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Air Cadets grounded?

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Air Cadets grounded?

Old 14th May 2017, 17:58
  #3501 (permalink)  
 
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There is a school that teaches from scratch in DG1000's and your first solo is in a DG 1000.

Which is a quite competent, glider.
If you insist on harking back to the days of wood and canvas you will never get the ATC flying again.
Time has moved on, technology has moved on, sadly, not everyone on this particular thread has.

The old ATC gliding "wings" badge gained by 3 solos in a converted shed is seen by the general gliding community as about as valid as an Egyptian driving license.

Do, please, get with the times.
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Old 14th May 2017, 18:21
  #3502 (permalink)  
 
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The old ATC gliding "wings" badge gained by 3 solos in a converted shed is seen by the general gliding community as about as valid as an Egyptian driving license.
I think your quote shows a profound misunderstanding of what the cadet organization is meant to accomplish.

It is first and foremost an organization to empower youth. It inculcates the core values that form the heart of a civilized society; honesty, courage, team work, personal responsibility, respect for others, and a desire to strive to be a better person.

As it happens I think flying is a uniquely powerful incubator for those attributes. I solo'd Cessna 150 at 16 and like for most young people it was a life altering experience.

A cadet gliding is that experience along with the fact that it takes a team to make it happen. Everyone on that team has responsibilities that have no shyte real safety consequences. Being part of that is a priceless and increasingly rare experience for today's youth.

The hubris in saying that flying a low performance glider is not a worthy activity and that by extension real pilots fly glass superships is one reason why soaring is not attracting many new young members.

The Canadian Air Cadet program gives over 300 young people the basic GPL license every year flying SW 2-33's. It is glider training not soaring training but more than meets the bigger aims of the organizations and introduces many young people to a sport that they might want to continue.
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Old 14th May 2017, 19:02
  #3503 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by POBJOY View Post
Chev That may be true; but for THOUSANDS it was the start of a life in aviation that repaid its costs many fold; plus a great start in 'self development' .
Quite true. Like you I became a staff cadet (613 Halton)
When I presented myself at OASC Biggin Hill for aircrew selection and was told 'no', I elected to try for NATCS.
This resulted in my becoming an Air Traffic Controller with 34 of my 39 years spent at Farnborough which would never have happened had it not been for my cadet experience. At the same time I repaid the ATC for the flying experience at 613 by staying on as adult staff at my ATC Squadron before eventually being transferred to another squadron as CO. When I handed over command to another, I was appointed WGLO until I was unceremoniously 'dumped' by the Wingco after 36 years service because I was only doing WGLO duties every other weekend and not attending the squadron (due to my shiftwork - 6 days on/3 off including weekend duties).
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Old 14th May 2017, 19:03
  #3504 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Big Pistons Forever View Post

The hubris in saying that flying a low performance glider is not a worthy activity and that by extension real pilots fly glass superships is one reason why soaring is not attracting many new young members.
Soaring, is attracting many new, young members.
(according to bga numbers)

Looking after historic relics, is not attracting new, young members.

Today, a DG1000 is a basic trainer.

Kids do not want to learn in wooden sheds with ww2 salvage instruments.
(or tin sheds in Canada)

Gliders have been manufactured in glass since the latter part of last century.

Wooden gliders have a place both in museums and the hands of enthusiasts.
But not in any forward looking training organisation.
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Old 14th May 2017, 19:12
  #3505 (permalink)  
 
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airwave45 - as BPF said, you show a profound misunderstanding of what the cadet organisation is meant to accomplish.
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Old 14th May 2017, 19:43
  #3506 (permalink)  
 
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BPF, spot on. Air Cadet gliding is a mechanism for youth development. In many ways, it is no different to numerous other youth organisations and activities (D of E etc).

Clearly we are all aviators here and we have a special affinity towards flying. However, to me, the strength is the journey and not the destination.
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Old 14th May 2017, 21:03
  #3507 (permalink)  
 
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The SGS 2-33 is the next step up from a 'sledburg' - at least it has a canopy!


