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Air Cadets grounded?

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Air Cadets grounded?

Old 8th Jan 2017, 10:35
  #3121 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
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How many hours a year (on average) did the ATC gliders fly?

Locally with two Vigilants 600 GICs (20 min flt) and 50 Gliding Scholorships (minimum 8 hrs ) annually, also tasked for providing around 30-50 GICs per week for 3-4 weeks annual camp at Aldergrove, this was done on weekday evenings.
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Old 8th Jan 2017, 13:47
  #3122 (permalink)  
 
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I have never suggested that the BGA would be able to replace the entire VGS structure with no changes or extra resources. I have simply suggested that the way Air Cadets in Australia glide alongside both clubs and airforce venues works, at the civilian clubs they bring the cadet aircraft as well as borrow some civvie club aircraft for the week, they sometimes even bring their own tug to provide extra capacity. The results have been fantastic with many young people becoming instructors supporting their local gliding club as well as their air cadet gliding unit.

This model won't fit perfectly everywhere, but it has been tried, Portmoak used to hold VGS weeks where the VGSs brought their own gliders and winch to operate, I didn't hear of any major implications to the club.

As for capacity, the volunteer gliding squadrons currently and for many for the foreseeable future (in this third year) have no capacity because no one is flying other than a few bods at Syerston and elsewhere trying to get seriously under-current staff back to some sort of level to fly, letalone teach.

So whatever capacity the BGA can provide should be welcomed with open arms, not bureaucracy where the few senior instructors of each club are the only trusted to fly with cadets, it's the cadets that suffer at the end of the day from the bureaucracy, not the clubs.
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Old 8th Jan 2017, 14:50
  #3123 (permalink)  
 
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B Word,

I'd like to offer a response to your post of yesterday, where you mentioned the:

"ridiculous over-engineering and regulatory shackles of MAA land"

and said that:

"MAA regs were written for high performance war fighting jets and helos - you couldn't get any further away with a Grob 115E, a Grob 109 or a Grob Acro..."

I'd be the last person to defend the MAA - I firmly believe that their approach to the business of regulating military aircraft has been frankly poor, and has led to a loss of emphasis on the key elements of airworthiness. I really do understand your frustration.

But the problem that has afflicted the ATC glider fleet is not the MAA regulations. The grounding of this fleet of aircraft (and that's what is it - not some 'pause' nonsense) is down to basic failures to implement existing pre-MAA regulations between the mid 90s and 2014, when the whole cart came off the rails. The MoD and the RAF have failed to get anywhere near the standard of professionalism and basic competence required to bring simple aircraft into service on the military aircraft register.

Let's be clear - the RAF has been flying civilian school children in aircraft that were not safe. They were not safe because the MoD and the RAF chose not to carry out the very basic, straightforward, simple, well known (I've run out of adjectives here, but you get the point) procedures required to purchase aircraft and operate them in a safe manner. As the whole issue is being (conveniently) held under a cloud, let me offer, once more, a list of my guesses (and that's all they are) as to what they have failed to do:

1. Define the build standard of the aircraft being purchased
2. Contract with a fully authorised Aircraft Design Organisation (ADO)
3. Provide the repair manuals required to support the aircraft
4. Issue a legal RTS
5. Control the sub-contracted maintenance of the fleet
6. Carry out adequate QA checks of the aircraft
7. Carry out adequate QA checks of the documentation
8. Properly control modifications

Please note, all of this predates the establishment of the MAA.

Who's responsible? Start with the people who signed off the RTS, and make sure you give your senior air engineers a good kicking on the way past. And let's start getting this whole sorry mess pulled out into the open. If whistleblowing is what it takes, then let's get leaking.

Very Best Regards as ever to those who are now picking up the pieces,

Engines
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Old 8th Jan 2017, 15:41
  #3124 (permalink)  
 
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CCF cadets did GS on continuous courses - mostly, our local VGS let us take up any slack in weekend courses where possible. The issue was that any CCF cadet selected for AGT would time out before they were qualified to instruct. In 14 years I've only had one selected, and as a boarder he had to turn it down as he didn't live close enough to get there in the holidays (and had school on Saturdays).

With CEP more CCF cadets will be in state day schools and if they live close enough then this might be a realistic option, but they'd have to join the ATC when they left school so they might as well join now...
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Old 8th Jan 2017, 16:32
  #3125 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Engines
Let's be clear - the RAF has been flying civilian school children in aircraft that were not safe.
They never looked or felt unsafe to fly and seem to have had a fairly good safety record.....was that down to luck?
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Old 8th Jan 2017, 16:40
  #3126 (permalink)  
 
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I think a better phrase would be 'the RAF couldn't demonstrate they were safe'.
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Old 8th Jan 2017, 17:05
  #3127 (permalink)  
 
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Cows, Boswell,

I'd like to come back here - I think there's an important point to be understood.

