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Air Cadets grounded?

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Air Cadets grounded?

Old 27th Mar 2016, 00:18
  #2061 (permalink)  
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Taxydual what about those females who are QFI's?

What about those females who are Sqn Staff (inc VGS Staff)?

Frankly I call B/S
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Old 27th Mar 2016, 00:21
  #2062 (permalink)  
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FWIW, I read Pobjoy's posts in the same way - extremely dissapointing reading.

BTW, the Air Scouts are looking for a volunteer to lead their Air Scouts program: UK Specialist Adviser (Air Scouts) | Scouts

Pobjoy need not apply as Scouts have also been mixed for a while now (and rightly so!).

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Old 27th Mar 2016, 00:31
  #2063 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 1999
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I have ben flying cadets for more than 16 years and must agree with CB, many of them do not seem particulary enthusiasic about being in the air.
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Old 27th Mar 2016, 01:12
  #2064 (permalink)  
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ATC changes

Ex-As My post makes no such implication as your ridiculous reply suggests,nor do i have any thoughts in that direction. I merely stated a FACT about how the Corps has changed from being a single 'flying' military based 'pre-entry' organisation into more of a broad based youth club.There is no gender element in this just a FACT.
Please do not tell me what i implied when there is no implication or intention.
My main complaint is about the lack of 'Flying' leadership that has got the organisation into its present mess,and that is most certainly NOT gender slanted.

LJ Is this the same LJ that told us some time back that there was a new sheriff in town and things were going to change.My goodness you were right,but for all the wrong reasons;not to mention the bit about JM and his CAMO sorting things out;well they did; they Killed it. Its all there in POST 42 2nd May 2014. DIb Dib Dib.

I do not need lectures about females in aviation thank you; i trained a CAA approved RFFS team that was 50% female and we passed the CAA LIC CAT tests first time thank you.
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Old 27th Mar 2016, 01:13
  #2065 (permalink)  
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I accept that interpreting posts can go two (or more) ways.

Whatever way I read it, I still believe POBJOY is referring to the hierarchy of the ACO since 2010.

Not the guys and gals on the ground.

Pun intended.

I'm sure POBJOY can answer for him (or her) self.
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Old 27th Mar 2016, 01:27
  #2066 (permalink)  
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POBs and my post crossed. Oops.
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Old 27th Mar 2016, 04:10
  #2067 (permalink)  
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For DaveUnwin,
I agree your point, but with a reservation. Many young people are as keen as mustard to fly; others do need a gentle push to overcome nervousness about flying. Others just want the associated syllabus ground work, and the high tech nature of 'Air'. We should accommodate all degrees of 'aerospace' aptitude and inclination, rather than think that all cadets want to fly. After all, many RAF folk love the service, but are not aircrew. They are still valued members of the Royal AIR Force.
On your gliding story, this would probably not happen too often on a busy Viking unit, and is even less likely on a Vigilant one. I would like to see greater opportunities in future for keen/capable cadets (and for that matter Instructors) to develop soaring skills through enrichment courses. Those who have flown on BGA sites have been able to do so.
I go back to an earlier point, but happy to be corrected by those closer to the front line: The Vigilant has given great service, but we have used it more like a light aircraft than a glider in ACO flying; the additional Tutors will partially replace this. The true gliding experience (winch, helping out on the ground etc) is best achieved on Vikings and similar. I get the locations point, and that not everyone will appreciate staying away from home; and the DIO activity is making relocation even more challenging. But we are where we are, and I continue to take a positive approach: let's get flying again.
Chris C
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Old 27th Mar 2016, 08:19
  #2068 (permalink)  
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I believe there remain two important issues as yet unanswered on this discussion thread ...

The use of PTT's

Posts 1923, 1976, 1983

Future Tutor AEF Pilots

Posts 1988, 1999
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Old 27th Mar 2016, 09:59
  #2069 (permalink)  
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...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.
Your post (#2055) is perhaps the one that most captures the ethos of the ACO, extending back even further than when I was allowed off (3 times!) in sole charge of a T31 at Christchurch in 1957. I remember singing out loud for joy around the circuit (mercifully not so loud that I was heard from the ground!).