If we can't afford DG-1000s or we can't get ASK-21s in significant numbers in time then lower tech makes sense if someone will make them. Otherwise, go down the LSA, Microlight or TMG route.

There has to be an AIR in Air Cadets if we are to deliver air minded young people into the UK's work force. We ignore it at our peril...

However, VGS and AEF are massively expensive now we are 'slaves of Haddon-Cave' in the military. So the best way of fixing this at the lowest possible cost is to sit under the National Governing Bodies as Air Cadet air sports clubs. Quite simply Air Cadet flying is too low a priority within the RAF's wider problems of failing infrastructure, manning shortfalls and expensive equipment plans. The sooner we get on with a plan for the rest of the 21st Century, the better for the Cadets - and no that does not mean 25k a pop computer games! There are already air sports clubs around and the Air Cadets could attach suitably qualified air cadet volunteers to those clubs to provide the Cadet flying function - there are 14 RAF Flying Clubs, 7 RAF Gliding Clubs and 1 RAF Microlight Club for starters, but why not attach to any civvy flying/gliding club? Something has to be done as from my viewpoint the VGS return-to-flight has taken over 3 years so far for a very small amount, and I fear still has a way to go, and the AEF appears to be failing to create the flying rate envisaged over a year ago to take up the VGS slack.

LJ
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Old 14th May 2017, 22:16
  #3508 (permalink)  
 
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Kids do not want to learn in wooden sheds with ww2 salvage instruments.
(or tin sheds in Canada)
My experience is that kids just want to fly and don't really care if their glider can't be used for diamond badge cross countries or Lennie pin attempts.

There have been various discussions over the years about replacing the Canadian Air Cadet fleet with glass ships, but the fact that the SW 2-33 is very safe and simple to fly, can be left tied down outside, and is very easy to maintain has always won out.

Wasn't the whole pause thing caused by the inability to maintain modern glass gliders ? My guess is even the RAF could maintain a simple metal and fabric glider like a 2-33......
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Old 15th May 2017, 07:23
  #3509 (permalink)  
 
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Wasn't the whole pause thing caused by the inability to maintain modern glass gliders ? My guess is even the RAF could maintain a simple metal and fabric glider like a 2-33......
Nothing is airworthy without the correct paperwork, so it doesn't matter what the ATC flew, they would still be in the current pickle.

It is first and foremost an organization to empower youth. It inculcates the core values that form the heart of a civilized society; honesty, courage, team work, personal responsibility, respect for others, and a desire to strive to be a better person.
That might be the intent, but reading the air cadet's online forum gives the impression a lot of them are far from empowered, instead they are concerned about who to salute and when, exactly how to wear badges, and power squabbles.

Learning to play an instrument and joining an ensemble can do everything you reckon the ATC (and presumably other similar organisations) aim to achieve, indeed you need more people working together to form a wind band, not just the half dozen or fewer required to run an airfield. However since the ATC stop gliding for most at the equivalent of being able to play a basic scale it would be a grossly dispiriting exercise.
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Old 15th May 2017, 07:58
  #3510 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by POBJOY View Post


I always though AEF should have been in a four seater so more cadets got even more flying plus the chance to get started on map reading from the air.
It was at 5AEF in the Husky... my first AEF trip was in said machine
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Old 15th May 2017, 09:14
  #3511 (permalink)  
 
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Perhaps I could offer a couple of points here:

Firstly, the issue of what type of aircraft the ATC should operate is a secondary one as long as the RAF and the MoD continue to struggle to operate within their own rules. Wood, fabric, glass or metal, as long as they can't fly civilian schoolchildren within the regulations and standards set by the MAA they are going to go out of business.

Remember that the development of the MAA and the preparation of MAA regs have been closely controlled by RAF senior officers. The MAA regs, and this has been a constant refrain, don't impose new requirements as far as basic airworthiness management goes. Any competent procurement or maintenance organisation can meet them, albeit with a heavier management overhead. The RAF aren't 'slaves' to the MAA or the regs. The key issue is whether the RAF and the MoD are actually 'competent' to manage airworthiness.

