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Air Cadets grounded?

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Air Cadets grounded?

Old 31st Mar 2016, 18:46
  #2161 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
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It is a long time since I flew an ATC glider - a T-21 (not an K-21!), so I might be a bit out of touch!

It seems to me though that the goal is to get pupils past solo and get them a bit of solo time. If that is the case then doing it in trolleys (Vikings) seems a bit of overkill - especially if there is a struggle to get enough airframes. Surely once the student has gone solo in the twin then they should convert into a single seater as soon as possible. Single seaters are much cheaper to buy and free up a valuable resource (the two seater) for instructing.

At the risk of people queuing up to pour scorn on my idea I think the ATC could do much worse than buy a second hand PW-5 for each station.

Why a PW-5?

Well, they are modern, simple and generally in very good condition - very cheap to buy and there a lot on the worldwide market, very easy to maintain (annuals are a breeze). They are easy to fly, go up on the smell of an oily rag. My old club had two and used them for post solo hour building with great success

A lot of people criticize PW-5s mainly for being low performance but remember the cadets would not be doing 300K's or gold badges but just a bit of local soaring in a very fun to fly machine.

I think the ATC could get a lot of bang for very few bucks!

LJ, Why do you fly the K-21 solo? is it because there are no single seaters at your club?
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Old 31st Mar 2016, 19:30
  #2162 (permalink)  
 
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Solo Machines

The simple truth Typerated is the numbers of actual 'solo's' nowadays is very much reduced compared with the 'wood' days.
Even after all the dual (planned) a Cadet gets one solo and then has to rely on getting an 'advanced' course.
The Canadians use very simple metal (strutted) gliders but i am not sure if they are available any more.
No manufacturer was going to make a bespoke aircraft that only suited the ATC and to be fair the Viking has done well in service (they look amazingly fit considering they are grounded)
The whole gliding scenario has been diluted with the advent of para-wings hang gliders and simple powered micro lights.The eye-watering cost of a glass two seater (which are designed to train distance and speed flying) and have fantastic performance rather distances them from the basic ATC requirement.
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Old 31st Mar 2016, 20:03
  #2163 (permalink)  
 
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Typerated

LJ, Why do you fly the K-21 solo? is it because there are no single seaters at your club?
Because HM is paying for it and on the JSAT courses I have done I have been solo on the Tuesday afternoon and flying for the rest of the week on my own!

LJ
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Old 31st Mar 2016, 22:21
  #2164 (permalink)  
 
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With regard to gliders, if Schleicher won't play ball, and Grob are out of the glider business, then the Glaser-Dirks could be a good alternative. The company is still actively manufacturing gliders, and when last buil, the DG-505, in its Orion form, was built in Slovenia, so should be rather more affordable than one built by German labour. For an order of 80 or so aircraft plus spares, they may consider restarting production.

The Air Cadets, if they are to carry on with conventional gliders need to adapt to the sites it will have access to in the future. The disused or unobstructed grass airfields which were plentiful in the 50s and 60s, are now the very ones the bean counters and housing ministers have in their sights, so will always be at risk, leading VGSs to have a nomadic existence.

A couple of points with regard to the RAFGSA, sure the numbers of servicemen actively involved in clubs throughout a given year may be smaller than in the past, but that is due to the reduced size of the RAF these days and the numbers of personnel deployed away from their home stations and overseas. Sure there are ex-service and civilian members, these are the people who provide the continuity and do maintenance tasks to ensure gliders and equipment are serviceable when serving personnel are available to come and fly.

Also, to suggest that several runway lights are broken per club per year is a gross exaggeration. I can recall two at our club in the ten years I've been a member. If other clubs are breaking more, their winch drivers and pilots need retraining.
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Old 1st Apr 2016, 09:19
  #2165 (permalink)  
 
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That's a big shame Pobjoy,

I think my first solo thermaling flight was much more enjoyable and memorable than first solo!

