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MoD wants to lease more C-130J's

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MoD wants to lease more C-130J's

Old 11th Mar 2009, 18:22
  #41 (permalink)  

Champagne anyone...?
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: EGDL
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Flip - if I chill out any more I'll die of hypothermia.....

Fella, I think you're confusing det manning and sqn manning? Aircraft in theatre are manned one to one. There is genuinely no reason to increase that. The aircraft don't need to be hammered 18-20 hours a day. As a fleet (J) we've now "been on det" continuously since Feb 03. Deployed ops flying is now our core business and whilst we still haven't got it quite right we're getting there. Crews do 3 or 4 1 month dets a year (or more in some cases) and in between times they get in the sim or twiddle their thumbs. Whilst on det they work a 14 hour crew day doing routine trash hauling and other bits and bobs. We don't, for perfectly good reasons, work round the clock.

The tasking is (serviceability permitting) pretty easily covered by the current manning/airframe allocation. Increased crewing just isn't needed. It also isn't supportable by our current fleet. Doubling the number of crews we have is totally unfeasible with the number of training aircraft/sims/instructors we currently have. All it would achieve would be a massively increased training and administrative burden at Lyneham for a negligible increase in productivity.

Don't let the ongoing saga of the shiny fleet blur into deployed C130 ops. 500 crews per C130 in theatre would have absoluetly no impact on the time it takes to get people into or out of theatre.

If you're worried about an accident due to fatigue etc don't tell us to double our manning/number of dets etc. The answer is far cheaper and easier. KAF needs to provide quiet accomodation to sleep during the day. They also need to provide a feeder that serves food to those on the det (ie the workers) that work through the night. On my last KAF det my crew rest coincided with 4 meals. 4 out of a possible 90. It's an admin issue we've been fighting for years that shows no sign of ending. The blame for an aircraft accident or incident due to fatigue will lie firmly at the door of the EAW Air Cdre and I happily be the first to give evidence (there'll be a pretty long queue mind).
StopStart is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2009, 19:43
  #42 (permalink)  
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The purchase was over budget

Lease! Words fail me, you think these idiots would have learnt from the C17 lease, it would have been far cheaper to buy in the first place rather than lease.
The purchase price at the time was over budget so the lease thing was imagined as a back door approach to C-17 acquisition. Remember this was before the Afghan war began. It was lease or no C-17.

Then the war began in 2001, the usage the RAF had planned for the C-17 went above what had been signed in the contract, and the price of the C-17s became a moot point......
Minorite invisible is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2009, 19:54
  #43 (permalink)  
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Flipster needs no defending by me .. he is more than capable of putting his point across ... however he may not wish to state some things as others may think he is bullshitting ..

So for those that don't know, he is extremely experienced in AT Ops both as an operator and a flight commander. He was (is ?) somewhat famous for his robust positions taken whilst detachment commander on more than one rotation during OEF & OIF.

Not always the easiest boss to work for, but always a good one to have behind you when support was needed.

He's been there, got the T-shirt, and had the arguments (in both directions).
OmegaV6 is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2009, 20:49
  #44 (permalink)  
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Thanks for that - I can readily see what you are saying - I'm sorry I should have spotted that one ie - single ac, single crew and single AGE. Ahhh! those were the days on det!!!

Sadly, that is only one way to go to war and you never know when HMG require 'just a little bit extra.' But perhaps my answer to Truckkie touched on this - notsure!? The only thing I'd say is that don't be suprised when HMG ask you to do a 24/7 surge - for a few months. If you are only crewed for 1 crew per ac then it would take a madman to ask for such a surge - and, equally, a similiar such madman to agree to it. That is not to say it has not happened before and may I suggest that it could easily happen again!

Also, I take it that slips are but ancient history? As I predicted, if I recall.
It seems as if your problem is knackered ac and those that aren't knackered are in theatre? Also predicted.

If may suggest, the fact that you can cope with 1:1 manning in theatre may be because your customers are quite close and you don't have to fly 1000 nm to the airhead. Nor do we have 2 major and a host of minor theatres all at boiling point at the same time. Unfortunately, life rarely stays that simple for long - especially with Nu Labour at the helm. How would the fleet(s) cope with a NEO in Zimbabwe, a new det in Kosovo along with a surge in AFG/IRQ?