If they're not (and I'd suggest that the evidence is stacking up that in at least some areas they aren't) that's a bit of an issue. Not only for the schoolchildren being taken up into the sky, but for anyone operating RAF aircraft.

As a former Air Cadet, who was and remains eternally grateful for the opportunities and training the ATC gave me, I would add that (in my view at least) the ATC is primarily a recruiting tool for the RAF - that's why the RAF spends scarce taxpayers' monies on it. Yes, there are all sorts of excellent benefits for the cadets, not least in developing valuable life skills, but the core reason for the ATC's existence is to encourage young people to think about a career in the RAF. That's not a bad thing - I think young people should consider careers in the RAF. I just wonder whether the monies being chucked by the RAF at the ATC to dig it out of the hole it got into represents a good return on investment.

Not to mention the reputational risk of flying kids around in non-airworthy aircraft.

Best regards as ever to all those doing the valuable work with the kids,

Engines
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Old 15th May 2017, 10:42
  #3512 (permalink)  
 
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Well said Engines.
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Old 15th May 2017, 11:20
  #3513 (permalink)  
 
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Engines

As always, your posts are full of useful and insightful information and you are spot on.

I think it's fair to say that in the past the RAF saw the ATC as a very useful recruiting tool and that about 60% of it's ground staff came via that route and about 75% of aircrew. However nowadays the RAF has not really got a need for the numbers of recruits that the ATC produces (produced). On that basis it's not such an important place to start.

The ATC is however the public face of the RAF with many people more likely to see an ATC Cadet than a full blown serviceman so as a PR tool it's great and good value.

During my last stint with the ATC there was a lot of talk about the Cadet Forces being classed as 'Fabric of Society' rather than 'Military' and on that basis, the MoD/RAF was trying to get funding supplied by the Home Office rather than from the Defence Budget. I believe that ultimately this 'angle' fizzled out before any money changed hands.

On the other point people are raising, the old wood/fabric gliders were maintained in a different maintenance regime that that currently operated. The aircraft were maintained by RAF Tradesmen, using proven documentation, audit trail and management practices. That is why it was successful for a long time. When the GRP gliders arrived the RAF was the first to hold up it's hands and admit it had no specialist skills in that area. Rather than train tradesmen, they chose (with some political pressure no doubt) to outsource the work and skills. They thought that by doing this they would achieve 3 things:

1. Not have to introduce what they saw (wrongly IMHO) a niche airframe skill (GRP Composites) or Trade Group
2. Reduce the cost by not having to maintain a repair organization themselves
3. Abstract themselves away from any risk associated with maintaining the GRP airframes by passing it to a third party (classic strategy)

Where they failed was in not making themselves an 'educated customer' and in not having a robust audit programme that was overseen by the 'educated customer'. The impact of that is what we see today.

Big Pistons Forever.......

I also agree with what you are saying in the thread above, Cadets don't care about what they fly in. The old T31 and T21 were ideal for what was being taught. The Cadet enjoys the learning process, they have time with like minded people in a managed and disciplined way and they make new friends. At the end they come away with a new skill and feeling of a achievement................... what not to like ??

Lastly, I will always be grateful for the start that the ATC gave me to my life - and I think it continues with me in my day-to-day activities and attitudes I am sure............

Best regards as ever to all those with resin and flock on their hands

Arc
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Old 15th May 2017, 11:34
  #3514 (permalink)  
 
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competence

Engines The simple truth is that the RAF are no longer competent to organise themselves for tech matters.
They do not have an 'in house' ability at the top level and are paying the price for the rush to 'outsource' everything (including the control)

I think the ATC has become a useful 'home' for career types that have lost the normal path and as usual the 'volunteers' at Squadron level have a difficult job trying to 'enthuse' the 'AIR' side of the organisation which has faded away.

The money that is poured into the organisation does not represent a good value on return if compared with providing the 'AIR' element.

That is not take away the other youth elements that are on offer, but I suspect we are loosing those that could get involved with aviation based on enthusiasm rather than affordability.