Your point about the use of gliders to fire an enthusiasm that is for instance so necessary to facing the challenges and setbacks inherent to becoming professional aircrew (military or civil) is thus well made. All the more reason then to determine who are, "the people who have - for whatever reason - done their best to destroy ATC gliding".

There has been a lot of flak here about those who presently hold senior posts and stand accused of orchestrating the destruction of ACO gliding. Now, I do not speak for them and it certainly seems clear that there has been much evidence of clay covered feet, but the responsibility for this "pause" lies not with them, nor even with the MAA (for whom I definitely do not speak!), but with those Air Officers who set about so successfully to subvert the airworthiness of not only ACO gliders but of every aircraft on the UK Military Register.

As has been said here before, this forum alone has threads relating to Airworthiness Related UK Military Fatal Air Accidents accounting for 63 deaths. It is the desperate measures that have been put in hand by the MAA to prevent that toll climbing ever higher that resulted in the fait accompli which is the theme of this thread.

That the MAA is part of the problem rather than the solution is an ironic twist to this, the most serious threat that has faced the RAF since WWII. That threat however lies outside the bounds of thread drift. My basic point though does not, that this grounding is as a direct result of the malevolent assault on UK military airworthiness in the late 80s/ early 90s. Unless and until that is faced up to (as it was not by the Nimrod Review), that threat will remain.
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Old 27th Mar 2016, 10:21
  #2070 (permalink)  
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Just worked out that to get our most westerly cadets in Omagh to gliding at Kirknewton is a 246 mile trip one way with a sea crossing showing at 6hrs 30 mins travel time . So on the first ferry over ,7:30 leaving home 04:30 to get to the port for one hour before sailing, docking at 9:30 ish probably arriving at Kirknewton after 13:00 , possibility of flying that day ? To get the return trip home ,and I have done similar several times on sports trips ,would need leaving Kirknewton at around 15:30 to get the 19:30 ferry back with the cadets arriving home at around 00:30 hrs all ready for school on Monday !
Gliding for NI cadets will not happen .
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Old 27th Mar 2016, 11:09
  #2071 (permalink)  
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It's also not so great for London and South East Reagion (LaSER). There are ~175 Air Trg Sqns (excluding CCF) and now only 614 at Weathersfield (looking dodgy), 615 at Kenley and at a push 637 at Little Rissington. So if you are one of the 9,000 plus London-area based Air Cadets your journey time could range from 5 minutes if you are in 450 (Kenley) ATC Sqn to an eye watering 2-3 hours in a minibus each way to Little Rissington (if the Oxford Ring Road is behaving itself) - and when you get there the cloudbase is <500ft as someone built an airfield on a 730ft hill in the Cotswolds.

Let's say that 30 % of the ~9,000 cadets (2,700) want to go gliding at one of these 3 glidinh sites - then each VGs will need to provide 900 places a year to [email protected] - then they have to fulfil the requests to the Southern end of Central & East Region, the Eatsern end of South West Region and the South West end of Wales and West region. Thus you can probably add least another 1,000 cadets to Little Rissington and Weathersfield due to their location. More travelling for all.

These super VGSs are a stupid idea - 'little and often' rather than 'large and dispersed' should be key. Adding in the 7x RAFGSA sites could help with this if the GSA want to grow from within. Also using some key BGA sites would also help. Otherwise, gliding will whither on the vine in my opinion as time goes by. That would be tragic.

The AEF and Herr Grob's finest is not a replacement for giving youngsters the opportunity to fly on their own. As many of us know, going solo is one of the most character building events in one's life and if it can be done with youngsters that can have a life time impact; so much better than AEF and "OK Bloggs, watch this for some sh!t hot flying...".