But I am so glad that you intimate that 24/7 is NOT 'de rigeur' - that is a comfort at least! However, fatigue (especially the chronic long-term variety) is insidious and you are wise to be wary of it. Remember the 'Flintstones' camp with the 12x12s, hot and hot running water to the accompanying sound of Uncle Sam's B1s/JSTARS/E3Ds getting airborne every half an hour - seemingly all day (when we were trying to sleep)? I recall I blew a gasket when the Admin WO decided that we should have a camp fire drill just as the Herc crews had got to sleep - at about midday!! Happy days! At least the MCSU was 24/7, even if the mealtimes were not! As they say

'An army marches on its stomach'

- which always was my interpretation of 30 Sqn's 'Ventre a Terre'!

ps I'd wipe those icicles off your brow, if I were you!

Omega - thanks for your kind words


Last edited by flipster; 11th Mar 2009 at 21:04.
flipster is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2009, 21:07
  #45 (permalink)  
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Not willy waving, not slagging off the K. Love the K, well aware of the personalities on here, and where they are from. However, the day I cant give a K guy a bit of a wind up, and expect to receive one in return, is a sad day.

Back on topic.

Stoppers is bang on. There are many problems with C-130J ops, most easily solvable. In fact they have been easily solvable since we started ops many years ago. The ability to eat a meal before, during, or after the end of your working day would go a long way towards a happier crew, a refreshed crew, one that is less likely to make mistakes. A small thing? Not really, but it appears that 6 years of asking wont make a difference.

As for management of crews / crewing ratios etc, leave it up to the Sqns. Stoppers has made the points as to what is needed. Airline scenarios dont work, and if you dont understand that feel free to head down to Lye and ask why.

It still amazes me that most of these problems could be sorted very easily, if only some input from the operators was allowed.
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Old 11th Mar 2009, 21:08
  #46 (permalink)  

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Flip - EGDL has moved on a little (only a little mind!) since you left and, as I mentioned earlier, this det business is now our bread and butter sadly. We do regularly surge for the RiPs but even then it's only another frame going out rather than multo crews. With a little planning and rationalisation the det tasking is perfectly do-able.

It seems as if your problem is knackered ac and those that aren't knackered are in theatre?
Spot on pretty much. Our engineering world has been decimated over recent years and the line (a non-deployable unit of course, and manned as such) have to run 2 deployable eng lines as well as the line here. There's only so much they can do hence we are constantly fighting for training frames here.

OmegaV6 - I know flip very well thx and in my 14 years here I've picked up a fair bit too
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Old 11th Mar 2009, 21:30
  #47 (permalink)  
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It seems as though the hymnsheets from which we are all singing bear some passing resemblance!

Yes, I had heard those fine people on Eng Sqns have taken a real pasting over the last few years and are no longer able to do what they once did - all because of some inept, glory-chasing, management. I may be wrong but, it seems as this, along with reducing crew numbers and frames, means that we'll not be able to operate 24/7/52/12 at maximum efficiency ever again. That is not say that some plank of an Airship may not try to get you to do it!

Be careful out there and watch eachothers' backs.

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Old 11th Mar 2009, 23:12
  #48 (permalink)  
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Just like I said earlier. I was also going to post on the Nimrod thread. The same current AOC, with two rows of campaign medals and a DFC, as a GR1 Tornado stick monkey, knows f***k all about Nimrod Ops. I don't give a sh*t that he is briefed by experts, he needs to have been there.

2 Gp needs a man/woman who has operational AT experience; FJ "fit in" career slots to Dep CinC Air Command etc are not the way to go.

The current AOC 1Gp is an outstanding, ex GR1/4 pilot, the current AOC 2 Gp is an ex GR1/4 pilot/QFI; where are the good truckies....? Gladis get yourself back from Iraq!

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Old 12th Mar 2009, 07:19
  #49 (permalink)  
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Flipster et al

I think the only surge Lye could cope with is a push to the Five Bells!!

