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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 16th Mar 2009, 03:45
  #61 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 131
I will attempt not to say anything "top secret" this time, so I don't get blocked off the thread again by ruffled Air Force guys who don't like getting an earful of sobering truth.

I fly civilian jets.
We have about 8 crews per aircraft.
Pilots fly 80 to 85 hours a month. We have a lot of read eye flight and I often have breakfast when I wake up at 5PM.
The aircraft fly 5000 hours a year, which is on average over 13 hours per day. That accounts for the down time for repairs, inspections etc. Recently, I flew an aircraft built in 1991. It had 79,500 hours in the logbook. I rarely see any with under 50,000 hours.
The first person we see when the door opens at every landing is the ramp mechanic who asks about anything needing fixing. Once he is told what needs attention, he (or she) and his/her buddies gets to work right away.

I know the military is a very different environment, but I have several ex-military colleagues. Many loved the military, loved what they did, but I haven't found a single one out of the lot who ever told me the Air Force was run in an efficient manner like the civilian outfits that they discovered after they took the exit. In fact they mostly have tales that describe the very opposite.

Canada is now running a war at the other end of the Globe. Yet several of its five Airbus 310s are often seen parked for maintenance. They barely fly around 1000 hours a year on average. I believe the RAF averaged about 1700 hours a year with its C-17s, which is WAY better than the CF, but still not very good compared to civilian airlines.

For example, when we (civilians) do a flight to far away destination that requires en-route stops, we pre-position crews to take over the aircraft, so that when it lands at the first stop, the plane fuels and continues to destination within an hour with a fresh crew. When an CF chartered IL-76 or An-124 leaves Canada with a military load, it arrives in Afghanistan 20 hours or so later. The same is done for the return. Off-load, load, fuel, change crews as required and within 90 to 120 minutes the aircraft is on its way for the return trip unless the return is delayed by the cargo. When the CF do such trip, often there are no pre-positioned crews, so the aircraft will be parked somewhere en-route to allow crews to rest, as often as necessary.

When Canada sent aid to Burma last year, the C-17 arrived in Thailand three days after it left Canada.

Then our Minister of Foreign Affairs publicly volunteered the use of CF C-17s to carry UN helicopters from Ukraine to Thailand for the same disaster. He promptly got a phone call from the Air Force: One C-17 was tied up supplying our troops in Afghanistan, one was in Texas for maintenance upgrades (it was installing the thing I am not allowed to mention on this thread) one was broken down at its home base in Trenton and the fourth was also broken down in Thailand, where it was since delivering Canadian aid for Burma. He was told that in any case that the MI-8 helicopter being shipped could not fit in the C-17 unless they were partially dismantled. Canada finally had to charter an An-124 to carry the Ukrainian helicopters to Thailand. Three out of four brand new C-17s were down while we are at war in Afghanistan.

I know Air Force people make a lot of effort to make do with what is available and that often the country seems ungrateful, but don't tell me that the Air Force is some well run and efficient organization that does what it is doing well, for that is far from the truth. You should face the truth and attempt to fix those problems instead of patting yourselves on the back and bragging about doing such a great job at running aircraft.

As far as fixing maintenance and staffing problems (flight crew and as well as maintenance) by purchasing new aircraft when those that are available are so underused and so ill maintained, that is ridiculous. Put a few million dollars or pounds in more crews, more technicians, more parts, more tools, better contracts, and if that doesn't work then buy aircraft. Not the other way around.

I hope nobody turns me in for writing "security sensitive" stuff here again like last time. You know who you are.
Minorite invisible is offline  
Old 16th Mar 2009, 06:57
  #62 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Posts: 151
Again, the above poster seems to have missed the point.

If we need to get somewhere quickly, in a strategic role, then we either augment the crew to give us a 24hr crew duty period or we use a slip pattern with pre-positioned crews. The current airbridge goes from the UK to theatre and back in 18-20 hours (when 's')

The one crew/one airframe ratio is for tactical in-theatre/intra-theatre tasking.

Operational constraints and other factors lend themselves to this manning arrangement and it works!

