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Air Cadets grounded?

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Air Cadets grounded?

Old 25th Mar 2016, 07:58
  #2041 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
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As if the suspension of air cadet flying over the last 2 years wasn't bad enough, the local rag is reporting nimbyism from villagers living near Abingdon: "Penetrating" plane noise angers Abingdon residents (From Witney Gazette)

There's a fraction of the activity around Abingdon now, compared to the busier times of 25 years ago. UAS and AEF aircraft flew from Abingdon from 1973 until 1992; thereafter only a handful of Vigilants flew there.

Of course one way of enabling more airspace to be available would be to scrap the redundant nonsense of the Harwell prohibited area....

Readers of the paper version of the Witney Gazette have been asked "What do you think? Email [email protected] "
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Old 25th Mar 2016, 14:52
  #2042 (permalink)  
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Well said BEagle

See my Facebook response :-


"Hands up the noise complainants who bought a house near the airfield BEFORE the airfield was constructed ? OK those people MAY have a cause for complaint; the others I'm afraid failed to do their homework before buying their house , thus NO sympathy"
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Old 25th Mar 2016, 15:32
  #2043 (permalink)  
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Civilians in the ACO

Apologies for the thread drift here. Last summer the ACO held it's first ever conference for CI's at RAF Cranwell. People from all parts of the UK went and, in general, seemed pleased with the event.

One of the things discussed was the fact that civilians felt they were being pressured to go into uniform when they didn't want it. At the debrief the commandant was quite adamant that that would no longer be the case.To paraphrase, she's rather have a group of happy civvies than a much smaller group on junior pilot officers etc.

The civvies outnumber the uniforms by something like five or ten to one: the unit that won the Lees Trophy (best squadron in the Corps) was run by one officer and a group of CI's. Don't undersell what the civvies contribute to the ACO as it would not/ could not function without them.

The only downside to the conference was that it took HQAC over two months to send out the minutes taken. Since then, I've seen no progress made on any of the items considered priorities, although I suppose with the fracas over the gliders etc, ID cards and ATC issue sweatshirts are a much lower priority.....

Last edited by bobward; 25th Mar 2016 at 15:33. Reason: poooor spellin
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Old 25th Mar 2016, 16:03
  #2044 (permalink)  
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Civilians in the ACO

Well said BobWard.

WHOEVER the staff are that give of their time so generously to further the careers and future aspirations of the Cadets, they deserve to be applauded and KEPT on. You are needed, and need to be listened to.
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Old 25th Mar 2016, 19:16
  #2045 (permalink)  
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Dont tell JM!
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Old 25th Mar 2016, 19:26
  #2046 (permalink)  
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I have the greatest of respect for our civilian instructors. We simply could not function without them and I for one have learnt an incredible amount from them. It's time their worth was shown with actions and not words.
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Old 25th Mar 2016, 21:49
  #2047 (permalink)  
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Question Do we really know what the requirement is?

I write as a current ATC Squadron OC and paused pilot at a ‘spared’ VGS.

I have just read the information note from OC 2FTS on the “Future Aviation Training Package for ATC and CCF (RAF) Cadets”. In essence it is a structured package taking a cadet through from desk-top/PTT ‘familiarisation’ from age 12 to potentially ‘gold wing’ (AGT) standard. Nothing wrong with that in itself.

My concern (but admittedly it is early days) is that the structure will be too rigidly enforced. Whilst some have criticised the poor 2FTS communication with the VGS staff fraternity, to my knowledge there has been no communication at all with the wider ATC staff – certainly squadron OCs – with regards to gliding or AEF. We have not been involved in any sort of flying TNA.

I have seen future target figures for the number of cadets to be flying trained. This number is a high proportion of total cadets in the Corps. If ATC squadrons had been consulted it may have been discovered that a high proportion of squadron cadets do not want to fly - let alone receive structured aviation training. We can encourage and entice, but we cannot force it upon them.

Let’s assume that historic GIC/AEF cadet ‘throughput’ figures are healthy (whatever that may mean). Based on “every cadet getting one flying opportunity a year” it may seem that a large number of cadets get into the air annually. But the reality is (at least in my wing) that it’s not a large number, it is actually a much smaller number of cadets getting many flights a year.