The B Word
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Old 27th Mar 2016, 11:31
  #2072 (permalink)  
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Yes, it was me that announced a new Sheriff. He made absolutely the right decision at the time - grounding the fleet for inspection and auditing the VGS's processes was the correct thing to do. However, like the B Word's post above illustrates, the outcome is sub-optimal in my opinion. Just how much of this is the Sheriff's wishes I do not know, but if I were the Sheriff then I would have probably come up with a different solution:

1. As soon as I had a view on the state of the Vigilant fleet, I would have asked to take the money for re-engining the aircraft (believed to be an eye watering 60k per airframe over a 5 year period) and started placing orders for ASK-21s (calling them the extant Vanguard TX1 name). Within the 2 year pause I would have hoped to have at least a dozen or more, with at least another dozen coming off the production line during the Viking recovery. Let's say there were 30x Vanguards in the end - enough for 5x VGS to remain open and some at Syerston for trg and maintenance.

2. Sorted out my new Skylaunch winches ASAP to ensure there were clearnces to use Vikings and Vanguards.

3. Scrapped the Vigilant and told the instructors to start flying conventional gliders at RAFGSA clubs (giving them a small 500 grant to help them do so). When ready, the formal instructor categorisation could occur at Syerston.

4. This latest announcement could have read 17x VGS to remain open instead of 12. All with these low-fidelity simulators for poor weather day trg/experience - not a direct replacement to flying but better than nothing at all. 17 spread accross the could have seen a further 1 in Scotland, 1 in NI and 1 in Wales plus a further 2 in the South East to take up the strain of nearly 1/4 of the Air Cadet numbers.

5. Don't forget, that with these new Vanguards the Cadets could be flying them NOW!!

I'm sure there are other things that could have been done better. I can't help feeling that stopping in Apr 14 was the right thing to do, I just wish that the outcome could have been better!!

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Old 27th Mar 2016, 11:37
  #2073 (permalink)  
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Thanks for the kind words Chug, but for me Arc nailed it at post #1981 with

"No greater satisfaction than Cadets talking loudly, exchanging experiences and finally the descending silence as they fall asleep in the minibus on the way home from a day out at the Viking VGS!" As the B word says, its the going solo that's the real deal. C4 - I think you're on the same page as most of us, but my point (irrespective of the soaring, which was a very nice bonus) is that that girl has been in the ATC for more than two years, and had never been in a glider. She visits the BGC for two hours, and goes flying. That may say something about the BGC, but it says a great deal more about the ATC.
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Old 27th Mar 2016, 11:49
  #2074 (permalink)  
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Dave, I agree with you.

For c4aero, Sir, I also agree. Not everyone joins the Royal AIR Force to fly. That is why conventional gliding is the activity of choice for all cadets. If you don't want to fly there are so many things Cadets can help with and experience to launch a glider to achieve this. That is why I agree with your point on the Vigilant not being the best for trg, just like Tutor AEF being limited as well. With that case in point, then why are we running Vigilant on for another 3 years when we could be placing orders for ASK-21s? (and no I don't have shares, but it's a great glider, the military clearance has already been done and it's still in production). Taking the money from the re-engine program, the run on of Vigilant and spending monies from Service Charities to pay for gliders (instead of low-fidelity sims that cost 1/3 the price of a new glider) would surely be a better plan?


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Old 27th Mar 2016, 12:23
  #2075 (permalink)  
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I'd say that was an excellent plan LJ. And I didn't make myself entirely clear with regard to the flying. I fully accept that not everyone who joins the Air Cadets wants to fly.

But you know, it would be nice if they were at least offered the chance.
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Old 27th Mar 2016, 13:29
  #2076 (permalink)  
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Much is talked about of on Vikkings that cadets do loads all day but exactly what are cadets who visit for a days flying allowed to do? Nothing to do with the winch I suppose. Hat training do they get?
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Old 27th Mar 2016, 14:37
  #2077 (permalink)  
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>The Vigilant has given great service, but we have used it more like a light aircraft than a glider in ACO flying; the additional Tutors will partially replace this<

However it was used, we did at least train cadets to solo standard in it and habitually sent real solos in it. Additional Tutor flying may have a value but it will not replace the Vigilant since by definition, "air experience" flying cannot replace "training".
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Old 27th Mar 2016, 16:58
  #2078 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Jimmyjerez View Post
Much is talked about of on Vikkings that cadets do loads all day but exactly what are cadets who visit for a days flying allowed to do? Nothing to do with the winch I suppose. Hat training do they get?
Wingtip orderly for launches and towing, attaching the cables, pushing and pulling under the supervision of sqn staff and Flight Staff Cadets.

