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Watch Out the Kiwis are coming!

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Watch Out the Kiwis are coming!

Old 29th Jun 2001, 16:43
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newswatcher
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Unhappy Watch Out the Kiwis are coming!

From AviationNow:

"Australia, Britain and Canada could wind up using the Royal New Zealand Air Force's soon-to-be surplus combat pilots.

Top RNZAF officials say air forces from those nations are in talks to pick up some of the pilots and air crews from the RNZAF's air combat wing, which dropped its last bombs on Monday.

Despite weeks of protest from opposition parties and former military officials, Prime Minister Helen Clark's government decided in May to go ahead with plans to gut air defenses, disband the fighter force and reduce the RNZAF to only a handful of transports and six aging Lockheed P-3K Orion maritime patrol planes.

A day after that decision, the pilots said they'd rather fly someone else's fighters than retrain as transport pilots.

Next week, half of the 700 members of the wing will be told they're out of work; Monday's demonstration bombing run for students at the RNZAF's staff college will be the last attack of any kind by the wing unless the force is reconstituted under pressure from allies or a new government.

That run, in which two Vietnam-era Douglas A-4 Skyhawks dropped bombs and fired rockets and guns at the Kaipara weapons range at Kaipara Heads, northwest of Auckland, was part of the annual Tutor Boom training at the staff college.

Reporters barred from Monday's proceedings claim they were invited to witness the training, but then had their invitations withdrawn for reasons of political sensitivity, but the RNZAF insists politics had nothing to do with it.

"Exercise Tutor Boom was not a public demonstration; there was never any formal invitation to media, or anyone else outside the Defence Force, to attend today's demonstration," says air staff chief Air Vice Marshal Don Hamilton. "Media requests to attend the event were therefore declined."

Even so, May's decision continues to cause discomfort among allies and former military officers in New Zealand, which many governments believe will now be unable to participate meaningfully in regional defense agreements.

The RNZAF fleet of Douglas A-4 Skyhawks and Aermacchi fighter trainers is scheduled to stop using live weapons after this coming Sunday, though the planes will keep flying until Dec. 1. After that, the RNZAF will withdraw No. 2 Squadron - which handles conversion training for new Skyhawk pilots - from its Royal Australian Naval Air Station Nowra base, and disband it by Dec. 21. No. 14 Squadron, the fighter lead-in training unit at RNZAF Base Ohakea, and No. 75 fighter squadron, will be disbanded by the same date.

RNZAF brass plan to sell off both the Skyhawk and Macchi fleets. The 17 remaining elderly, outdated A-4s will be sold as-is, and officials will put them in storage in hopes of selling them in 2002. The service thinks it will get a better price for the 17 relatively new Aermacchi MB339CBs."
 
Old 29th Jun 2001, 17:30
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sprucemoose
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In addition to this news being several weeks old, what's the problem? We haven't got enough pilots, and the Kiwis (and numerous others) have too many. It's not like we're going to have to spend millions to pay for their training, and we have had allies fly our frontline aircraft in the past.
 
Old 29th Jun 2001, 17:44
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Gainesy
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As long as they leave that fat-arsed ugly bird with the big beak & gravelly voice down there. Not the Kiwi, Helen whats'ername.
 
Old 29th Jun 2001, 20:14
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newswatcher
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Hi Sprucemoose, I am pretty certain that the news is current, it clearly refers to the NZ Government decision in May, and recounts the events since then, culminating in the exercise "Tudor Boom", which I understood to be last Monday(25/6).

I was more interested comparing this with the recent "Lyneham" thread, which made a number of references to surplus pilots in the RAF.
 
Old 29th Jun 2001, 22:38
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Flatus Veteranus
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The RAF will be getting a bargain! In my salad days as a fighter pilot, we (208) used to concede privately amongst ourselves that the best squadron in the Midle East was (NOT ****ty Six (spit!)) but 5 Sqn RNZAF at Nicosia. They used to bring their "kiddy cars" over and play with the Deversoir wing; we were the opposition in the monthly Canal Zone AD exercise. The Kiwi arses were the only ones we could not wax, and they had film to prove it. Mind you, they were an immensely experienced bunch by our standards, multi-role too. They had guys with wartime operational tours on Corsairs, Warhawks, Catalinas, Dakotas and gawd knows what else. That was when I learned you don't need to be young to be a steely. Welcome aboard Kiwis! (And Pig's Arse to Five!)

