 years. When I started out, the chances of a non-TS crew flying into a low threat area were slim. Now we spend most of our time as "route queens" based in a high threat zone being shot at by some nasty hardware REGULARLY.

I think op burnout could be a major factor on the multi fleet soon. Still, with that ATPL in my back pocket . . . . .
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Old 16th Dec 2004, 20:37
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ahh, but will there be any cfs slots? not expecting anything to be available as of about mid next year for ME co's.
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Old 16th Dec 2004, 21:15
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If there is a surplus of ME pilots, will all the FTRS retreads be getting a "Thank you and good bye" letter? And how about all the old guard at UAS/EFTS?

Is there any reason why FTRS etc, nice chaps though they are, should be retained whilst there is a so-called 'surplus' of ME pilots? And if there is such a surplus, why are so many being subjected to 'operational burn out'? If the numbers reduce, won't it just get worse for all?
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Old 16th Dec 2004, 21:33
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With regards to FTRS guys, as far as I am aware, there will be NO renewed contracts. This doesnt mean they are going to leave over night though as some still have a fair amount of time on their original contract.

Even if they do get rid of the FTRS guys asap, with the significant reduction in IPS and instructor cadre at the various FTS' around the bazaars, there simply wont be enough cockpits for all the "surplus" ME pilots. Linton in particular (a haven for ME co's) is a skeleton of what it was less than 18 months ago.
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Old 16th Dec 2004, 21:37
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The problem is that the surplus is not uniform between types and certainly on my last squadron, certain people, particularly loadies and cos who are fully CR etc are doing almost back to back dets - because they are the guys who are spammed up to do the job out there. The strains on spouses and girlfriends and boyfriends are obvious - starts to make that PVR or redundancy look quite attractive.

Their airships need to be careful that "Natural Wastage" doesn't turn into diaspora and an irrevocable loss of vital experience on all the fleets.

Also interested in rumours that FRI will be "targeted" in future, mostly at the Teenie Weenies and the WAFUs - another false economy?
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Old 16th Dec 2004, 22:04
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".....co-pilots who are fully CR etc are doing almost back to back dets - because they are the guys who are spammed up to do the job out there."

So how can there conceivably be a ME pilot 'surplus'? An imbalance, perhaps. But it strikes me that the aircraft:crew manning ratio must be complete bolleaux if some people are having to do back-to-back OOA detachments and yet Binnsworth claim that there's a 'surplus'?

Doesn't give anyone huge confidence in other beancounter pet panaceas such as FSTA and MFTS, does it?

Crisis? It's certainly looking like there might be one coming to this theatre soon......

Too much has been cut and there is evidently insufficient flexibility in today's cut-to-the-bone RAF to cope.
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Old 16th Dec 2004, 22:17
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The "excess" of ME pilots is against the manning requirement from PTC, which has no correllation to tasking. I think I am right in saying that or the last few years, tasking has been at about 150%.

The other factor in this is the number of crews deployed away, versus in-theatre tasking. In our current deployment, we are overcrewed, so that guys spend unnecessary time away from their other halves.

Getting crews back from theatre is far harder than blood out of a stone, because we might need them . . . . . . . . .

Just as an example, on average 500 hrs a year(mostly 1 hr sectors) and 4-5 dets a year(3-5weeks). Obviously training has been reduced accordingly to fit in extra IDT/IRT/GDT/WHT.
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Old 16th Dec 2004, 23:56
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Not actually true, PTG.

Believe it or not, Herc tasking (with the exception of arising ops and large deployment / recoveries) usually runs at about 70% of the AFT, versus Tri* and VC-10s which almost always overfly the AFT. At least that was the case about 3 yrs ago - don't have sight of any more recent data, so may have changed, but this was the historical norm.

I think Father Jack alluded to the real problem - the bulk of our tasking now is operational and requires either CR crews or additional post-grad quals such as Tac or NVG TALT, which reduces the pool. Add into this the numerous triv requirements such as IDT/IRT currency, and the paucity of such courses, and the pool shrinks further still.

In addition, when somebody falls over, or a short-notice requirement arises, it is extremely difficult to get someone ticked up from scratch to go, mainly due to this IRT bollox (they insist we do it and don't put enough courses on).

