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Air Cadets grounded?

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Air Cadets grounded?

Old 3rd Jan 2017, 14:24
  #3061 (permalink)  
 
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In the meantime just what am I expected to tell my cadets when they ask what the chance is of going flying?

We've now had a whole generation of cadets who've not flown in anything.....

When is someone at Headquarters Air Cadets, or higher, going to apologise and do the honourable thing and resign as a penace for this dreadful shambles?
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Old 3rd Jan 2017, 15:03
  #3062 (permalink)  
 
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I am utterly appalled and ashamed about this
I and many others joined the air cadets to FLY.....

We ( a group of seven or so) were doing so much our Sqn co stopped us going unless there were slots that no one else wanted

Gliding, chippys, Hawks, nimrods, sea kings, hercs, chippys, gliding

You name it, if it flew we wanted a go and we had many goes
Eight chippy trips ( to the airfield) and some were double trip days in a single year

How has it got so ****** up?
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Old 3rd Jan 2017, 16:43
  #3063 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by cornish-stormrider View Post
I am utterly appalled and ashamed about this
I and many others joined the air cadets to FLY.....

We ( a group of seven or so) were doing so much our Sqn co stopped us going unless there were slots that no one else wanted

Gliding, chippys, Hawks, nimrods, sea kings, hercs, chippys, gliding

You name it, if it flew we wanted a go and we had many goes
Eight chippy trips ( to the airfield) and some were double trip days in a single year

How has it got so ****** up?

Quite easily and effortlessly really - in the first instance when the fleet was new, from inception it was not managed correctly from an Aircraft Engineering angle, compounded by the lack of knowledge of GRP aircraft, and the total lack of understanding of airworthiness management, and design authority referrals in certain cases. Over the years therefore a lot of things done should not have been, and a lot of things that were not done, should have been.


Then of course in latter years, we handed it over to a civilian contractor and thought (as in many HMG circles that a sub contract is the complete answer and is cheap compared to direct labour). Sub contractors need to be closely supervised, not left to their own devices - a little known fact unless you've done it !! When the cat's away, the mice will play, and corners are cut. The problem then was that as they never knew in the first instance how to manage the fleet, they could hardly supervise a sub contractor who equally seemed to be in a similar state of knowledge !!


The rot continued........and then came the pause..............and then came another band of professionals who were completely thrown by the whole saga - put simply, in a spin, having been "ambushed and coshed over the head" by the MAA, and regaining consciousness to wonder where it had all gone wrong, not knowing what on earth to do, and.................as an added complicating factor, aided and abetted by hidden agenda's from nameless person(s) who knew precious little about how the VGS functioned and what it produced, and, some that thought we should not be using powered SLMG's, shouldn't allow FSC's to actively work on a VGS, shouldn't have CGI's and many other prejudicial ideas.


From that moment onwards, the tailspin continued and so it does to this very day. Problem now is that some decisions have been made that will be almost impossible to reverse, - e.g. staff redundant, redeployed and some just gone, with some of the decisions are proving to be mission impossible, lots of spent, no accountability, and precious little flying for the most important people of all - the Cadets - and dare I say, the RAF Future pilots.


Very shortly now, the RAF will find out that their former "screening" mechanism via VGS training is missing, when they find that future GD pilot entries start to be become a bunch of entrants who have a greater "chop rate", as they have NO former training in a VGS to FSC level, some even attaining a Grade 1 pilot status, not to mention working in the disciplined RAF based VGS environment run very professionally by the dedicated bunch of VF(T) staff and CGI's. Believe me, there are many who serve today who learnt their basics in a VGS, some as high as Air Rank.


The only positive thing that I can say is that NONE of the present crisis has been in any way caused or created by that wonderful bunch of RAFVR(T) Officers who have worked incalculable hours along with their civilian staff and FSC's to run a very successful and productive training machine in a totally professional manner. Sadly, on the debit side, the amateurs were totally professional whilst the professionals were..................well you guessed it correctly !


And so, dear Taxpayers, parents, Cadets, former staff, you will probably never see the real truth and full disclosure, there is no fairy tale ending for this saga....................
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Old 3rd Jan 2017, 22:59
  #3064 (permalink)  
 
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As someone who has flown a dozen cadets or so under ACTO35 rules this year I feel that we should think again about the way we fly cadets and expand them to Service Flying/Gliding Clubs. Firstly, we need to stop the nonsense about not being able to use public money to fly Air Cadets under ACTO35 - my 30 minute flights cost about 25% of a similar Vigilant flight; now that's a saving. The risk to life sits outside of the military airworthiness chain and then the RAF only own the reputational risk of losing a Cadet in a military sponsored flight. They already do this for Air Cadet flying scholarships. Furthermore, the Service Flying/Gliding Clubs can plug the ridiculous gaps left in coverage by the current AEF/VGS laydown - kids don't want to sit 1-4 hours in a bus to go flying! That means supporting the RAF Air Sports and ensuring that we keep small airstrips open for their operation (rather than sell it all off like is planned at Henlow, Wyton (which has recently started a small grass airstrip in lieu of the large concrete runway that has been sold off) and Halton). There are 13x RAF Flying Clubs, 6x RAF Gliding Clubs and 1x RAF Microlight Club. If all of these flew 300 Cadets per year (to put this into context the Halton Aero Club flew 100 children in an afternoon last summer) then that would see 6,000 Cadets flown. This could easily be extended to 10,000 per year with little effort.

