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Air Cadets grounded?

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Air Cadets grounded?

Old 22nd Nov 2016, 10:45
  #2981 (permalink)  
 
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Gliding is still available to cadets, just not through the VGS route.
Missing the point by a huge margin.
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Old 22nd Nov 2016, 14:11
  #2982 (permalink)  
 
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Yep

a huge swing and a miss......................

Arc
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Old 22nd Nov 2016, 17:30
  #2983 (permalink)  
 
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I have been reading this subject for a while, with my interest purely from a military engineering perspective, regarding the RAF trying to implement the MAA Regulatory Articles (RAs), in particular RAs 4970 to 4974 Airworthiness Review (AR) regulations.

I have been wondering whether what has happened within the glider fleet was during the implementation of Regulatory Article (RA) 4973: military airworthiness review process, MRP Part M Sub Part I, although it does appear that there must have been major airworthiness failures within the reports that required the fleet to be grounded.

Should of said that it could also be, if evidence from reports raised on other aircraft is anything to go by, that the personnel carrying out the reviews did not know what they were looking at, as there was not much direction from those further up the chain of command and some did not actually fulfil the RA requirements to carry out the reviews, allegedly.

https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...73_Issue_2.pdf

Apologies if these regulations have been muted before, as I have missed them.

Last edited by Exrigger; 22nd Nov 2016 at 17:39. Reason: Added additional info
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Old 22nd Nov 2016, 18:23
  #2984 (permalink)  
 
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Exrigger,

Many thanks for a really useful post - the RA makes interesting reading. It also illustrates a key point that I and many others on this thread have been making. There is absolutely nothing in this MAA RA that should not have been happening on a routine basis for many years. To labour the point - there is not a single element of this RA that is new. Not a one. It's not new stuff.

In my direct experience, the checks the RA calls out would all have been covered by a variety of reviews. Not a complete list, but these would have included:

1. Internal QA checks of documentation and aircraft carried out on the unit - about every 3 to 6 months
2. Monthly checks of modification returns and TI compliance by station tech Support Cell
3. Regular checks on aircraft state and documentation carried out by air station or ship inspections team - around every 12 months
4. Annual inspections of aircraft and documents carried out by Station MTP (every 12 months)
5. Further checks carried out during Command inspections (every 12 months)
6. Documentation and condition checks every time an aircraft was transferred between units or entered second line work - around every 18 months
7. For the RAF, external Quality Audits (EQAs) every 2 years or so.
8. for the RN, MARTSU inspections of aircraft every 12 months - full teardown and removal of every panel and all sound proofing.

Viewed in this light, I'd ask whether the RA is actually sufficient. The 'sample checks' of modifications and components against the ADS aren't, in my view. Just my opinion.

I'm not listing all this to show how fab we all were 'back then'. We weren't. Our checks revealed many errors and omissions, which were almost inevitable in a system that depended on manual data entry. But at least we had a system that had a decent chance of catching the errors.

Sorry to repeat. Everything in the RA, plus a lot more beside, should have already been taking place from the day the gliders entered service. Every day. Every week. Every month. Every year. Normal, routine, standard, stuff. On gliders, about as easy an engineering task as you could devise. So, the big questions:

What in h*ll was going on to allow the whole glider fleet to get into a state where it couldn't pass the low bar set by the RA?

Who in h*ll didn't do their jobs? (Hint - many, many people, not just the contractors)

Why did the MAA give the RAF four years to carry out a review that should have required no more than attaching copies of the last inspections?

I sincerely apologise if this sounds a tad dyspeptic - I am honestly struggling to understand how any normal military aircraft fleet could possibly fail the MAA RA, let alone this one.

Best regards as ever to all those doing the checking - lives depend on them

Engines

Last edited by Engines; 22nd Nov 2016 at 20:17.
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Old 22nd Nov 2016, 19:10
  #2985 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks Engines, I agree wholeheartedly with what you say and at my lowly level within the military and to a lesser extent within civilian aircraft industry as quality engineer, I used to try to the best of my ability to make sure I and my compatriots carried out the work to the highest possible standard, even though that was not a popular approach for the management, and some of my peers who considered promotion before airworthiness.