The upshot of this is that about half the crews on a squadron are doing 90% of the work, and back-to-back dets are not uncommon. I'd say we were more under-qualified than under-manned.

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Old 17th Dec 2004, 08:13
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"with the exception of arising ops and large deployment / recoveries"

I think that just about sums up the last 3 years since 9/11. When was thelast time you flew your planned tasking? For me I think about 1914!!!

I believe also that the different herc fleets have had vastly different tasking/problems over the last few years (this is not a J/K debate!).
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Old 17th Dec 2004, 11:36
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What's the current input from the training system to the front line? Shortly before I left, it appeared that 45(R) were being encouraged to 'thin the herd.' How many courses are they running and with what numbers?

Never thought I'd feel remotely good about being chopped, but with my ATPL well on the way to completion and the jobs market ever-improving.......
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Old 17th Dec 2004, 21:55
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Just read the thread on BA DEP hold pool for service pilots.

Methinks we will have to pay some HUGE retention bonuses soon.
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Old 22nd Dec 2004, 21:16
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This situation is so sad for the ME fleet - but oh, soooooooooooo predictable!

We forecasted this sorry state of affairs some years ago (on AT/Hercs anyway - but other fleets seem similarly afflicted). Of course, no-one listens to 'broken records' like us - we were just the harbingers of doom and such talk can threaten some people's promotion..... apparently!

Basically, the ME AT crewing ratio is utter @rse! And letting go of many good, young and experienced guys is military suicide.

In Oman, soon after 9/11 and with a theoretical crewing ratio of about 3:1, we couldn't raise enough CR non-Tac crews to fill a 8 ac det with 2 crews/ac. It was worse still during TELIC, having lost a few more crews, so during future 'Adventures with Tony', how the heck will we do it with even less people?

As a result of further crewing reductions since the outbreak of 'peace', the present overstretch and exodus has been both predictable ...and inevitable. While it helps PMA balance the books this week, it could easily run away from them in future. This is because, as the numbers become smaller, they will become harder to manage and there will be no 'flex'. Of course, the easy answer will be to cut a squadron, along with some ac - "smart move Mav"....not!!!!

Unfortunately, the signs of this impending crisis have been there for all to see. During TELIC, for example, if the 4 J 'shortie' Mk5s had not been sitting at Lyneham 'without engines', then we wouldn't have had the crews to fly them anyway, as 24/30 were working at the max with the crews and ac that they had.

And it was no better on the southside and we were saved embarassment as all our ac were at Marshalls having the gear repaired after constant overweight ops in Aghanistan - while some new toys were also being fitted. As result, there were few training ac or routes outside the Middle East. People started to lose heart, there was no meaningful training/fun - just ops in 'dust and deserts' - bear in mind this had been going on for years. Consequently, a lot of guys took their option or PVR'd,

Well, I do not blame people for jumping ship and 2 Grope's and PMA's pigeons are coming home to roost. Regrettably, however, once our fleets lose their depth of experience and capabilities, we will never recover some skill-sets - that makes my blood boil!

But with a future planned crewing ratio of less than 2:1, that will for certain signal the end of 24 hr AT ops and slip patterns to support the brown jobs and the sneakies. The few C17s we have and civ charter cannot do everything, nor go everywhere, neither can they be in 2 places at once. Their crews also have limits too.

Undoubtedly, it is obvious that the ME crewing shambles is cost-driven - a sad fact of modern mil life, perhaps - but to suggest that the continued manpower drawdown across the Services is meant to IMPROVE our efficiency, is an insult to our intellect!

I feel for the guys left at the coalface - I know they are still working their socks off when they deserve a bit of a rest after the past 5 years (Balkans, East Timor, Sierra Leone, SSII, Afghan, Iraq, DR Congo to name a few).

Certainly, working hard is great fun but there comes a time to remember that you have a right for 'a life' away from the flight-deck/ cargo-bay. Dare I suggest that the harder one works, then that realisation also comes more quickly.


Looking back, I wouldn't have missed my time on the ME fleet for anything and I am very grateful for the experiences but I am at, long last, getting my life back - and I can heartily recommend it!
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