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Air Cadets grounded?

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Air Cadets grounded?

Old 3rd Dec 2017, 21:53
  #3681 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by A and C View Post
Back in the 80ís & 90ís I did some composite repair courses, these courses had been based on data from heavy aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing and are totaly unsuitable for primary structure repair in gliders. I have to ask if these composite repair courses you talk of were gilder specific or generic ?
A&C - Firstly, my sincere apologies for taking so long to reply - I've been on a short break and haven't been checking PPRuNe thoroughly for a while now.

The composite repair courses I attended were associated with the Swanton Morley based NDT course I was doing back then. The (excellent) techs at the NDT school were working on how to check composite structures and any repairs to them - this was aimed (at the time) mainly at the GR5 wing, but as good people, they were making sure that they understood the wide range of potential composite structures and repairs that the NDT techs might encounter. So, no, the courses weren't glider specific.

I do know that other special composite repair courses were being delivered to the RAF, both generic and type specific. I sat through any number of presentations from senior RAF engineers setting the courses out and telling the RN how far ahead the RAF was in being able to repair and test composite structures.

As far as the RN was concerned, their artificers were being trained on both generic and specific repairs for composites, starting around 1982 with the arrival of the first composite Main Rotor Blades on Sea King and other composite items planned for incoming aircraft.

As an Air Engineer Officer, I was extensively trained on composite technology and applications, as well as repair principles, so that I could properly direct and manage my skilled workforce.

Of course, all these courses were designed to allow us to carry out the approved schemes set out in the Repair Manuals, using the composite repair kits that arrived with the composite structures. If, in emergency, we had to carry out a non-standard composite repair, we would have been expected to scheme it, seek approval from our Engineering Authority (who would have got approval from the DA) and then carry it out, making sure that it was fully recorded on the Airframe Log Card as well as the Work Orders.

The point I've laboured here for some time, and I make no apologies for repeating it, is that it appears probable that the RAF introduced a large fleet of composite aircraft with inadequate support arrangements. Moreover, there appears to have been institutional failings in the management of the maintenance of the ATC fleet. This is now being (successfully) covered up.

It's a scandal, and should not stand.

Best regards as ever to those sorting this out at the coal face - they don't deserve this.

Engines
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Old 4th Dec 2017, 09:23
  #3682 (permalink)  
 
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Putting it clearly......

As ever "Engines" - a clearly expressed statement. I'm worried that now they have started to dribble a few Viking Gliders back into the air, and we have about three Vigilants at Topcliffe, that the major scandal has been largely and successfully covered up, despite the fact that a lot of the Vigilant fleet is STILL today languishing in redundant VGS Hangar space, waiting for some mysterious contractor to come and de-rig, to transport them back to Grob in Germany completely free of charge to Grob, where they will be re-worked to MkII standard including new engines and glass cockpit, prepared for sale to another Air Force !!!


A lot has been said about responsibility of contractors in the lack of skilled oversight of this whole GRP fleet from the date of change from RAF Eng maintenance. However, as the problems of oversight, repair and design authority for repair schemes was there from inception circa 1990, we have heard NOTHING from anyone about how this is to be investigated and begin a process of holding accountable those responsible for the mess that was created by total ignorance and incompetence.


We now need to motivate some of our MP's to develop a non-BREXIT hobby, to begin placing some very pointed and very knowledgeable questions in the appropriate committee's of the house, starting with the Chair of the Defence Committee, and perhaps one of the expenditure committees, to shake out and force out a more taxpayer accountable version of the total failure to look after what was a brand new fleet of aircraft in 1990.


Is it not possible for knowledgeable people within our forum to draft some equally competent parliamentary questions and evidence that will cause a bit of fluidity in the bowels of ex RAF Snr Officers who operated within the safety of RAF Cranwell HQAC and other places ????
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Old 4th Dec 2017, 16:13
  #3683 (permalink)  
 
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Hear hear! I couldn't help pointing out in my recent air test of the T-61F Venture T2 that although most of the Vigilants (which replaced the Venture) are grounded, most of the Ventures are airworthy!!
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Old 5th Dec 2017, 10:18
  #3684 (permalink)  
 
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I really can't see anyone in Parliament having any appetite for opening up an investigation into something 27 years old that affects none of their constituents.........
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Old 5th Dec 2017, 10:29
  #3685 (permalink)  
 
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Angry Everyone who pays taxes should take notice !