It matters not what material a basic aircraft is made from, as the 'experience' of flight at an early age is the factor that remains with the person rather than its technology. I would even suggest that a rocket like winch launch sitting in an airborne (very) open cockpit takes some beating for a youngster.

Last edited by POBJOY; 15th May 2017 at 19:43.
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Old 15th May 2017, 11:34
  #3515 (permalink)  
 
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Arc,

Thanks for coming back - I'd like to respond if I might.

The RAF were very well able to maintain GRP airframes in the 90s. I was working in the field of NDT in the 80s, and remember the large sums being spent by the RAF on developing their ability to assess and repair composite structures, ranging from GRP to carbon and other materials. I went on RAF courses, with Group Captains and Wing Commanders telling us how they were leading the UK military's programmes for developing composite repair skills. I also remember seeing very expensively bought specialist GRP repair equipment.

I absolutely agree that there was no need to create a new trade to repair GRP. You simply provide the specialist training to the existing tradesmen. And they don't have to be airframe trade. I encountered a number of RAF weapons trade personnel who'd been trained up to repair GRP components in the late 90s.

The problems encountered by the ATC seem to be less about GRP hands on repair skills and a lot more about basic failures in the procurement and airworthiness management of the ATC glider fleet. That's where the focus needs to stay (in my view) .

Pobjoy, the RAF's VSOs have no choice on airworthiness. They are accountable, in law, for the safe operation of their aircraft. If they haven't organised themselves and their service to do that, they need to act now and quickly. Sadly, so far, they have managed to keep their failures under wraps. Hopefully, forums like this can help expose them. Let me be clear once again - I worked with the RAF for many years, and was always impressed by the dedication and expertise of their engineers, especially at SO1 level and below, and also of their technicians, many of whom were simply outstanding. The RAF's problems, (just my view) are the result of failings in culture and organisation at the higher levels.

Regards ever to all those having to fix this lot,

Engines

Last edited by Engines; 15th May 2017 at 17:01.
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Old 15th May 2017, 12:29
  #3516 (permalink)  
 
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If I might just offer a word of support for Engines, as memories fade with time; mine more than his. I know and see regularly the long-retired RAF officer who "trained the trainers" before introduction of these aircraft. He did the same job on Chinook HC Mk2 in 1992, being the officer who first reported that Boeing hadn't a clue about FADEC. In retirement he spent much of his time with the ATC and remains distraught at this debacle.

Engines, their failures are no longer entirely under wraps! Names have been published.
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Old 15th May 2017, 14:59
  #3517 (permalink)  
 
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As a "new boy" here I am a little nervous about expressing my opinions in such august company, but perhaps I may be allowed a word or two.
Like many others I was deeply involved in Air Cadet gliding for decades, as well as flying BGA gliders, civilian microlights and light aircraft. In recent years I joined a local syndicate and have since spent many happy hours flying C42, Eurostar, A22 Foxbat and TL2000 S3 Sting aircraft. Of all these I would suggest that the Sting S4, with a dual-throttle mod. and ballistic parachute would be near ideal for cadet flying with the A22LS Foxbat (again with ballistic 'chute) running it a close second.
However after seeing at first hand the omni-shambles known as the "pause" I will not be holding my breath waiting for any good news on this particular front!
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Old 15th May 2017, 16:47
  #3518 (permalink)  
 
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Engines

I hope you were impressed by the dedication of the engineers, rather than their decimation!
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Old 15th May 2017, 17:02
  #3519 (permalink)  
 
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Inno,

Thanks for the correction. Apologies to all for my p**s poor typing and over reliance on spell check! Most of all, apologies to my many ex-RAF friends for failing to properly express my admiration for their professionalism.

Off to boil my head

Engines
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Old 15th May 2017, 19:14
  #3520 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
We did this at Halton, first in Cyclone AX3s then Chevvron 2-32Cs. The cadets loved it.
Even did about 20 microlight flying scholarships for 'Restricted' PPL(M)s (as they used to be called) using the Chevvrons
How did you find teaching in the Chevvron with it's central control column and drag flap lever left seat only?
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