After leaving the service and working within a civilian maintenance organisation on a military contracts I have taken your list and amended to what happens within that arena I worked in:

1. Internal QA checks of documentation and aircraft carried out on the unit - about every 3 to 6 months - I and the other quality people did that
2. External audit by prime contractor if applicable on above, or contractors core quality team at least twice.
3. Once the MAA stood up an annual audit as above carried out.
4. Then the BMAR as per the RA posted carried out on each aircraft, then once the MARC issued this was then an annual check.
5. Input and output standards of aircraft and documentation every time an aircraft was transferred between sqn on entering/leaving maintenance.

The problems really started when the MAA sent their auditors out and tried to audit against regulations that they neither understood or followed themselves, and followed up by using CAA auditors which made the issues worse as the EASA regulations had been militarised by the MAA, hence things got even more complicated. I have been out of this area for a while now and would like to think things might improve.

And don't get me started on F765s, F760s and DASORs, at least on one platform we managed to work with all parties and immensely improve F765 turnround times.

To give an example of F760s, some of these used to go via a cell at Stafford, but we found out as Stafford was being run down the cell had gone, therefore all F760s went to Cosford training admin as they were temporary 'caretakers' during the draw down. Approached the military when Cosford contacted us and forwarded them on and they had no idea what to do with them, which probably explained why some things never got sorted.

Back to gliders, it would appear that this does display the systemic failures in the whole system and the inability of the MAA/Military management to fix things IAW their own regulations, which if they knew what they actually meant would be a start, I could be down to lost 'corporate memory' either through natural wastage, ignorance or deliberately.
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Old 22nd Nov 2016, 20:55
  #2986 (permalink)  
 
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As others have said the current problem is a factor of neglect for many years. However, I do believe that people have tried to do the right thing and I would say that there was a cultural problem close to the gliders and a lack of resource at leadership/risk holder level until 2FTS was stood up. IIRC the situation unfolded like this in recent years:

1. Gliders bought about 20-30 years ago were serviced by a RAF mobile glider servicing team until replaced by contracted engineering services without significant oversight.
2. The gliders were operated under HQ Air Cadet control for many years.
3. On the stand up of the MAA and Duty Holders then the first to oversee was I believe 1EFTS. However, a spate of incidents with Tucano meant that there was no manpower to oversee the glider operations properly.
4. Transferred to 3FTS where once again there was a problem with Tutor and so again the manpower was not available to oversee the glider operation. However, OC 3FTS acknowledged the issue and lobbied hard to stand up a seperate Delivery Duty Holder organisation.
5. HQ 2FTS formed with an OF-5 head and a OF-4 with CAMO responsibility. Within about 6-12 months of both arriving then gliding was 'paused'. Set this against a back drop of more pressing airworthiness related problems across 22Gp at the time then the already stretched A4 Eng were unable to look at the gliding operation properly prior to this due to a lack of manpower.

That's my recollection. This was another classic 'can do' that should have been stopped a while before it did. Wilful negligence? I don't believe so. Corporate/Organisational failure? Yes. However, as would have been usual after a fatal accident there would be a lot of hindsight and hand-wringing so it was a good job that the VGSs only had one fatal accident in 20 years - and that was non technical.

I standby to be corrected on the exact details on how the VGSs were passed 'from pillar to post' between organisations, but I hope it shows how the review systems fell down?

However, if your glass is half full like mine then the right thing happened in the end . But, and its a big but, the recovery to the current stage could have been done far better in my considered opinion. I am of the opinion that the volunteer staff, and more importantly the Cadets, have been let down by this whole shambles.

LJ
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Old 22nd Nov 2016, 22:13
  #2987 (permalink)  
 
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My recollection is that Vigilant engine problems occured almost from the time they were introduced into service. Wasn't there intially a serious accident at Binbrook?
And when I did Admin. Officer on a summer course at 637 VGS at Rissy in '91, we had to supply samples from every batch of the fuel being purchased (at a local filling station) to Brize Norton to be analysed presumably for ethanol content etc.
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Old 22nd Nov 2016, 22:42
  #2988 (permalink)  
 
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The thing I still don't understand is how the Royal Air Force failed to keep a fleet of simple sailplanes airworthy. This is a task that doesn't seem to be beyond your average gliding club, many of which have no paid staff.
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Old 23rd Nov 2016, 09:17
  #2989 (permalink)  
 
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Maybe a look at how HQ Air Cadets is run would be a good place to look. There is no shortage of funds from what I have seen.

