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Ageing air transport aircraft....

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Ageing air transport aircraft....

Old 25th Feb 2009, 15:12
  #61 (permalink)  
 
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Whose are the MRTTs BEags? Ex-GAF, or just surplus? That would be a most excellent interim solution...a bloody good aircraft and just what's needed at the moment. 200 pax, 5 tonnes an hour, 180 mins ETOPS plus there's some corporate knowledge of how to fly them. Well, not sure if one man = corporate knowledge, but it's a start. The previous incumbents might be available for a fee....
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Old 25th Feb 2009, 16:27
  #62 (permalink)  
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brit bus driver, the aircraft are not MRTTs, they are A310-300s. But, since they're sitting at Dresden already, conversion could start pretty quickly.

They are (unless someone has already grabbed them) FedEx-owned at present.

Both the CF and Luftwaffe are currently operating 2 x A310 MRTTs each (CC150T in CF service). As excellent in the AAR role as they always were in the AT role! The Luftwaffe have just completed a deployment of EF2000s from the Baltic to India and back; apart from one EF going u/s in Abu Dhabi, everything went well.

Last time I checked, there were around 8 x A310-300s available which could be converted to MRTT standard; most have CF engines but the FedEx ones have Pratts.

As for 'bringing FSTA forward'? Well, one pair of wings has now been built but that's all so far.......
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Old 25th Feb 2009, 19:07
  #63 (permalink)  
 
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Brian,

flash to bang for civilian airlines can be anything between 2 months ( been there, seen it, got the T shirt) to 9 to 12 months.

It is not inconceivable that if you say "go" tomorrow and provide adequate, not excessive, funding, that I could have 10 AT aircraft in service in 9 months: tankers a tad longer.
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Old 25th Feb 2009, 19:59
  #64 (permalink)  
 
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Hey Slim

Dont you start bringing my good name into your argument
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Old 25th Feb 2009, 20:37
  #65 (permalink)  
 
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Commercial operators don't have to work within HMG finance and accounting regulations. These rules make the procurement process much, much slower than it could be, but they cannot simply be swept away.

On a practical basis your 10 aircraft would need at least 50 pilots and perhaps 150 engineers. Unlike commercial airlines the operation of large-jet transport aircraft is relatively niche part of the whole organization. People with the right experience to make a new aircraft type happen quickly simply cannot be conjured-up in such a short timescale without seriously denuding the output of the existing fleets. The problem is exacerbated by the hurdle of a step-change in technology caused by prolonging the life of the previous aircraft. I would suggest that, as the TriStar is so heavily tasked, most of the people would have to come from the VC10. Either way the pilots have no experience of 2-crew, EFIS or ETOPS. It's not quite the same as taking a bunch of 737 pilots and converting them to say a 757. Lack of relevant experience is not insurmountable but would need to be much more carefully managed than your claim would allow.

The other issue is regulatory. Military aircraft airworthiness is the responsibility of the MoD, not the CAA. The C-17 release-to-service was readily accepted as the lease was directly coupled to the DoD regulatory process. A new type of transport aircraft would have to issued with a MAR and all the necessary DAS mods cleared by Boscombe.

I assure you that it is highly unlikely that it could be done in 2 years, let alone just 9 months.
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 01:05
  #66 (permalink)  
 
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The problem is exacerbated by the hurdle of a step-change in technology caused by prolonging the life of the previous aircraft. I would suggest that, as the TriStar is so heavily tasked, most of the people would have to come from the VC10. Either way the pilots have no experience of 2-crew, EFIS or ETOPS..............looks like we are buggered as we apparently have no pilots at all with experience of a 2 pilot flight deck
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 05:55
  #67 (permalink)  
 
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On a practical basis your 10 aircraft would need at least 50 pilots and perhaps 150 engineers. Unlike commercial airlines the operation of large-jet transport aircraft is relatively niche part of the whole organization. People with the right experience to make a new aircraft type happen quickly simply cannot be conjured-up in such a short timescale without seriously denuding the output of the existing fleets
There are probably a couple of hundred heavy jet pilots in the UK either unemployed or stuck in an airline they'd rather not be in. Why not make some special deals al la WW2 "Hostilities Only". I know several people who would be happy trucking around for a couple of years while the airline industry drags itself out of the mess it's in.
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 07:46
  #68 (permalink)  
 
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2 Pilot Flight Deck

Training a crew from a 3 crew to 2 crew operation is no big deal with the correct training facilities. I went from a Capt. on 3 crew 747-200 to 2 crew 747-400 with no previous EFIS experience in less than 8 weeks. No base training required with modern simulators, first trip on a/c with training Capt in RH seat and full load of pax.
Ref A330 FSTA training, Australia RAAF pilots train with QF. They are flying QF a/c under supervision of QF trainers as we speak to get route experience. We could do the same in UK, BM operate 330's and could train the RAF crews. Why a whole new training facilty at great cost at BZ?
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 08:43
  #69 (permalink)  
 
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I'm not sure the RAAF pilots will be converting to type in 8 weeks though. Nor that you could take RAF VC10 pilots out of their 4 person flightdeck and convert them to a modern type in 8 weeks. You're arguing apples and oranges.

