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Air Cadets grounded?

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Air Cadets grounded?

Old 24th Jul 2016, 10:58
  #2741 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2006
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JP (or rather MJA):-
Burtonwood Aviator. Well sad; You must be BT; I m MJA!!i
Sad doesn't begin to describe this scandal which can be traced through high level cover-up back to VSO Gross Negligence in 1987. Seems like only yesterday, doesn't it JP?
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Old 24th Jul 2016, 20:10
  #2742 (permalink)  
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Angel What a waste!

SorryI'm not BHT but PMcL
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Old 24th Jul 2016, 21:31
  #2743 (permalink)  
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Further to post 2737

If they bin everything, and 'contract out' why couldn't they have done this three years ago? At least then we'd have given our cadets the chance to glide. I've now got cadets on my unit who're about to leave to go to higher education who have not had this amazing opportunity. Granted they have been able to fly in one of the Queen's machines. But does an hour in the back of a Chinook or Herc really compare?

If the fleet is scrapped, why not contract out all cadet flying to civilian training schools. All civilian FTO's are supposed to be CAA approved and audited, or doesn't that count?

There must be any number of these organisations across the country that could offer a service much closer to the cadet units than those locations currently being mooted.

Departs into back garden to dig a trench to avoid incoming......
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Old 24th Jul 2016, 21:40
  #2744 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Washington DC
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Chris Gains, and perhaps others.

I have been assured that anyone who requested a transfer of VGS, or requested to move to an AEF, was informed of the outcome through their OC in early June. This was a delay over the intended date, as a number of individuals had not provided any indication of their desired intent until then - and some still haven't!

If you have not heard, then an email to the 2FTS Admin address on the 'Future Gliding' form you would have completed to request a move will get you a very prompt response. Of course, if you didn't complete the form, which was sent to the most up-to-date correspondence address of every individual on the CGS database, then you may not have received a response.

The remaining VGS remain open for transferees, although some have proved very popular and so may now have waiting lists.

Despite his 'rumour', JimmyJerez is completely incorrect as the plan remains as per the Ministerial Written Statement.
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Old 26th Jul 2016, 01:18
  #2745 (permalink)  
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EGXY, your post came from Washington USA, we have a saying in Canada, "never trust anyone from inside the beltway", so maybe to avoid your post being looked upon with great suspicion, you would be kind enough to give us, {that is the large number of ATC cadets who finished up in Canada} a clue as to where you obtained your information and what you do for a living? The reason I'm asking should be obvious, especially given the fact that you are a new poster, Regards, Clunck. Ex RCAF .
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Old 26th Jul 2016, 07:10
  #2746 (permalink)  
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EGXY - sorry just what heard from old mates on messages and stuff good news that it is all still going well and what people were saying is wrong

When is date first School going to be back flying now? And when will all of them be back up and Running? Thanks for the info
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Old 26th Jul 2016, 07:19
  #2747 (permalink)  
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clunk - you can put whatever location you like in your profile, it doesn't mean you are actually there. Of course EGXY is the ICAO code for RAF Syerston...
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Old 26th Jul 2016, 09:02
  #2748 (permalink)  
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Well now, there's a surprise, fancy someone using EGXY nom de plume and making a post that sounds just as though it's been written by OC 2 FTS !! But just to ensure that we know that the nom de plume is just that or whether it is OC2FTS, perhaps a full and truthful response to Jimmyjerez may provide us all with some enlightenment !!
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Old 26th Jul 2016, 11:06
  #2749 (permalink)  
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making a post that sounds just as though it's been written by OC 2 FTS
Exactly. Would someone please spell out in words of one syllable just WTF is going on and why heads haven't rolled due to this scandal. It speaks volumes that we have gone from desperately seeking volunteers to waiting lists.
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Old 26th Jul 2016, 11:49
  #2750 (permalink)  
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Posting as a former (and extremely grateful) Air Cadet who got his first taste of real aviation at Manston on Kirby Cadets in the 60s, this is a desperately sad situation. What most upsets me is the cynical use of a well known tactic called 'deflection'.

The RAF are using a variety of channels (including, disgracefully, the RAeS) to put over a message that could be paraphrased as: "Yes, we had some airworthiness challenges which concerned us, so we paused flying while we developed a new plan to address these challenges. We are now implementing a new plan which will deliver an even better aviation experience to Air Cadets." It's really a classic of the genre. Downplay how you got to this point, stress how caring and proactive you are being, and how great the result is going to be. Use the phrase 'going forward' as often as possible. (Clearly, time travelling backwards has been ruled out). Don't use 'damaging' words like 'grounded' - go for nice fluffy ones like 'pause'.

Let's be clear what has happened here. In the 90s the Royal Air Force went out and bought the world's largest single fleet of advanced gliders (and support kit) for the ATC. The gliders were proudly listed on RAF declarations of fleet strength for many years. However, over the years these simple, basic, non-complex, robust aircraft were so badly maintained that by 2014 they were no longer airworthy. Over two years later, it appears that no more than a handful are flying again.