Oh yes, FSCs are disappearing too. The Brain Trust has decided that they're to join ATC SNCO ranks, along with CGIs, once they turn 18. What exactly happens when 16.5yr olds complete AGT remains to be seen because, like so much else, this plan seems to have been written on the back of a cocktail napkin after a couple too many sherbets. Do they get sent away for 18 months for them only to find something else to do? What's supposed to happen to guys and girls, who are usually the amongst best and the brightest, when they are given the either/or choice of continuing gliding to the total exclusion of anything else they might want to accomplish in the Corps?

I was a FSC once upon a time. I was flying other cadets when I was 18. A couple of my squadron-mates were doing it at 17 and all of us were treated like, and (in and around the aeroplane at least) acted like, grown-ups. We received exactly the same training and flew to the same standard as CGIs, ATC WOs and commissioned officers. The same year I qualified I also got a flying scholarship and I went on the International Air Cadet Exchange. That was a quarter or a century ago and at least one of my mates was cutting about in the front seat of a Phantom- he was only about a year older than me.

These days, the Cadets have far more serious courses for serious people, such as Basic Expedition Leader and the Junior Leaders Course, from which they can gain formal and recognised qualifications and RCO courses where you have to be 18 to qualify. If the RAF is serious about using the ACO as an incubator for its future officers and aircrew, then establishing arbitrary barriers is very much a retrograde step.
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Old 27th Mar 2016, 17:17
  #2079 (permalink)  
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Ref Leon's plan for the K21s...

For the umpteenth time. (Please excuse the all-caps, but it's central to the disposition and siting of VGSs before The Cull.)


The Vigilants were used by a majority of sqns because there was- and is- a chronic shortage of suitable airfields for conventional gliders. Tern Hill and Little Rissington are the only Vigilant bases where conventional gliding was practical. The ACO has had to sink millions (which could have been used to help fix or buy aicraft) into making the latter a viable site for Vikings- most of which will likely be flushed down the toilet when DIO number crunchers finally realise just how much they can get for a giant brownfield site in the Cotswolds.

Yes, we operated the Viligant like a light aircraft, but our reason for being was to train cadets to fly them properly, rather than let some joy-riding old boy or bored truckie chuck them upside down for half an hour. AEG, and latterly GIC, was simply a side function of building up a sustainable cadre of new instructors.
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Old 27th Mar 2016, 19:11
  #2080 (permalink)  
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Planning for the future

Cat F Like you I despair at the scant regard given to the Staff Cadet input.
This system was the backbone of the Gliding organisation as demonstrated by the numbers that went on to become senior (very experienced) instructors.
They knew all the jobs required and kept the standards of recruiting and training new staff cadets to a high level. At any school worth its salt the S-cadets would have the equipment checked and out on-line before the main staff arrived and it was a matter of honour to always see that cables got back down to the launch point without delay. The fact that this was done without reams of check lists and clip boards suggests the system was both capable and fit for purpose. One could even suggest that the ATC would not be in such a mess now if we had former staff cadets 'up top'.
As regards the 'planning' that has gone into deciding the future requirements why would you think there has been any !!!,I mean it looks like they are going to build a small factory just to 'recover' unbroken gliders (its like a Whitehall farce) Can you imagine the Cranwell big brief meeting with the equivalent of Brian Rix coming on stage to announce an estimate for the end of the 'Big Pause' followed by a big cheer before his trousers fell down. The fact that they do not realise what they have 'lost' says it all.
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