5 more J's would help sort some of the problem if bought now with the right kit!

However, keeping them 's' with dwindling number of engineers might prove a problem.

Manning is a constant juggle - who knows where we are going with crews to airframe ratio during the K draw-down

SS - 4 meals out of a possible 90 - know how you feel!! Don't forget though that KAF works a normal day, just because you're on nights doesn't mean you can get access to admin, food and good rest! Flight safety my arse

I'm sure it will all come out in the wash, along with 'Future Brize'

Once again, the C130 fleet produces only because of the hard work by the deployed crews, engineers and support staff.

Fly safe!
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Old 12th Mar 2009, 10:03
  #50 (permalink)  
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Guys, apologies for sticking in my tuppence worth, however, from reading through this thread the collective message that rings out loud and clear is adaptability.

You all acknowledge the limitations and tribulations you are working under, yet have managed to adapt to this to continuously provide the demanded service.

The human being is very adept at this "find a work round" solution, however, it is a CRM and HF crisis you are experiencing and a classic scenario for an accident.

This thread, the ageing transport aircraft thread , the FSTA, JSF and A400 threads provide clear concern from the front end that "things can only get better" .......Hello Dave, Bye Bye Brown.
The Real Slim Shady is offline  
Old 12th Mar 2009, 12:24
  #51 (permalink)  
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Stop start

I am just trying to get my head around this, you are telling me that on operations at the moment the aircraft (& crew) will fly for about 8-9 hours and then the aircraft is on the ground for the rest of the day.

Why ? I can understand maintenance down time, re-role etc but a down time of 15 hours a day for the aircraft seems very high, why do these things take so long to happen?

Is this down to lack of suport staff, engineers or parts? or are the airframes just past the sell by date?

I can understand that the military flying role is much more demanding than civil flying but I can't help feeling that with more crew avalable (both air & ground) the flying rate per aircraft could be increased.

I am pleased that you think that the C130 world is not in overstreach, but from what I can see the SH world is!
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Old 12th Mar 2009, 13:05
  #52 (permalink)  
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I'm sure the aircraft could be flown more hours by the simple expediency of more crews .... but would it achieve anything ?? Other ticking a few boxes for those that think they know better ??

An aircraft is tasked to fly to deliver its cargo .. be it walking, wheeled or flat packed ... when the recipient is in a position to recieve that load, physically and safely. I see no value in the C130's flying holding patterns just to improve utilisation time. It is some while now since I was last in the area .. but when I was I always seemed to eat breakfast just before going to bed, and dinner when I got up to go flying ... now ... if memory serves me .. this was not out of choice .. but due to decisions by those on higher pay scales than mine. I have no idea if those decisions are still the same.. and this is not the forum to discuss them ... but I came to sympathise with the life style of bats...

You talk about aircraft "downtime" as a negative .. try thinking aircraft "tasking" as a positive ??
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Old 12th Mar 2009, 16:51
  #53 (permalink)  
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Hot rumour at the mo is either 1,4 or 9 C130Js straight from the factory (US Spec) and more C17s

Lets hope that's true

This is to offset the probable cancellation of A400M which is a 4.2 billion debt about to double

MOD wants to cut and run...
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Old 12th Mar 2009, 18:07
  #54 (permalink)  
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Truckie .. its not just the cash .. it's the delays and options that "may" lead to cancellation ... but I'm sure cylops and friends will somehow find cash to "rescue" the project ..

A400M doubts dog EADS profits rise - Telegraph
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Old 12th Mar 2009, 18:16
  #55 (permalink)  
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Well, depends if we buy a few more 330s to placate Airbus. plenty of UK jobs will be saved by properly equipping us with 330 tankers/pax aircraft with C-17/C-130 used as hub and spoke for our equipment.

Cant see much point in wasting cash on a lame duck that was designed around an army system that is now up for the chop.
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Old 13th Mar 2009, 08:30
  #56 (permalink)  
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I take the point about poductive tasking and don't want to see aircraft flying hours used as a box ticking program but on one hand this thread is about more aircraft (and I assume that this is becuse of a shortage) and on the other hand the flying hours per day seem to a civilan observer to be very low.