When I say 'not safe', I mean that the aircraft weren't airworthy. There are lots of other components of what's now called 'air safety', including safe operation, correct handling, good SOPs, etc. I know that the RAF are one of the best organisations in the world at developing and ensuring safe operation of their aircraft. But if the aircraft's not airworthy, then one of your pillars of safety is gone.

And if the RAF can't demonstrate that these gliders are airworthy, then they're not airworthy. Why? Because one of the foundations of airworthiness is the maintenance of an auditable set of documentation that shows that the aircraft you brought into service was safe by design, that you've kept it at a safe standard, including maintenance and repairs. You're keeping the safety case valid.

Maintaining auditable airworthiness is important not because 'you might get done in court' but because the very process of maintaining those records, recording maintenance and repairs and keeping that safety case valid will give you warning of impending problems. Very often, the aircraft won't. And aircraft often give all the appearances of being 'safe' until they fall out of the sky.

So, when you have non-recorded repairs, failures of supervision of maintenance, and what looks like a failure to maintain a proper ADO in place, you are, by definition, damaging the airworthiness of your fleet.

So, perhaps I could more clearly put it this way - the RAF have been flying children in aircraft that weren't procured, supported and maintained as required by their own regulations. As a result, the RAF are unable to declare these aircraft 'airworthy'. They are therefore non-airworthy. And that, people, means that they aren't 'safe'.

Best Regards as ever to those rebuilding the airworthiness trail,

Engines
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Old 8th Jan 2017, 17:49
  #3128 (permalink)  
 
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Engines, I agree with absolutely everything you say apart from your "And that, people, means that they aren't 'safe'" bit.

Airworthiness confirms a level of safety. The lack of airworthiness, in itself, doesn't automatically mean that a system is unsafe. For sure, there is a much increased likelihood and undoubtedly an un-airworthy aircraft is less safe than an airworthy one but it may well still be (acceptably) safe; we just wouldn't have the ability to make such an assertion.
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Old 8th Jan 2017, 18:42
  #3129 (permalink)  
 
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Cows,

I sincerely apologise for not making myself sufficiently clear here. We're in some danger of getting into a conversation about 'airworthiness' and 'safety' thats been had many time in many other threads on PPRuNe, and that's my fault entirely. Please let me try to put it more clearly.

'Airworthiness' doesn't just 'confirm a level of safety'. It's one of the key pillars of what the MAA chose to call 'air safety'. If an aircraft's not 'airworthy', then by definition, it's not 'safe'.

Moreover, 'airworthiness' isn't the processes and activities us engineers carry out - it's the end result. That end result includes:

An aircraft at a known and understood configuration
An approved statement of operating intent and usage
A safety case, underpinned by evidence and declarations from the ADO and independent test and verification that shows that the risk of accident or failure during operation is acceptable
An RTS built on these documented outputs that clears the aircraft for service
Maintenance procedures and processes that keep the aircraft airworthy in service
A system that keeps these documents up to date as the aircraft configuration changes

I'm sorry, but an 'un-airworthy aircraft' (one that doesn't have the above outputs) simply can't ever be 'acceptably safe'. Put another way, if you can't prove that an aircraft is 'airworthy', you simply cannot state it's safe for service. This is the issue at the heart of many accidents - RTS's have been signed off without the evidence to support them.

Can I please offer a thought here - achieving 'airworthiness' isn't some arcane, complex and bureaucratic process that only engineers get worked up over and never really ends. It's a relatively straightforward and clear process, which gets done all the time by many nations and services. For a fleet of gliders, it should have been a walk in the park. The fact that the MoD and the RAF between them haven't been able to achieve this is, in my view (and I know others will disagree) the big issue here.

Best Regards as ever to those working to make airworthy aircraft for our aircrew and passengers, wherever they are...

Engines
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Old 8th Jan 2017, 21:18
  #3130 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by RUCAWO View Post
How many hours a year (on average) did the ATC gliders fly?

Locally with two Vigilants 600 GICs (20 min flt) and 50 Gliding Scholorships (minimum 8 hrs ) annually, also tasked for providing around 30-50 GICs per week for 3-4 weeks annual camp at Aldergrove, this was done on weekday evenings.
So how many hours per year per glider is that, on average? I could list what our club 2-seat gliders fly, but 500 hours per year each is the number. Our 2-seaters fly every flyable day of the year, and in the evening as well during summer.
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Old 8th Jan 2017, 21:21
  #3131 (permalink)  
 
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Engines, thanks, and at present the gliders wouldn't be considered airworthy for the g register either.
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Old 8th Jan 2017, 21:29
  #3132 (permalink)  
 
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Say 200 Hrs standard GIC, plus 400 hrs average with the GS then add staff training probably 350 hrs annually each aircraft, operating weekends (into evenings as far as light and crew availability allow)and maybe 3-4 full week GS courses ,one at Xmas, one Easter two summer.
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Old 8th Jan 2017, 22:58
  #3133 (permalink)  
 
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Cows & Engines.... the syndicate I'm a member of have been operating a civvie G109B for a number of years to BGA standards. I'm happy to fly that and this hasn't AFAIK, been operated to any sort of MAA regulations as there is no need to.