One of the joys students get from converting from a Twin Astir to a PW5 is flying a light nimble machine that you 'wear' rather than a big truck that you have to give a fortnights notice before it will turn - They get so much out of the first 10-15 hours after solo

just read this LJ RAF Gliding & Soaring Association - What is JSAT

So if the Wx is crap you have to go MTBing! I think that is taking AT a bit far! What happened to the pub for ground school when the weather is crap?

K-21 is a good basic/intermediate trainer - just a bit boring and very expensive at that- Nothing beats a K-13 ( red glider in the photos) as a trainer though!

LJ, Did you fly gliders before fast jets? If not how easy was it to convert?

TR

Last edited by typerated; 1st Apr 2016 at 19:00.
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Old 1st Apr 2016, 10:59
  #2166 (permalink)  
 
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With regard to gliders, if Schleicher won't play ball, and Grob are out of the glider business, then the Glaser-Dirks could be a good alternative. The company is still actively manufacturing gliders, and when last buil, the DG-505, in its Orion form, was built in Slovenia, so should be rather more affordable than one built by German labour. For an order of 80 or so aircraft plus spares, they may consider restarting production.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DG_Flugzeugbau#Ownership
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Old 1st Apr 2016, 14:19
  #2167 (permalink)  
 
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Fast Jets !!!

T-Rated Not sure where the F-Jet bit came from,but i would love a ride in a Hunter should you care to arrange it!!
The whole gliding (two seater world) was rather hit by the loss of many Blaniks due to ongoing cert issues,but they would be an easy aircraft to mass produce again if the orders were there.(plus could be modded for longer life).
Club flying is very much 'pointed' towards performance machines which frankly are not really what the ATC require.
A dedicated trainer for solo and AE work needs to be 'rugged' and be cockpit friendly with all the pupil changes.
Composite machines are super good in the performance region but not in the cost and 'easy repair' scheme of things,and as the ATC are a winch launch operation the machines have to be suitably stressed for multiple launches and should have 'classic' handling qualities.
As we have seen with composite light aircraft they are difficult to repair,and also difficult to 'damage assess' compared with wood or metal,but thats the way industry has gone.
I would like to think that the Cadets could do far more solo work 'in the system' as it would encourage them to keep gliding and progress to the exciting world of distance and mountain flying,plus keep them in uniform longer.
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Old 1st Apr 2016, 14:52
  #2168 (permalink)  
 
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Didn't the Air Cadets have a number of K23's at one time? - a fairly viceless piece of kit for early solos.

The best 'modern' two seat trainer is the Puchacz because of its spin and recovery characteristics. Reasonable performance, roomy front or back and aerobatic but not particularly robust or well finished and the max winch speed is only four knots above the optimum.

K13's are old hat, don't spin that well and neither comfortable or particularly accomodating in either cockpit.


7700
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Old 1st Apr 2016, 15:33
  #2169 (permalink)  
 
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Squawk

The ACO never had K23's. It had 5 x ASW-19 for advanced training/solos/X-Country/Competition. Never for first solos and not really for early solo pilots IMHO (never saw anyone under a G1 fly one)

The Pushchair (Puchatz) is exactly what you say. But it has a flaw and that is that it spins too easily and it needs aggressive positive recovery action, recognise it late and respond late and it will bite you. It's OK at 3000' but most of the ATC flying is below 900' - the combination of low hours/low experience pilots, low altitudes and an aggressive spinner is not one I would recommend to any one, definitely not the ACO

The K13 was the glider they should have brought 20 years ago (it was still in production at the time they brought the Viking with Schleicher sub-contractor Jubi) but Glass Gliders were seen to be the way to go, and with Taxpayers paying, why not have a Rolls Royce...............

POBJOY - The Blanik gets my vote every time across the spectrum of handling, construction, cost etc but nowadays would seem to be almost out of the Ark (you sit in one and see !!)