It pains me to say this, but most cadets are not interested in going flying. I can say that for certain about my own Squadron (~40 on the books, ~30 regularly parading). It is often a struggle to fill an allocation of 4, and on the rare occasion I am allocated 8 it is virtually impossible. Speaking to neighbouring squadrons in the wing I hear the same story.

I grant that my data for other squadrons is purely anecdotal, but I would be interested to hear other views on this topic. Rather than ‘The number of cadet flights per annum’ it would be enlightening to see ‘The number of cadets flying/not flying per annum’. The data is all there in Bader.

A rigidly enforced five-stage structured package as currently proposed would prohibit the current ad-hoc and highly unstructured arrangements. However unpalatable, the current situation does mean that keen cadets get more of what they want, without apparent detriment to other cadets who have other interests.

All IMHO of course.

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Old 26th Mar 2016, 06:55
  #2048 (permalink)  
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With Tern Hill and Wethersfield being sold off, we are now looking at going from 27 sqns in 2012 to perhaps as few as 6 sqns by 2019 if no alternative sites can be found. Remember, though, as Pippa is busy assuring everyone, the squadrons will be bigger and there will be no loss in capability. I supposed when you've never been a QFI it doesn't occur to you how terrifying/impossible a circuit with 8-10 gliders on ab initio training would be.

Well, with the reduction in annual camp places, I suppose this is one way of letting cadets know what life is like in the modern RAF.

It would be nice to think that a grown-up somewhere will now recognise the value of motor gliders and that the proposed plan, as unrealistic as it was, is just absolutely Dagenham (3 stops past Barking) in the light of the closure of these sites. Sure, they're not as good a team-building tool for cadets on a day out, but they're a lot more versatile from a basing point of view and were never used to their full potential as a training tool. I don't hold out any hope for this, though. Unless some large greenfield sites can be miracled from somewhere we will be faced with huge holes in coverage not only in the "peripheries" (as they were fond of calling places like Wales, Scotland, NI and The North) but now the West Midlands/Merseyside/Greater Manchester, and Northern London/Beds/Cambs/East Anglia.
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Old 26th Mar 2016, 08:14
  #2049 (permalink)  
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I am absolutely in agreement that the present situation is dire, how it was arrived at and how it was handled is deplorable; I look forward to the resumption of ATC Gliding.

I supposed when you've never been a QFI it doesn't occur to you how terrifying/impossible a circuit with 8-10 gliders on ab-initio training would be.
It is neither terrifying nor impossible - I started my gliding on Cadet Mk3s a long time ago, and have been gliding ever since in the RAFGSA and BGA, including several years as a CFI.

Where I fly it is highly likely on any good day for there to be 8 + gliders in circuit, including ab-initio training. It teaches a good lookout from the start.

(How many gliders can a concentrated site launch 'simultaneously'? )

Nothing above detracts from a wish to see ATC Gliding resume on as large a scale, and at many sites as possible, as soon as possible.
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Old 26th Mar 2016, 09:03
  #2050 (permalink)  
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Analysing the actual Cadet 'Type'