As an aside, when compared to other youth organisations, is the ATC value for money for recruiting the future RAF?
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Old 23rd Nov 2016, 09:55
  #2990 (permalink)  
 
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TN

In my experience:

1. In the past HQAC was seen as a backwater and very little money was spent there. You only had to go there when it was at Newton to see that. Since the move to Cranwell IMHO that has changed.

2. Quite a bit of money has been pumped into HQAC and ACCGS (2FTS) in recent years both on kit and on facilities. How well they have been used is another question but not a lot of money is spent at either Region or Squadron level overall, and staffing costs once you move below Region level are minimal.

3. When the RAF was large and fighting the cold war no-one wanted to know about Air Cadets (lets face it, a posting to a backwater location at Newton working with RAFRO, RAF VR(T) and kids in discarded battledress or working with Aircraft over 50 years old and second rate MT on a disused WW2 airfield is not going to further your career too much). Suddenly with no cold war to fight and a much reduced RAF, the Air Cadet Organisation was seen as somewhere you could continue your career and ultimately even engineer yourself a second one for when you retired. Lots of people took an interest in it and Government Policy suddenly swung to 'looking after the Youth' - this meant funding magically became available for the 'organisation' - very little trickled down to lower levels I can assure you.

4. So in answer to your question I would say at lower levels the ACO provides tremendous value for money in terms of both the public face of the RAF and as a recruiting tool. At higher levels I would say it's an expensive edifice run by people who think they are running a corporation like ICI rather than a national Youth organization with an aviation slant.

Sad, but true................

Arc
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Old 23rd Nov 2016, 11:24
  #2991 (permalink)  
 
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VFM

Arc,

I can't disagree with nearly all your post apart from

as a recruiting tool

When other organisations have upwards of 200k members, Scouts, the amount spent per Youth in the ATC seem out of kilter. I always believed that the ATC used to provide the most RAF pers in the past. But now the numbers paint a different picture.

I appreciate you cannot put a cost on the public face of the ATC, but the sums expended in various organisations, Engagement, Recruiting are huge.

Something needs to be done re recruiting. I am sure that all those involved are doing their upmost to encourage young people to join up.

I am not criticising the money spent, just suggesting that it is not always going to where it is needed.
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Old 23rd Nov 2016, 12:05
  #2992 (permalink)  
 
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When the RAF was large and fighting the cold war no-one wanted to know about Air Cadets (lets face it, a posting to a backwater location at Newton working with RAFRO, RAF VR(T) and kids in discarded battledress or working with Aircraft over 50 years old and second rate MT on a disused WW2 airfield is not going to further your career too much). Suddenly with no cold war to fight and a much reduced RAF, the Air Cadet Organisation was seen as somewhere you could continue your career and ultimately even engineer yourself a second one for when you retired. Lots of people took an interest in it and Government Policy suddenly swung to 'looking after the Youth' - this meant funding magically became available for the 'organisation' - very little trickled down to lower levels I can assure you.
Absolute nail on the head.

As an aside, when compared to other youth organisations, is the ATC value for money for recruiting the future RAF?
Currently, it is not value for money. More and more cadets are starting to see the RAF for what it is, crippled by red-tape and a lack of opportunity, and are deciding to forget about a RAF career and are leaving the organisation.

Lets not forget, there is currently, no flying, no shooting and no night exercises, to name a few.
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Old 23rd Nov 2016, 13:22
  #2993 (permalink)  
 
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Lets not forget, there is currently, no flying, no shooting and no night exercises, to name a few
Perhaps the reason cadets aren't joining is because too many of the ATC staff are not just bitter and stale but factually wrong. Do you never get bored of peddling utter b0ll0cks?
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Old 23rd Nov 2016, 14:14
  #2994 (permalink)  
 
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Lets not forget, there is currently, no flying, no shooting and no night exercises, to name a few
@TorqueOfTheDevil depending on Wing/Region that may all be true.
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Old 23rd Nov 2016, 14:24
  #2995 (permalink)  
 
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Torque,

Health and safety, red-tape and bureaucracy might be your thing, that's fine, each to his own.

But just for one minute, put yourself in the mind of a 13 year old kid who has just joined the air cadets after sitting through a glossy presentation featuring all the endless possibilities to fly, shoot, explore, visit etc.
Fast forward a few months to just after enrolment, and having spoken to the other senior cadets, it becomes blatantly obvious that you may have been mis-sold something!