Arc

Last edited by Arclite01; 1st Apr 2016 at 15:48. Reason: spelling
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Old 1st Apr 2016, 16:08
  #2170 (permalink)  
 
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The Ark

ARC; The ARK did what it said on the tin (so i'm told by Noah who lives near me) just what the ATC needs now.anyway they could 'tidy up' the cockpit,and i just love those wing tips and handling. Well Remember a certain 'instructor' who gave quite spirited displays in one !!!!
It ticks most of the boxes and would be easy to improve and produce to the latest safety specs.Tell me about the Canadian glider fleet ARC.
There are a couple of certified mods out there to recert the Blanik, and i believe the Australian one is affordable.
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Old 1st Apr 2016, 16:21
  #2171 (permalink)  
 
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POBJOY

Whatever happens - the ACO has to buy new to escape this uncertain aircraft history fiasco..................

I am a great Blanik fan too (over 1000 launches in them) That display pilot would be Andy Gough I assume................ although I have seen Clive Watson do a few good trips too..............

Arc
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Old 1st Apr 2016, 16:41
  #2172 (permalink)  
 
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Arc,
It was a question re. the K23's not a statement! - why didn't they buy an early solo single seater like the K23? or it's predecessor the K18 (very pleasant and easy to fly) instead of ASW19's.

I like the Puchacz (no 't') I know it's not suitable for the Air Cadet approach to getting kids to solo but it teaches accurate flying......or it could kill you, as it did in its early years in the UK and first solos in it were banned in the US.

The Blanik though.......is like sitting in a bath tub (I actually thought it was OK to fly).


7700
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Old 1st Apr 2016, 17:01
  #2173 (permalink)  
 
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Who are going to instruct on all these gliders?

The decision on the machinery is surely the last to take, you need to decide the operation regime first. The status quo on fewer, further spread sites will struggle...
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Old 1st Apr 2016, 17:21
  #2174 (permalink)  
 
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The Canadians use very simple metal (strutted) gliders but i am not sure if they are available any more.

The Canadian gliders are SGS-233A's There are no cadet owned powered aircraft except the towplanes. The tow planes are L-19's, Belanca Scouts or C182's. Some areas also winch or auto tow.


The aircraft are civilian owned and registered by the Air Cadet League of the provinces. The aircraft are operated by the military to civilian standards, unless there is a more restrictive military standard. All pilots operate on their civilian licences.


The cadets all should receive 1 air experience in the glider every year. Powered Fam Flying is also done locally by the squadrons at their expense in locally sourced aircraft.


Cadets can receive their full civilian glider licence at a 6 week summer training course.


A 7 week summer training course to PPL standard is contracted out civilian flight schools


Here are few video links
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrctbfusPWs
https://youtu.be/jgD9sBqt1Wo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTCqi_6r4n8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K15X60uhDh8

Last edited by kevindb63; 1st Apr 2016 at 17:59.
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Old 1st Apr 2016, 17:47
  #2175 (permalink)  
 
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Apologies Squawk

My reply did seems a bit vehement in it's content. A bit more background for you..........

The ASW19 came as part of the original purchase of 10 x K21 (Vanguard TX1 in ACO service) and was called the Valiant TX1. It was specifically purchased for advanced solo/competition environments. The K23 would have been a better buy if you wanted something for low experience pilots to fly and consolidate solo in, but frankly that was never the goal of the ACO who followed the sensible policy of many civilian clubs and sent the first student solo in the front seat of the two seater the student learned in (the Viking). Since the goal of the ACO was Proficiency standard (1 solo only - although originally 3 solos) there was never a real need for anything other than the Two seaters used for the syllabus (Don't get me started on the Janus purchase). The 3 solo policy was reduced to 1 as I understand because there was a fear that the student might get too 'cocky' on the second or third solo and get themselves into trouble with a wide or low circuit or a launch failure. As we all know the first solo is the safest flight you ever make.......................