Also the RAF's C130 fleet currently contributes 75% of the ISAF in-theatre military airlift, operating round the clock when tasked.

Not bad for one crew per aircraft.

What we actually need now is more aircraft to ease the burden.
Truckkie is offline  
Old 16th Mar 2009, 07:23
  #63 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Wilts
Age: 49
Posts: 92
I know Air Force people make a lot of effort to make do with what is available and that often the country seems ungrateful, but don't tell me that the Air Force is some well run and efficient organization that does what it is doing well, for that is far from the truth. You should face the truth and attempt to fix those problems instead of patting yourselves on the back and bragging about doing such a great job at running aircraft.
Nobody is saying that the RAF runs an efficient system, we all know that it isn't, if you class efficient as being able to use the aircaft in the air most of the time.

The problem between military operations and civilian operations is the tempo of operations. In the civilian world, you pretty much know that you are going to be able to fill the aircraft for each sector (because otherwise it wouldn't be cost effective). In the military, whilst we have some operations which have high utility (normally the surge phase and initial sustainment of an operation), the majority of the time the airlift required is for the "customer" wherever they are operating; that maybe a Red Flag in the US lasting 2 weeks, an army exercise in Africa lasting a month, Naval exercise of Gibraltar. None of these are regular tasks so we cannot set up a standing slip pattern. Customers want their freight when then need it, not 2 weeks later when the slip pattern allows it.

As has been said, we do run slip patterns when we can but this means that you have to have much more manpower than we currently have as a core requirement. What do those aircrew do when there isn't a surge on? They get bored, frustrated and walk! More importantly they lose the skills which are so important when conducting operations in a high threat environment because we do not have the required number of aircraft to conduct training on.

What we need are some more aircraft to increase the serviceability rate of the aircraft rather than trashing the ones we have and bring their replacement dates forward.

We cannot replace the aircraft when they become uneconomical to run because we do not have the revenue stream which civilian airlines have.

Civilian charter and schedule operations are a long way away from military charter and tactical operations and therefore they cannot be compared as apples against apples.
Been There... is offline  
Old 16th Mar 2009, 08:21
  #64 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Temporarily missing from the Joe Louis Arena
Posts: 1,912
Perhaps the RAF can start code sharing with the AQ Air Force.

Its won't solve every problem with how the civil community view the operation of military airlift but at least it'll give us a baseline from which to start drawing comparisons.

BTW, does anyone know the ICAO code for 'dusty piece of desert some miles west of Kandahar?

The Helpful Stacker is offline  
Old 16th Mar 2009, 09:29
  #65 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: In the State of Denial
Posts: 804
Most of the (civilian) posters are rather missing the point regarding military AT operations - as we don't generate a revenue stream we need to minimise the costs of our flying, so we use the minimum assets we can get away with to achieve the task, we can't make things more efficient by throwing extra people at the task because that 'wastes' taxpayers money. As we operate in a non - benign environment we also have to mitigate different risks and currently that makes us largely night - owls and so we can't operate 24/7, the day is for sleeping. No increase of crews/ frame will change that.

The military don't pretend to run an efficient charter operation (although perhaps the shiny world could learn some tricks....?) so spending time with RyanAir's ops dept wouldn't help except to give someone more stupid ideas, and we already have plenty of those. Replace the ACC with a 'healthy CTM' from BZN - great idea, we can sack all the chefs and save loads. And don't even get me started on capped actuals!
Ken Scott is offline  
Old 16th Mar 2009, 10:12
  #66 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: UK Sometimes
Posts: 1,062

Probably the biggest limitation is engineering manpower - we don't have the bods to fix what we have now, never mind MORE frames.

flipster is offline  
Old 16th Mar 2009, 21:09
  #67 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2008
Location: gloucester
Posts: 95
c-17 hours

If we flew our C-17s at 5000hrs a year they would last..uummm 6 years!!

It could never happen though. Untill the movers get kit that brings them into the 20th centry and they stop thinking AT revolves around just the C-130, we will be stuck with load times 2 1/2 times the international standard of 90 mins for a lot longer.

you cant blame the guys on the ground, its their managment that just havent put up a decent case for proper kit!
collbar is offline  

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