Facts?...........speak to the cadet who has been in 2 and 3/4 years and has just been offered his first chance to fly, an AEF in a Tutor at Cranwell. Only for it to cancelled one day before because of Cranwell 'staff issues'.
And, since he was available to fly, he will still be available to come in and clean the squadron! Are you still thinking about this as a youngster would? Are you still thinking the RAF's great, can't wait to join up?
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Old 23rd Nov 2016, 15:15
  #2996 (permalink)  
 
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depending on Wing/Region that may all be true
Absolutely, or it may not. But the naysayers usually claim to speak for the entire ACO, no doubt because they grandly assume that their knowledge and status is outstanding. Maybe it once was.

Facts?...........speak to the cadet who has been in 2 and 3/4 years and has just been offered his first chance to fly, an AEF in a Tutor at Cranwell. Only for it to cancelled one day before because of Cranwell 'staff issues'.
I recently spoke to a cadet who has been in just over one year and was on his fourth AEF sortie. That's much more than I got when I was a cadet, therefore I deduce that the amount of flying which the current crop of cadets get has increased significantly in recent years

Despite the fact that, back then, we never had staff issues, let alone poor weather or poor serviceability
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Old 23rd Nov 2016, 16:05
  #2997 (permalink)  
 
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The amount of flying available has always partly depended on which sqn one was in - and either geographic location or personal contacts could make a huge difference.

Please do not forget gents that 'they' did not want a quick fix for Air Cadet gliding,the system was dismantled during the 'pause' and purely coincidentally many of those ex gliding sites are being closed.
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Old 23rd Nov 2016, 16:42
  #2998 (permalink)  
 
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Longer Ron

Initially I was skeptical of your conspiracy theory on this one but having seen events unfold I am 100% behind you now !!

Arc

* Although I can't believe money was the motivator since the VGS cost pennies on the Defence budget. I can however believe that the motivator was to remove them as sole lodger units at many sites so that there were no objections from the based units !! and of course the money released by selling the sites to money hungry developers is big bucks on the budget bottom line - providing it is returned to the MoD and not direct to Treasury - hey who cares about a bunch of snotty nosed kids going without a bit of gliding anyway !!*

Last edited by Arclite01; 23rd Nov 2016 at 16:46. Reason: Money
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Old 23rd Nov 2016, 17:12
  #2999 (permalink)  
 
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Hi Arc
Also the way things 'played out' meant that there was no chance of any campaign/consultation to save any of the VGS's.
It is scandalous that nobody stepped in to oversee changes necessary to keep the gliders airworthy,but they just left it until it broke.It was a fashionable saying some years ago - sometimes you have to leave things until they are broken until you fix them ( I never bought into that myself).
The review that started in 2012 stated (something like) - any changes should have minimum impact on ACO flying - well that worked well.
I also believe they put the 'right' man in for the job (but that is my personal opinion).
Trouble is - in the usual MOD way - any attempt to save money usually ends up costing us lots !
As usual obviously there was no plan in place to replace the fleet,this could have been done in small batches over many years - but one should really have a fleet replacement plan - especially with gliders where the manufacturers capabilities are modest.
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Old 23rd Nov 2016, 18:23
  #3000 (permalink)  
 
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Lets not forget, there is currently, no flying, no shooting and no night exercises, to name a few
Utter, utter drivel.

I have trained some 50+ Cadets on the L98A2 this year alone and many others on No.8 Rifle and the Scorpion Air Rifle. I have lost count of the number of WHTs I have done. On average we have a Wing Range Day (L98A2) per month, there is regular shooting at Camps, and Sqns that possess their own indoor or air rifle ranges regularly shoot. As an RCO I have my Cadets shooting on a fortnighly basis.

If shooting is so rare then how come the ATC cleaned up at CISSAAM recently winning the majority of prizes and Gold Medals?

I would suggest regular shooting is down to having enthusiastic RCOs and SAAIs.

WRT Night Excercises these depend upon ECOs actually getting off their backsides and generating the relevent EASPs and getting them approved by Wing or Region (dependent upon the level of the Ex / time in the Field).

It's about making it happen as opposed to whingeing about it.

Last edited by ExAscoteer; 23rd Nov 2016 at 19:55.
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