------------------
presto digitate
 
Old 1st Jul 2001, 08:05
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Samuel
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Love your posts Flatus, but I think you mean 75 and not 5, the latter flying Sunderlands at that time!
 
Old 1st Jul 2001, 13:07
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StopStart
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Newswatcher, whilst the Lyneham thread may imply an excess of pilots in the RAF the situation that has arisen here is the fairly standard RAF man-management balls up. The glut of pilots we're "enjoying" here at the moment is transitory (due to delays in J certification and trg cses) and will be matched by a magnificent deficit within the next two years (aided, of course, by all of us "surplus" captains who PVR when we're posted at short notice into ground tours).
The RAF remains horribly short of personnel at the very sharp end of the front line (and even more short of experience) and frankly an influx of quality aviators such as the Kiwis couldn't come at a better time.
 
Old 1st Jul 2001, 13:33
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L J R
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So Kiwi Pilots will be welcomed in our air force. I bet they will get offered flying as a 'carrot' and the rest of us will be banished to those essential ground jobs such as OIC windsock procurement.

Pity our air force cannot offer retention and attraction for current serving aircrew.

 
Old 1st Jul 2001, 21:19
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Flatus Veteranus
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Thank you Samuel, but I have already received an e-mail from Max Hope pointing out my error. I plead incipient senile dementia!. The Kiwis at Nicosia were 14 Sqn. He points out that the flight commanders were WW2-experienced but the rest were first-tourists. But they certainly created one hell of an impression on us, and were a real can-do outfit. They were rather good in the bar too!



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presto digitate
 
Old 1st Jul 2001, 22:31
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Samuel
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Knowing Max Hope dates you Flatus, and while he may not recall me except for an incident which I won't recount here because it involved a fatality, you may be interested to know that when 14 had their Canberra B12's and 75 had the last of the Vampires before they were replaced by the Strikemaster, Max was still flying as a Gp Capt. Station Commander!Kiwis can fly!
 
Old 2nd Jul 2001, 00:05
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StopStart
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LJR, not being a fast jet blade myself I can't comment in detail on life at the sharp end, however I thought a major grievance there was too much time away and not enough people to spread all the triv and nause across? Surely an influx of FJ aviators will allow full(er) manning of the FJ sqns meaning, possibly, (rose-tinteds on here) a better quality of life for people there...
 
Old 2nd Jul 2001, 00:30
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newswatcher
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Thanks Stopstart, reply appreciated.
 
Old 2nd Jul 2001, 01:42
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L J R
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The issue is complex.

On one hand FJ SQNs are under experienced.

On the other hand, airframe availability is low - therefore less flying for all.

Some years ago an air-force recruited from overseas, the new pilots recruits were given flying. Some of the pilots already in the SQN were posted out. - High morale for recruit [good luck]. Low morale for the currently serving [dedicated] aircrew. - Since then some of the 'dedicated' pilots departed - net result - ZERO.

Now a pilot retention review is being conducted again [how different will this one be compared to the review in 89, 96 etc...?]. The current review was provided with high level support [from Chief of Defence Force] Quote "the highest priority'. Review put on hold by new minister.

In the mean time the gates are open with a constant flow out [sick of waiting]. Us 'Dedicated' types eagerly awaiting outcomes, and 'good' deals as a result of 'dedication'. Looks like good deals will be given to overseas recruits [good luck to them!].

If the recruitment means less trips away - that is one reasonable approach, but I suggest that those sitting in desks will not like a Kiwi flying his jet.

Manning decisions that prevent experienced pilots from flying are upsetting the experienced ones.

An example is that I know of a FJ pilot who has 3000 hours and is joining another Air Force for the above reasons. The average SQN experience is approx an eighth of this.

Kiwis do have some experienced pilots and they will be a welcome boost. If I was a manager, I would probably hope to boost experience with a number of A4 pilots and Macchi QFIs. I would certainly not like to be in the Kiwi pilots shoes, and I hope they do get a good deal from prospective air-forces considering what their Govt has done to them. Unfortunately, management does not appear to appreciate the disappointment of the dedicated currently serving pilots, who have weathered problems over the years.

Good luck to the Kiwis, the above gripe is not aimed at you as an individual, just at the system that I belong to that will shaft me.

I'll get off my box now.....


 

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