Schoolchildren have been put at risk by being flown in non-airworthy aircraft. Public money has been hosed down the drain (and how much exactly?). Young people who joined the ATC on the promise of gliding have been let down. But the most serious question has to be this - how on earth did the RAF let this happen? This is the most important question because this is probably a systemic issue - it could be happening to another RAF aircraft near you. Or one you're sitting in. Or one you're underneath right now.

There needs to be a thorough enquiry by a truly independent body - and I have to conclude that the MAA won't cut it this time. Why? Because at some stage between 2010 and 2014, they had to have carried out some form of audit or inspection on the RAF organisations that allowed this to happen. My best suggestion would be the RAeS, which is really independent, and has plenty of good engineers and maintenance professionals on tap. However, i'm not holding my breath.

More in sorrow than in anger, best regards as ever to all those picking up the bits,

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Old 26th Jul 2016, 12:06
  #2751 (permalink)  
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However, over the years these simple, basic, non-complex, robust aircraft were so badly maintained that by 2014 they were no longer airworthy

Most of them are probably airworthy but its the paper trail showing they are that is really badly maintained.
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Old 26th Jul 2016, 12:22
  #2752 (permalink)  
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Well said (again) although I would reservations about the RAeS being independent when it comes to MoD's airworthiness failings. Individual members have spoken out robustly against MoD's behaviour, but some very senior people in the Society have defended the indefensible and proven themselves morally bankrupt. On many occasions over the past 15 years it has acted as the mouthpiece for the RAF Air Officers who oversaw this debacle and, when cornered, has simply said that airworthiness is none of its concern. Which may come as a surprise to its Airworthiness Group.

I'd like to see the members of this Group prepare an independent report, along the same lines as the "3 Fellows" report by members of the Flight Operations Group in 2000, which the hierarchy - at the RAF's behest - distanced themselves from and ordered "burned", but which remains perfectly valid to this day. In fact, the later airworthiness appendix to this report would be an excellent starting point. You only have to delete Chinook and insert Gliders.
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Old 26th Jul 2016, 12:26
  #2753 (permalink)  
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Well, I guess I'm not the only one smelling a rat in this particular post. We are on our way to the UK this week to attend a DH vintage aircraft function, the last one we attended there was much talk from some very qualified folks as to how the Cadet Gliding was going, {or more to the point, not going} maybe this group who run and keep a large fleet of vintage aircraft in the air should be given the task to fix this mess, the expertise in this organisation must be tenfold the bozos who have created this mess!

Last edited by clunckdriver; 26th Jul 2016 at 12:38. Reason: too many "the" due finger trouble!
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Old 26th Jul 2016, 12:54
  #2754 (permalink)  
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Cats Five,

Sorry if I didn't make myself clear - if the paper trail is badly maintained, and become inaccurate, then the aircraft is, by definition, non-airworthy. If you don't have a full record of the configuration and the state of the aircraft, you simply don't know whether it's airworthy or not. You can't make the most basic of airworthiness declarations. As I've posted before, it's not a hard thing to do right.

As to the actual state of the aircraft, I've done many inspections of aircraft maintenance organisations. I've been responsible for managing maintenance contracts, and for the maintenance of military aircraft fleets. My experience (admittedly limited) is that if you find problems in the paperwork, you need to start looking hard at the aircraft. Why? Because poor documentation standards are almost always accompanied by poor standards of work on the aircraft. Any good technician knows that the paperwork has to be right.

Making sure that the paperwork IS being done right is also down to strong unit management, good supervision and an effective system of external inspections. QA, TQM, Quality circles, EFQM, 6 sigma, take yer pick. Just choose one and do it properly. In this case, the RAF appears to have failed to do that. It badly needs to know why. From its public statements, it's not asking itself that question. I hope I'm drawing the wrong conclusion here, I really do.

Tuc, I agree that the RAeS hasn't covered itself in glory over the past few years, but it has the right people and the right charter to to a decent job. Perhaps the Public Accounts Committee might want to look at the financial aspects?

Clunk, good suggestion - I'd suggest that there needs to be a tough debate on whether the taxpayer should be shelling out many millions of pounds (and that's what we're talking about here) to allow the RAF to support its recruiting activities. On the (limited) evidence, these millions have not been well used. Perhaps the civil route would be cheaper, and probably safer.

Best regards as ever to those footing the bills,

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Old 26th Jul 2016, 15:41
  #2755 (permalink)  
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Aren't there actually two separate points here which require answers:

Firstly, the airworthiness problems and related issues, including the financial and contractual circumstances and consequences, and the managerial failings this points to in respect of RAF, MOD and contractor staff

Secondly, the way in which the "pause" seems to have been cynically exploited as a smokescreen for a large-scale dismantling of the former VGS network?