Originally Posted by Heathrow Harry View Post
I really can't see anyone in Parliament having any appetite for opening up an investigation into something 27 years old that affects none of their constituents.........


That's the nub of a lot of problems in this country, taxpayer apathy until some issue directly hits them !
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Old 5th Dec 2017, 11:48
  #3686 (permalink)  
 
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ATFQ re: post #3673

After I had trawled through rafts of drivel on that Twitter thread I found the video clip.

It is indeed good news to see someone going first solo, the sad elements to this are that what was such a relatively routine item gets such massive publicity, and also that when I was on the VGS's this was a routine event, usually first solo's at least once every weekend on every VGS and on courses quite often at least one every day..........

congratulations to that individual in the video though...........

Arc
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Old 5th Dec 2017, 13:35
  #3687 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Arclite01 View Post
ATFQ re: post #3673

After I had trawled through rafts of drivel on that Twitter thread I found the video clip.

It is indeed good news to see someone going first solo, the sad elements to this are that what was such a relatively routine item gets such massive publicity, and also that when I was on the VGS's this was a routine event, usually first solo's at least once every weekend on every VGS and on courses quite often at least one every day..........

congratulations to that individual in the video though...........

Arc
When I did Admin Officer on a Vigilant course at 637, we did more than one a day from about wednesday.
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Old 5th Dec 2017, 14:32
  #3688 (permalink)  
 
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Arclite, Well said.............I'd love to see the stats after they have been running a year and do a comparison with 5 or 10 yrs ago !
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Old 5th Dec 2017, 16:30
  #3689 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ATFQ View Post
A and C,

Should we now not be focusing on returning cadets to flying in the completely refurbished aircraft that we are now operating, albeit in relatively small but growing numbers. That first solos are again becoming the norm should at least be welcomed.
That might be pushing the definition of 'completely refurbished' - from what I've heard it's £100k plus per airframe including Southern Sailplanes cutting out and redoing undocumented repairs and an exercise to identify and document (but not fully repair) skin cracks. Now extrapolate that for the portion of the fleet that they aim to put through the process. Three years and counting, millions of pounds of public money spent and there's just a handful of aircraft with patchy servicability and precious few cadets airborne to show for it.
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Old 5th Dec 2017, 19:47
  #3690 (permalink)  
 
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And 3.5 years since the first post on this thread - I presume that they have still not ordered any new gliders .
Nothing like having any sort of fleet replacement plan is it ?
They would have been 3.5 years into the 5 year waiting list and it would probably have been cheaper to buy new a/c !
I know what some posters will say but at the end of the day they will have to replace the fleet eventually or just stop cadet flying permanently.
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Old 5th Dec 2017, 20:31
  #3691 (permalink)  
 
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Canconym

You have pasted a quote that seems to be from me. It is not something I have said so please could you remove and reference to me in that quote.

Thank you.
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Old 5th Dec 2017, 20:50
  #3692 (permalink)  
 
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-longer-ron

The glider industry is a small one and the manufacturers are not able to deliver large quantities of aircraft, I would guess 5-7 a year is the delivery rate on new gliders is the best the RAF could expect.

The problem is the surge in demand canít be met without increasing staff, training those staff, blocking orders from other customers and paying large EU redundancy packages to those workers you lay off at the end of the production surge.

So as a business proposal itís not a very good one, not surprising that the manufacturers are staying away in droves!
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Old 5th Dec 2017, 20:59
  #3693 (permalink)  
 
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Agreed - but the problem does not go away !
Other countries have 'managed' their fleets !
So 5 years at least down the line for delivery and still not counting (if you see what I am getting at )
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Old 5th Dec 2017, 21:07
  #3694 (permalink)  
 
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As with many of my posts on this thread, I have to start by saying that I was in the ATC and got a little gliding in at Manston in the late 60s and early 70s.