I'm not proposing that this Air Sport activity replaces the 2FTS effort (which wouldn't be hard at present!) but should augment their efforts and that of the AEFs. When I flew this dozen or so youngsters only 1 of them had flown before and they had all been in the Air Cadets for over 2 years (page 44 of their little logbook of achievements). So augmentation to ensure that these Cadets fly has got to happen otherwise it is not just the RAF that will lose out, but British industry and our civil aviation service providers - as the leaders of British Air Power it is our duty to do so for the good of the Service and the Country.

We do nothing and wait for the current proposed solution at our peril.

The B Word
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Old 4th Jan 2017, 06:31
  #3065 (permalink)  
 
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There are about 100 bga clubs, and initially our 'local' ATC talked to us but firstly they didn't seem able to try to make an arrangement for the summer at this time of the year when we are planning our flying and secondly they said only a full cat could fly the cadets, so no chance of any cadets getting flown
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Old 4th Jan 2017, 08:22
  #3066 (permalink)  
 
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To me, the BGA is the answer. Think of the synergy.

(sorry, I'll take a really big spanking for use of a buzz word)
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Old 4th Jan 2017, 10:22
  #3067 (permalink)  
 
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At my club this past year we have flown scouts and many other local organisations wanting to experience gliding flight, but no Air Cadets, who would be the obvious choice for wanting to fly. The Squadrons tell us that they have many willing cadets wanting to take part (with their parents paying) but HQAC have put a block on it!!

Needless to say we have very enthusiastic youngsters appearing at the club who have to deny that they have anything to do with Air Cadets.........What has the world come to, to deny that you are an Air Cadet just so that you can chase your dream of gliding/flying?

Do these VSOs really know (or care) what they have done to Air Cadet gliding these past three years?

Take the gongs away from them and put them out to grass as it is obvious they are unable to manage the current situation!
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Old 4th Jan 2017, 12:35
  #3068 (permalink)  
 
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VSO's

Frelon,
No, they don't. They're so high up they can no longer see people & things below them.
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Old 4th Jan 2017, 12:52
  #3069 (permalink)  
 
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my 30 minute flights cost about 25% of a similar Vigilant flight; now that's a saving.

What is (was) the cost of a Vigilant flight? I have 2500 hours on the things and I've never been told a cost per hour. I'd love to know what my tax rebate (VGS flying) was worth.
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Old 4th Jan 2017, 13:14
  #3070 (permalink)  
 
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Healing the system

Apart from the utter disgrace of all this it has exposed the basic fact that no one at HQ Air Cadets or indeed 2FTS has the slightest idea how to go about getting the situation 'back on line'. The expertise in the VGS system was at Squadron level and they were the only ones who could see how badly supported they had become.
It needed a 'task force' of experienced VGS Squadron commanders to go direct to HQ ATC and tell them 'how it was'.
The service GSA operation has the tech expertise and actual knowledge to assist in this,but the RAF as the 'operator' does not have the people or the will to deal with this situation. With no leadership from the top nothing will change; and unless someone is put in place to get to grips with the operation then it may just as well close. Of course the 'direction' for this should have come from 2 FTS, but as we all know with the wrong person in charge and a total lack of understanding from this operation then there was no hope.
If the current people stay in place then you will have no change, and with a massive retraining and upgrading now required it really does need some firm control and competence from the TOP. I think the old VGS system could be reborn under guidance from the GSA/BGA and then we might get somewhere. Syerston could become a major GSA centre with a proven 'Leader/Instructor' in charge and then we could get back to the well proven system of teaching Cadets, and then letting the keen and capable ones continue to develop into running the organisation as it should. The system worked well and could so again given the chance.
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Old 4th Jan 2017, 15:00
  #3071 (permalink)  
 
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At the moment my RAFFCA club doesn't think it can take under 18s but I've never really found out why. I was originally told 'child protection' so I volunteered to be the child protection officer. But I wonder if it's to do with RAF sport rules? Can under 18s e.g. airmen play in RAF sports?
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Old 4th Jan 2017, 15:48
  #3072 (permalink)  
 
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Halton RAFFCA has flown numerous cadets over the last 6 months.
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Old 4th Jan 2017, 16:57
  #3073 (permalink)  
 
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Well said POBJOY, as to why they have no idea how to get the VGS' running again. Sadly too, a lot of the very experienced people have gone.