I have to add my dismay to that of many ex-cadets on here who benefited from a marvellous opportunity to fly which in practical terms no longer exists.
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Old 26th Jul 2016, 17:00
  #2756 (permalink)  
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Correct J1N but the two are inextricably linked because those who cynically exploit have most to lose if the airworthiness failings and consequences are exposed to detailed scrutiny. They are permitted to judge their own case, so concocted the "pause" nonsense. In doing so, they protect their predecessors/mentors, to whom they owe their current position.

The systemic problems that caused the basic failures are actually well known and documented - simply an extension of the failings confirmed by Haddon-Cave, who in turn merely summarised internal MoD audit reports from 1988, 1992 and 1996 (but attributed them to 1998).

The Inspectorate of Flight Safety issued their own report in 1992, the first (that we know of) in a series of damning such reports which all said the same thing. Implement your regulations. As Engines said, it's not a hard thing to do. The same thing happened back then. The persons to blame were the recipients of the report, so got away with burying it. It emerged in 2011, MoD's Controller Aircraft from the time inadvertently revealed he'd never seen it, and it immediately became the most significant evidence to Lord Philip - and MoD lost another case. (A recurring theme, and it never learns).

MoD always seek to compartmentalise these things, claiming isolated event. It isn't. It's all part of the same malaise. This glider issue is not new. I've seen the report that warned of it from about 7 years ago. I suspect this was prepared after the Nimrod Review, when a degree of panic reigned as IPTs sought to work out how bad their own situation was. As has been suggested here before, I believe the Air Staff would have prioritised corrective action. (At least those few who weren't in denial. I wonder if they have given any thought to their post-Nimrod Review claims that there have never been airworthiness failings?) The "top down" approach was to establish the MAA. Over 6 years later, it is still in its infancy and essentially toothless. But as the problems were well documented, a "bottom up" approach was easy to implement, but would require political will, funding and, importantly, serious engineering expertise. This has not been MoD policy since 1990, when specialist airworthiness staff were deemed the "rump end of MoD(PE)" and given transfer notices as they'd nothing to do, as funding was being chopped. It was said at the time that it would take decades to recover from this act.
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Old 26th Jul 2016, 17:44
  #2757 (permalink)  
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I didn't explain myself well. When the gliders are inspected to reinstate the paper trail I suspect the majority will be fine, though it will take a long & detailed inspection to resolve the paper issues. However I am sure issues will be found, some of them might be very big issues justifying the grounding and re-inspection of all of them.
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Old 26th Jul 2016, 18:14
  #2758 (permalink)  
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Cats Five, no need to apologise at all - I wasn't all that clear in the first post of this series.

Like you, I suspect that the majority of the aircraft will be Ok, unless the RAF's maintenance systems and standards have collapsed completely, which I don't think is the case. I've often posted my admiration for the professionalism and quality of the RAF personnel I've worked with.

But something bad has happened here. Actually, it shouldn't take a 'long and detailed inspection' to resolve the paperwork issues - again, these are simple aircraft. Extremely simple. As simple an aircraft as you can get into the air in. No systems to speak of, simple construction, low stress levels in operation, low g limits, and so on. So what the heck is taking two and a half years and counting? We've had a number of good informed guesses, but b****r all decent information.

The best I can come up with (and this comes with a 'speculation alert' - sorry), is that the following issues might have had a part to play:

1. Repairs not being recorded on the Airframe Log Card
2. Lack of a proper Topic 6 leading to repairs that don't have a full approval
3. Lack of a proper support contract and a proper Design Authority
4. Poor supervision and inspection of contracted maintenance activity (already admitted to)
5. Poorly contracted support (cheapest always wins)
6. Organisational 'churn' in both MoD and RAF leading to loss of focus on the fleet
7. Premature destruction of maintenance related records (this has already been admitted)

It would be interesting to read any reports eventually issued (yeah, right) to see how far on or off target I was.

Best Regard as ever to those untangling this lot,

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Old 26th Jul 2016, 20:46
  #2759 (permalink)  
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If I was a UK taxpayer, and totally ignorant about aviation, I would be moved to ask my MP to investigate why the RAF - which operates state-of-the-art platforms like Typhoon, Voyager, and soon Lightning II, - is incapable of assuring the airworthiness of a fleet of simple aircraft with fixed undercarriages (thousands of which operate safely worldwide).

And also, while you are trying to find the answer to this question Mr MP, could you also find out how much this has cost/is costing the taxpayer and who, exactly, is responsible for this utter fiasco? And will anyone be made culpable? And why is there no independent oversight of the RAF's activities?

I won't hold my breath!
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Old 27th Jul 2016, 06:40
  #2760 (permalink)  
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Unfortunately, my new MP has a policy of not replying to constituents' letters. I wrote to Tory Central and they said they have no control over how an MP conducts his business. I'm sure they'd both be more receptive if I offered a donation.
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