The problem with the AT fleet lies in the delays of the FSTA project. But that is where the solution also lies - the contract has been signed and there's no money for an interim solution. Except more charters offset by less use of the Brize Norton Vintage Aircraft Society.
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 09:10
  #70 (permalink)  

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Don't be so sure that it's that difficult to go from a 4 man to a 2 man flight deck. Whilst the old herc may be a little less complex than, say, the VC10 is, the J is as complex, if not more so in some ways, than a modern civvy flightdeck. The only people that struggle on a 2 man flightdeck are those that were able to hide their lack of ability in the crowd of a 4 man flightdeck.

99.9% of people leaving the RAF to go civvy have no problem converting across to the civvy 2 man flightdeck.
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 09:40
  #71 (permalink)  
 
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Nail on the head, SS. To an vaguely competent bloke (hello!), 3 (or 4) to 2 is a doddle. Going back again is less straightforward - whadd'ya mean join the hold manually......
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 10:26
  #72 (permalink)  
 
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And I know it might be heracy but these 2 pilot glass cockpit aircraft are actually easier to operate. They are designed with loads of gadgets to make it so. The only issue is learning a new set of terminology.
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 14:16
  #73 (permalink)  
 
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At the beginning....."Flex, SRS, Runway"


At the end......"Autoland, 50' Radio"


If it all goes wrong......"My R/T, your ECAM."


That should just about cover it.


Tea white none works just the same.

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Old 26th Feb 2009, 19:11
  #74 (permalink)  
 
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It can't be that difficult. After all, we all know some of the gear monkeys currently on 2 pilot ops...............
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 20:57
  #75 (permalink)  
 
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You still an Eng?
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 22:56
  #76 (permalink)  
 
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I agree that it isn't difficult for individuals to convert to newer-technology aircraft within an organization that is already operating and collectively experienced with the type. Such folks are products of an established training system and will usually be going initially into the RHS, with the luxury of learning the ropes whilst being watched over by somebody more experienced on type.

It is a quite a different matter to build a new fleet from scratch, where nobody has any experience of the aircraft. The C-17 initial cadre were experienced operators and were exposed to USAF ops for 3-months or so before returning to form a squadron. Moreover they did not have to set-up any basic conversion training, as that was going to remain with the USAF. The sqn itself ramped up gently to operate just 4-aircraft. TRSS is claiming that it is feasible to have 10 jets running within 9-months.

The RAF has very few jet, EFIS, 2-man flight-deck experienced instructors, particularly if by instructing one means the whole conversion training process. What experience does exist would have to be stripped away from fleets that would certainly not be reducing their tasking in response to the arrival of a new type. The fleet that could be "chopped" and re-trained en-mass (VC10) would have the challenges of the new technology to cope with. Of course it could be done, but with care and certainly not as quickly as TRSS claims. If you start to say that the training, or some of the operating, can be parcelled away to civilians then you are getting right back to the FSTA concept, which TRSS claims he could quickly circumvent.

New fleets always present these kind of challenges and they are inevitably overcome, but not by trying to declare FOC within 9 months. My point was that it would be reckless to attempt some half-baked, panic scheme as proposed by TRSS. The contracted-out solution is already in gestation with FSTA and it far enough developed that no other credible scheme could be operational in numbers any sooner. In the meantime efforts to boost the AT force should focus on more C-130s and C-17s.
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 23:18
  #77 (permalink)  
 
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Brian, the scheme is neither half baked nor is it a panic measure. The entire RAF AT and AAR capability is falling apart: FSTA will not work, it is already late and getting later. The FLA is way behind schedule and the C130 fleet is ageing.

There has to be an alternative, or does the RAF work on placing all the eggs in one basket?
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Old 27th Feb 2009, 00:05
  #78 (permalink)  
 
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"It is a quite a different matter to build a new fleet from scratch, where nobody has any experience of the aircraft. The C-17 initial cadre were experienced operators and were exposed to USAF ops for 3-months or so before returning to form a squadron. Moreover they did not have to set-up any basic conversion training, as that was going to remain with the USAF. The sqn itself ramped up gently to operate just 4-aircraft."

I think the J model and it's introduction flies in the face of most of what you have posted there old chap
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Old 27th Feb 2009, 03:31
  #79 (permalink)  
 
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From what I remember the C-130J took quite a bit longer than 9-months from introduction to FOC.
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Old 27th Feb 2009, 07:51
  #80 (permalink)  
 
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Brain,

And I mentioned 9 months where? Nice riposte though
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