Being selfish I guess I should be glad that the civvie market won't be flooded by a mass of ex-ATC Vigilants but on the other hand, it does make any chance of a 'cheap' Rotax engine upgrade unlikely!
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Old 9th Jan 2017, 06:29
  #3134 (permalink)  
 
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I was a Staff Cadet and P2 Grade pilot in the days of Sedburghs and Mk 3s. In those days (late 60s) MGSP or Mobile Glider Servicing Party, a group of RAF airmen technicians, would tour round the gliding schools on weekdays carrying out minor repairs, plus minor mods etc, even Minor or Minor* services and all went well.
This all changed of course when 'glass' ships replaced the 'wood and fabric' designs which just seemed to plod on and on.
The 'glass' ships which replaced the older designs were 'off the shelf' but ask yourselves, were they really suited to Air Cadet gliding, which required the VGS' and the Gliding Centres (there were 2 before they amalgamated to form CGS) to get as many cadets as possible to solo standard in an efficient manner ie as short as time as was safely possible.
I have no experience of a Viking equipped VGS but I would bet this took longer than it did at a Sedburgh/Mk3 VGS.
So was it really a good idea to replace 'basic' gliders with machines of much higher performance? On top of this, take away the ability of the RAF to service, maintain and keep comprehensive records of these new aircraft?
As I've said before in this thread (and I'm rather surprised no-one has taken me to task over it) it needs someone to produce a low performance glider suited to Air Cadet gliding needs rather than an 'off the shelf' product meant for soaring and long distance competitions.
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Old 9th Jan 2017, 09:33
  #3135 (permalink)  
 
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Chev

The correct aeroplane was there all along - the ASK13 - it had mid range performance, a closed canopy, would have fitted the maintenance model, was the right price and would still have been in service today with no issues................ it was even in licence production with Jubi as well as Scheicher themselves. Note that a ready spares pipeline would be available as Scheicher are still trading (strongly) today (unlike Grob).

No idea why we never brought it.

Arc
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Old 9th Jan 2017, 12:12
  #3136 (permalink)  
 
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Chev

The correct aeroplane was there all along - the ASK13 - it had mid range performance, a closed canopy, would have fitted the maintenance model, was the right price and would still have been in service today with no issues................ it was even in licence production with Jubi as well as Scheicher themselves. Note that a ready spares pipeline would be available as Scheicher are still trading (strongly) today (unlike Grob).

No idea why we never brought it.

Arc

The A/C type is irrelevant - if we'd bought them they'd be grounded too for the same reasons
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Old 9th Jan 2017, 12:12
  #3137 (permalink)  
 
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Arc

I take your point, but as the RAF had decided to phase out the fabric and wood trades - to the point where the RAF Museum technicians had to train BBMF technicians in fabric work - would the Ka13 have ended up being maintained by contractors?
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Old 9th Jan 2017, 14:08
  #3138 (permalink)  
 
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The A/C type is irrelevant - if we'd bought them [K13s] they'd be grounded too for the same reasons
Probably, and it could be even worse - quite a few are being grounded permanently with glue problems. Also they may not be suitable for a big porky P2 and a big porky P1 and they might have made the same sort of demands that meant they didn't get K21s.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schleicher_ASK_13

Empty weight: 295 kg (650 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 480 kg (1,058 lb)
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Old 9th Jan 2017, 14:10
  #3139 (permalink)  
 
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Shaft 109 - I just answered the question from Chev. Maybe they would still be grounded maybe not.............

Innominate - the Maintenance model may or may not have changed I'm not sure. The trades were phased out because once the wood gliders had gone there was no real ongoing requirement to continue training people in those trades. Had the choice been made to continue with the wood/fabric/steel tube/fibre glass K13 then probably the trades would have continued (albeit in a reduced way) because the demand would have still been there. Government Policy was to outsource services where possible and maybe this would have fallen into that category anyway........................ so regardless of what the end airframe product had been I doubt that the old (efficient and proven quality) repair and maintenance model would have survived.

I do remember being at Syerston when MGSP existed and then when it became CGMF and ultimately contractorised. No one that I spoke to felt it was a good move particularly as I recall............... but it happened anyway. And now we reap the fallout. 1000's saved and 100'000's wasted...........and a fleet of (currently) useless aircraft.

IMHO Contractorisation is rarely about quality, but usually about saving or in most cases about passing responsibility for the end product to someone else so that if it goes 'belly up' they can say 'not my responsibility'. Standard risk Management has mitigations:

1. Avoid
2. Reduce
3. Transfer
4. Accept

We have focused on 1 and 3, not bothered with 2 and absolutely run away from 4.

Arc
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Old 9th Jan 2017, 17:28
  #3140 (permalink)  
 
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Shaft 109 - I just answered the question from Chev. Maybe they would still be grounded maybe not.............
Regardless of the trades, the paperwork is in a guddle (which is where the lack of airworthiness comes from) and I doubt that would have been any better had they brought K13s.
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