Before we start looking at how to replace the fleet, I do wonder why the RAF has to own what appears to be the world's largest fleet of publicly funded gliders. (Happy to be proved wrong here, by the way). I honestly can't see the justification, especially in these financially challenged times for defence. It's been justified as a recruiting tool and also a way of promoting 'air mindedness', as well as the RAF itself, but honestly I think its time is done.

I'd be as sad as many others to see it go,and I know that, in the past, the ATC has done great things for many young people. But, in my view, the RAF has shown that it's not especially good at providing airworthy aircraft for young civilians to fly in. Those serving can accept the risk - I wonder whether the RAF's dismal track record with this fleet poses an unacceptable level of risk for any new fleet.

And please, spare me the 'we've learned lots of lessons and we have made many changes designed to make sure that this doesn't happen again'. Or even worse, 'now we have the MAA this can't happen again'.

Here's the question - would you let your child fly in an RAF maintained glider?. I wouldn't. I wouldn't fly in one myself. Sorry to those working with the aircraft now, but I just think this whole thing has gone too far over the edge.

Best regards as ever to those charged with trying to sort out things,

Engines
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Old 5th Dec 2017, 21:14
  #3695 (permalink)  
 
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Longer ron

There is a way forward and I think it will go something like this........

The air cadet flying will get rolled into one contract, once there is a fleet of gliders to maintain (40+ and rising ) a competition for a contract to maintain & run the current fleet of gliders & powered aircraft, a phased replacement of the gliders would be part of this contract.
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Old 6th Dec 2017, 05:19
  #3696 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by longer ron View Post
And 3.5 years since the first post on this thread - I presume that they have still not ordered any new gliders .
Nothing like having any sort of fleet replacement plan is it ?
They would have been 3.5 years into the 5 year waiting list and it would probably have been cheaper to buy new a/c !
I know what some posters will say but at the end of the day they will have to replace the fleet eventually or just stop cadet flying permanently.
When the pound was very strong back in 2015 a new k21 was about £100k once all addons were included - flying instruments for example. The £ has fallen since then. As far as I know the gliders are low hours, but it seems to have taken an inordinate length of time to decide what to do and who will do it. Also just as building gliders is effectively a cottage industry so is inspecting and repairing them.
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Old 6th Dec 2017, 08:26
  #3697 (permalink)  
 
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Always going to be a 'drip fed' delivery with (say) K21's,but somebody with a brain might start ordering and then put the new ones into storage for a while until sufficient numbers are available to use by a couple of units.
Conversion to (say) K21's would not be difficult as they are easy to fly.

rgds LR

PS forgot to add - they could be bog standard airframes on civvy reg as well.
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Old 6th Dec 2017, 11:50
  #3698 (permalink)  
 
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Longer ron

Operation on the civilian register is not avalable to Aircraft that are used exclusively by the military.

The UK CAA is unhappy with the Grob Tutor operation and this is likely to leave the civil register soon.

This will require a move from EASA 145 oversight to MAA oversight along with the costs involved.
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Old 6th Dec 2017, 11:50
  #3699 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by longer ron View Post
Always going to be a 'drip fed' delivery with (say) K21's,but somebody with a brain might start ordering and then put the new ones into storage for a while until sufficient numbers are available to use by a couple of units.
Conversion to (say) K21's would not be difficult as they are easy to fly.

rgds LR

PS forgot to add - they could be bog standard airframes on civvy reg as well.
The airframes for the current gliders should have been bog standard.

But why put new gliders into storage? The problem is it will be a very slow drip - 1 or 2 per year.
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Old 6th Dec 2017, 11:50
  #3700 (permalink)  
 
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@Chevvron

I meant 1 a day 'average' on the courses, agreed that most went from Wednesday onwards as exercises were completed...............

Usually we had between 8 and 12 students on a weekly course. I think 90% of those flew solo in the week, the remainder either didn't make the required standard to go solo or returned to us to complete (if they lived locally) or were passed to their nearest VGS to complete if they did not live local and were beaten by weather for instance.........

Overall I would say 97% of the starters were finishers............. that's a pretty good conversion rate.

@Longer Ron

I agree with all you are saying 100%. My opinion of the suitability of the K21 is well documented here elsewhere on the thread.......although I still feel that the K13 would be even better

Best wishes for christmas in Bonnie Scotland...............

Arc
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