At the risk of being called a killjoy, I think that the RAF/GSA/BGA route would be even more of a huge management issue and take light years longer than solving the original problem.


Essentially it would sub-contract out the job of teaching Gliding and flying whether it be conventional and/or motor glider.


Because HQAC are led by people who mainly have NO flying experience they are essentially extremely risk averse. Because of this they would, quite frankly be so scared of any repercussions, that every conceivable risk would induce a nervous breakdown, atrial fibrillation or a cardiac arrest or the like, with the result that even if any limited scheme did surface, it would be so restrictive and so limited that it would be worthless.


At the moment the saga continues without any Ministerial interest, precious little accountability at Defence Select Committee and everyone in HQAC and 2 FTS feeling a bit like an old man in a dark suit who has wetted himself, and who feels warm and comfortable and nobody notices him !


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Old 4th Jan 2017, 18:06
  #3074 (permalink)  
 
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Essentially it would sub-contract out the job of teaching Gliding and flying whether it be conventional and/or motor glider.
However in the UK I think it's fair to say the BGA are the experts in teaching gliding, plus there are many more BGA sites which will reduce the amount of traveling for most cadets. If you want them to learn to glide the BGA route seems the best by far to me, however if you want them to learn to square bash etc. it would be absolutely hopeless!

So let's hear it - what is the real point of ATC gliding? Teaching cadets to fly a glider, or something else hung on a bit of gliding?
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Old 4th Jan 2017, 20:41
  #3075 (permalink)  
 
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As things stand, we can fly children, but we can't train them as they can't be members. My own children fly with me - and occasional friends. So it's OK for occasional experience but doesn't replace glider training.
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Old 4th Jan 2017, 22:23
  #3076 (permalink)  
 
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>What is (was) the cost of a Vigilant flight? I have 2500 hours on the things and I've never been told a cost per hour. I'd love to know what my tax rebate (VGS flying) was worth.<

Back in about 2009 one of the then Trappers told us (after several beers) that it was 525 per hour. At that time a civilian G109 was 70/hr.
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Old 4th Jan 2017, 23:00
  #3077 (permalink)  
 
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As things stand, we can fly children, but we can't train them as they can't be members. My own children fly with me - and occasional friends. So it's OK for occasional experience but doesn't replace glider training.
Not sure who 'we' above refers to. At BGA clubs (or at least at mine) we have junior members training before their 14th birthday so they can go solo at age 14; that would cover ATC Cadet age range. Agreed, with their parent/guardian's permission, but mine had to sign an OK to do anything the ATC thought I should be allowed to, so I was airborne in an Anson aged 13, and flew a Cadet Mk 3 solo aged 16. If an individual club's rules don't allow it, change the rules.
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Old 4th Jan 2017, 23:27
  #3078 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by cats_five View Post
However in the UK I think it's fair to say the BGA are the experts in teaching gliding, plus there are many more BGA sites which will reduce the amount of traveling for most cadets. If you want them to learn to glide the BGA route seems the best by far to me, however if you want them to learn to square bash etc. it would be absolutely hopeless!

So let's hear it - what is the real point of ATC gliding? Teaching cadets to fly a glider, or something else hung on a bit of gliding?
I guess the difference is that air cadet gliding is set up to get as many people as possible experience in the air, whereas BGA gliding is more sports orientated. It's not affordable to teach every cadet to glide anyway so the emphasis is on experience.

Another concern I have (I admit I may be completely wrong here) is that if BGA gliding becomes an official ATC activity then some cadets may be able to "pay to play", you'd be introducing a lot of cadets to a sport that many wouldn't be able to afford.
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Old 4th Jan 2017, 23:41
  #3079 (permalink)  
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>What is (was) the cost of a Vigilant flight? I have 2500 hours on the things and I've never been told a cost per hour. I'd love to know what my tax rebate (VGS flying) was worth.<

Back in about 2009 one of the then Trappers told us (after several beers) that it was 525 per hour. At that time a civilian G109 was 70/hr.
HOW much? And...how??
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Old 5th Jan 2017, 07:06
  #3080 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by veep View Post
I guess the difference is that air cadet gliding is set up to get as many people as possible experience in the air, whereas BGA gliding is more sports orientated. It's not affordable to teach every cadet to glide anyway so the emphasis is on experience.

Another concern I have (I admit I may be completely wrong here) is that if BGA gliding becomes an official ATC activity then some cadets may be able to "pay to play", you'd be introducing a lot of cadets to a sport that many wouldn't be able to afford.
At my club a cadet pays 8.50 for a launch and up to 30 minutes in a club glider. Travel can easily cost more than flying.
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