CB I think you have raised a very valid point in that the changes in Squadron set ups are now very different to that when there was an all male 'aviation minded' group as the main base.
The ATC has now become more of the classic 'Youth Club' (in the absence of youth clubs) and reflects far less of the military scenario as opposed to 'public service'.
This is what you would expect with a mixed organisation and only reflects the reality of modern service life.How do you expect to retain Cadets when they are faced with a 4 year program for a solo flight,in an organisation where Cadets stay for much less time nowadays.Nothing; repeat Nothing replaces the ability to attend a conventional Gliding School,because it gives complete involvement for all the Cadets for the whole day doing something unavailable elsewhere to most of them,and this gives it that unique USP.
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Old 26th Mar 2016, 09:05
  #2051 (permalink)  
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I would love to see how the PTT bit is going to work, am I going to have to take my cadets on a 400 mile round trip with a sea crossing for a twenty minute go on FS 10 in a cockpit mock-up or will there be one for the Wing with 12 cadet places every two weeks as it is now to cover 17 Sqns plus 3 CCF units ?
For the system as it was I never had a problem filling our Gliding slots , usually every cadet wanting to go when they came up, as the closest Sqn to the VGS I was used to getting a call on a Saturday or Sunday morning to ask for extra cadets if someone couldn't make it and filling the place within ten minutes.
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Old 26th Mar 2016, 17:24
  #2052 (permalink)  
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Even when I was a cadet - there was a proportion of cadets who for a variety of reasons did not want to fly - but we can be sure that the further that the Sqdns and Cadets have to travel to glide/fly will compound any attendance problems and that Sqdns/Cadets in certain parts of the UK will find it virtually impossible to attend.
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Old 26th Mar 2016, 17:39
  #2053 (permalink)  
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CB, an absolutely fascinating first post; I would like to carry on this discussion via PM if that is okay with you? F_S.
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Old 26th Mar 2016, 18:54
  #2054 (permalink)  
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the changes in Squadron set ups are now very different to that when there was an all male 'aviation minded' group as the main base.
POBJOY please tell me just what gender has to do with it?
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Old 26th Mar 2016, 20:27
  #2055 (permalink)  
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Interesting post CB. I'm a bit baffled as to why anyone would join the Air Cadets (the clue is in the name) and not want to fly but heigh-ho. If I may offer an alternative view - I was helping out as a BI at Buckminster GC yesterday, and flew a young girl who had been a cadet for over two years and had never been in a glider. More by luck than judgement I scraped away from a rather indifferent winch launch, clawed the K-21 up to 2,000ft while she followed through, and then let her fly for the next 50 minutes while I just coached. By the time we topped out at 4,500ft she was enthralled, entranced, engaged and soooooooooooo enthusiastic! It was a great flight and I enjoyed flying with her as much as I hope she enjoyed flying with me. I also hope that she's still telling her friends about it - and I just wish that all the people who have - for whatever reason - done their best to destroy ATC gliding, could've seen her face after we landed, and then reflect on what they have done.
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Old 26th Mar 2016, 20:43
  #2056 (permalink)  
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Perhaps because the company is better than in the ACF?
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Old 26th Mar 2016, 21:04
  #2057 (permalink)  
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ATC Changes

EX-AS; CB made the point (as someone very involved) that there was less enthusiasm for actual flying in the Cadet Organisation nowadays.

Remember we are talking about 'aviation' here not general youth activities.

I made no comment about gender other than stating the FACT that the ATC used to be an all male organisation based on Military lines and having a level of discipline not to be found in general 'youth clubs'.

Many have posted here (Squadron Adults) that there are fewer Cadets now that see the Air Cadets as an 'Aviation' body and more of a 'youth organisation'.

When you add the reducing age limitation and falling numbers it has to be suggested that the aviation factor is no longer the main draw and in fact is probably a reflection of the general population attitude towards flying (reducing).

My point has always been that the original conventional gliding operations of the Corps were its greatest asset as it gave aviation minded youngsters the ability to get up close with real flying machines and actually be part of the operation. However the Cadets themselves were there for a single purpose
which was to engage with aviation and its surroundings not for a multitude of other activities not on offer.Gliding courses were always full and the centres operated week long courses during the main gliding season.Virtual reality and simulators did not exist but the 'real' experience of handling the aircraft and being a part of the operation plus the flying was what they had joined for.
Cadets joined up for the chance to FLY and the organisation did what it said on the tin.
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Old 26th Mar 2016, 21:05
  #2058 (permalink)  
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Dave - that's a cracker - brilliantly well done - another convert to aviation......
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Old 26th Mar 2016, 21:52
  #2059 (permalink)  
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POBJOY you linked the fact that the ACO is no longer all male with CB's point that there is less enthusiasm for flying.

ERGO you implied that it is the girls joining that have caused this.

In that case, sir, you are a ******* idiot at best and a ******* sexist **** at worst.

There has ALWAYS been a cadre of Cadets who do not wish to fly, whether male OR female.

That goes back years and years, certainly to my time as a CCF Cadet in the very late '70s, certainly to my late father's time as an A2 QFI in the 60's and 70's.

IME the girls tend to be MORE enthusiastic than the boys.

Get out of you dinosaur attitude and get into the 21C.
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Old 26th Mar 2016, 22:16
  #2060 (permalink)  
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With respect ExAscoteer

I don't think POBJOY is referring to female cadets.

Female 'powers that be' maybe his target.
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