Thi first question that an outside observer has to ask is why this is so, stopstart has gone some way to sheding some light on this, another contributor to this thread said that I might have a point so I suspect that what I am thinking might be half true.

Perhaps it might be of value to the RAF to get a few of your planners into the ops department of a charter airline for a few months and see how the other side works, I think that it would be time well spent even if it only proved that the RAF had got it right in the first place.
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Old 13th Mar 2009, 09:14
  #57 (permalink)  
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A and C,

When I first joined the J fleet, about 9 years back we had an established slip pattern running the aircraft from Lyneham to Cyprus, Al's Garage, Kuwait, Cyprus and back to Lyneham and apart from 90 minute flag stops the aircraft kept moving. I can think of several other examples where we needed to keep the aircraft moving, wont bore you with the details old chap but suffice to say we already have the knowledge in place to manage that sort of thing.

Stoppers etc gave you a sound reasoned explanation for why we currently operate as we do which for reasons beyond me you seem to have ignored. Civilian airlines like to keep their aircraft flying because of the obvious revenue implications but even you guys would not fly empty, it's all about customer demand.

The way we do business in both theatres currently not only satisfies customer demand but for the majority of time actually exceeds that demand, such that hauling sh1t for the sake of it, or even no sh1t what so ever is not an unusual occurrence.

Whilst everyone is entitled to an opinion on here I think you have been a tad rude ignoring the information you were given and a tad arrogant in assuming you know best.
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Old 13th Mar 2009, 09:28
  #58 (permalink)  
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A & C

Not wishing to turn this into a personal discussion .. but I feel you are totaly out of step with reality

Perhaps it might be of value to the RAF to get a few of your planners into the ops department of a charter airline for a few months and see how the other side works,
That is the essence of the matter ... Operational flying is NOT repeat NOT a charter airline.

If I may give an old example, as I don't know the present rules, and would not wish them discussed here anyway.

When we operated in my time some of the rules were very simple....... we were only allowed "over the border" in the dark, we were not allowed more than one aircraft "on the ground" (at destination) at any time, and factors were built in to allow for ground handling problems. There were others I won't discuss. Combine these restrictions and during the summer months there were only 2-3 tasks a night ... rising to 4-5 in the winter.

So more aircraft would have achieved nothing, there are only so many hours in a night. The crews worked long hours due to the transit times from base-border.

I can't see a charter fleet operating to such restrictions.
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Old 13th Mar 2009, 11:59
  #59 (permalink)  

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A & C - we could go round and round in circles for ever with this. The posters above have alluded to a lot of what drives our operating day but I think you just need to accept that we do business differently to you. Not because we're arrogant know-it-alls but because we're operating a military cargo aircraft, from a deployed base, in an operational theatre with it's associated threats whilst responding to tactical level tasking. Spending time with your planners would, I believe, give us little beyond a hotel bill for the RAF and a few hangovers. Like I said, I'm not being arrogant (he said arrogantly!) just calling it as I see it. It's always interesting to see how other folk work but we're not new to this world and I suspect the RAF has been involved in AT longer than most charter airlines (although you wouldn't believe it with the shinies sometimes....)

Seriously old bean, the only thing your job and mine really have in common is the nice view from the office window
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Old 13th Mar 2009, 12:00
  #60 (permalink)  
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A & C

Without spelling it out, I hope now that you understand more clearly the 'operational restrictions' facing in-theatre tactical assets - which is what the Hercs are - they cannot operate 24/7, unless in a totally benign environment - if there is such a thing these days!?

However, it is also obvious from a number of posts that if the Hercs were required to 'slip' everywhere - keeping the ac flying a la the airlines, then they could not because:

a. There are not enough serviceable ac any more.
b. There are not enough crews to fly them in such a manner.

What wories me is that some plank on high will try to ask too much of what is left of the once-large Herc fleet!
Being such fine, proud and honourable people, no doubt they will give it a go if asked - I just hope they are very careful if they do!

That said, I still think approx 2:1 crews is not enough. As I said, we almost came a cropper at 3:1 in early OEF because the sectors were so long, it ate up the crew's hours pdq!
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