The rush to get to glass meant that the K18 was never considered as the push was to get away from 'rag and tube' or 'sticks and rags'. IMHO the K18 would have suited the ACO well but by the time the fleet change was made the K18 was out of production and replaced by the K23 (which you have mentioned).

The decision to re-equip came about as I understand it due to a defence budget underspend and that made a load of cash available under the 'spend it or lose it regime' practised in the Government Departments. This gave cash for a 'root and branch' re-org in very short timeframes which saw the purchase and introduction of:
  • Van Gelder Winches (multi drum required to launch the heavier gliders)
  • 4 ton lorries (required to pull the heavier winches)
  • Tractors (to tow the heavier multi cables and spreader bar required to stop cables crossing on tow out)
    Changes in Licences to enable staff to drive heavy lorries and tractors
  • Approx 10 x K21 Vanguards (later cancelled as supplier unable/unwilling to supply)
  • 2 x Janus C two seater advanced soaring and cross-country trainers (flappped)
  • Approx 90 Vikings (to replace Cadet MK3 & T21)
  • 5 x ASW19 Valiants (for advanced solo and competitions to replace Swallow TX1)
  • Approx 50 Grob 109b Motorgliders (Vigilant TX1 to replace Venture T2 Motogliders)
  • Introduction of White Fleet Landrovers to replace the old Landrovers which were deemed unsafe for the carriage of passengers/Cadets
  • Introduction of Central Glider Maintenance Flight at Syerston (to replace Mobile Glider Servicing Parties at various UK Locations)
  • Introduction of Glass Fibre Bay at Syerston run by Soaring Oxford to repair Vikings
  • Introduction of 'Maintenance Contract' with Third Party SERCO to replace RAF staff who were deemed unable to maintain the GRP Gliders............


Quite a lot of changes in short order !! (Planned or 'cause and effect' I am not sure - you decide )

Hope this helps

Arc
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Old 1st Apr 2016, 19:14
  #2176 (permalink)  
 
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Composite machines are super good in the performance region but not in the cost and 'easy repair' scheme of things, and as the ATC are a winch launch operation the machines have to be suitably stressed for multiple launches and should have 'classic' handling qualities.
Grobs, K21s and the like all are all quite suitable for this sort of use.
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Old 1st Apr 2016, 20:32
  #2177 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Arclite01 View Post
POBJOY

Whatever happens - the ACO has to buy new to escape this uncertain aircraft history fiasco..................

I am a great Blanik fan too (over 1000 launches in them) That display pilot would be Andy Gough I assume................ although I have seen Clive Watson do a few good trips too..............

Arc
The Blanik was actually the 'first choice'as a T21/T31 replacement back in the '60s but we couldn't have them 'cos they were built in what was then an Iron Curtain country, hence Slingsby tried to copy it and built the T53.
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Old 1st Apr 2016, 20:35
  #2178 (permalink)  
 
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T53 - thermals well but...
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Old 1st Apr 2016, 22:46
  #2179 (permalink)  
 
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Way Ahead

OK; We will go with new build Super Blaniks with the 'sharp start' launch sysytem. That should give the organisation the 'boost' it needs. Happy to help with development. I think we will have to forgo the T & C Stoff fuels and start with slow burn cordite.Look pretty spectacular at the airshows with a formation 'launch' !!, and stand by for spectacular Cadet recruitment. Instructor will stay on the ground (you only need one for the whole school) as the dual will be remote control.
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Old 1st Apr 2016, 22:55
  #2180 (permalink)  
 
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Thread Drift

This thread is drifting - heads up!! It's not what we should/have could have, it's what we have got and lets get back on track and concentrate on stopping the decimation of ACO gliding. 11 and a bit days to Westminster Hall. I've confirmed my MP will attend - what about yours?

Are there any other steps that could be taken? Anyone contacted the chair of the Public Accounts Committee?

Any one complained to the Air Force Board?

Does anyone think that a crime or crimes along the lines of defrauding the public purse have been committed?

Lets get our a$$e$ back in gear!!
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