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Air Cadets grounded?

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Air Cadets grounded?

Old 6th Dec 2017, 11:23
  #3701 (permalink)  
 
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@ Cats5

Military flying operations usually re-equip with a type at a time so that standardisation/conversion training can be carried out in a structured way.

I think Longer Ron was inferring that store enough to re-equip a unit at a time..........

Actually, since the precedent has been set with MOD buying Vigilants from the civil register to top up the declining or insufficient numbers of new purchased aircraft there would be nothing to stop them buying a mix of civil registered K21 and new builds to make up the numbers more quickly.........., a refurb of second hand aeroplanes would be cheaper - especially if it was done by people who knew what they were doing..............

If there was a real interest in doing it that way I think that there could be 3 or 4 VGS units re-equipped within 24 months............

My personal view now is that the longer term plan from those at the top (I use the term loosely) is to cease VGS Ops altogether - maybe replace it with a bit of 'lightweight' Civilian gliding on an 'ad -hoc' basis maybe through the RAFGSA (although they too, are a pale shadow of their former selves).

Arc
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Old 6th Dec 2017, 15:21
  #3702 (permalink)  
Olympia 463
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Well as a retired civilian gliding instructor, who was trained on a T31, and ended up teaching on the K13, I am not so sure that for ATC purposes you need an expensive kite like the ASK21. I have flown the 21 (in 2007 - to see if gliding was like roller skating, something you never forget) and I admit it is a magnificent trainer but it is GLASS with all the attendant problems you get with repairs. The good old K13 was a much simpler machine and easy to repair - tube fuselage, wooden wings etc. Why not get Schleicher to knock off a hundred or so K13s , at what would be clearly be a lower price and quicker to make than the 21 ? Cadets in my time did well enough with the T21 and T31, Remember we are not training glider pilots here just getting kids into the air. In the good old days we used to repair our T31s with minor damage during the week ready for next weekend. I was Technical Officer in my club and I know about these things.

Last edited by Olympia 463; 6th Dec 2017 at 19:35.
 
Old 6th Dec 2017, 17:23
  #3703 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Olympia 463 View Post
Well as a retired civilian gliding instructor, who was trained on a T31, and ended up teaching on the K13, I am not so sure that for ATC purposes you need an expensive kite like the ASK21. I have flown the 21 (in 2007 - to see if gliding was like roller skating, something you never forget) and I admit it is a magnificent trainer but it is GLASS with all the attendant problems you get with repairs. The good old K13 was a much simpler machine and easy to repair - tube fuselage, wooden wings etc. Why not get Schliecher to knock off a hundred or so K13s , at what would be clearly be a lower price and quicker to make than the 21 ? Cadets in my time did well enough with the T21 and T31, Remember we are not training glider pilots here just getting kids into the air. In the good old days we used to repair our T31s with minor damage during the week ready for next weekend. I was Technical Officer in my club and I know about these things.
It's hard to find a good K13 these days - most of them that are sold are bent - and importing doesn't help as these gliders don't get the BGA weight concession which may well matter with the strapping teenagers of today. There is also this little matter: https://members.gliding.co.uk/librar...ection-042-07/
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Old 6th Dec 2017, 17:55
  #3704 (permalink)  
 
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I think you need to move into the 21st centuary Oly463 K13's have not been built by Schleicher since 1980 and even Jubi of Oerlinghausen ceased licensed production in 1992. They had a fantastic workshop which I visited when landing at Oerlinghausen in a T21 which we aerotow'd across from RAF Gutersloh in 1988. We watched some of the craftsmanship going into the wooden wings of a new build k13. Unfortunately the craftsmen have become very scare in the modern era and construction was slow and expensive. The club at Gutersloh had two new Jubi K13's in the fleet. One of them is now at Cranwell and reaching the end of it's life because of the 3 yearly mandatory inspection and the glue issue. It is getting increasingly difficult for the club to find engineers/inspectors with the correct skills in wood and welded steel tube to maintain it. in the not too distant future the club like many others will have an all plastic fleet.
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Old 6th Dec 2017, 19:15
  #3705 (permalink)  
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Hold your horses! I wasn't suggesting that second hand K13s be sought, I'm not daft. Any new ones built now would have more modern glues used. I remember having to have the tailplane of my Oly 2b rebuilt from scratch, as the glue used twenty years before had started to let go. A very expensive CofA resulted.

The Olympias which I flew were all built from the kits which had been in store since 1937. The glue used was that used for military gliders built by Elliots and presumably long life was not expected for those machines. Its use certainly caught up with the 100 Olys built post WWII by Elliotts, and that was unfortunate. But nothing like this would happen if new wooden ships were to be built now. Adhesive technology has moved on. As for skill in building I doubt it is all that hard to find people who could do this work and train others. It isn't rocket science. Elliots had built wardrobes pre-war but built hundreds of gliders far more complex than a K13.

Even De Havilland got it wrong with the early Mosquitoes when they started to fall apart (in the air!!) in tropical climates. They soon fixed that though.

I maintain that a programme to build NEW K13s in quantity would be the most economical method of getting the ATC back into the air. Modern production methods and the economy of scale would both save money and TIME. and TIME is of the essence here I think. Glass ships are expensive and slow to make. Going that route spells extinction for flying in the ATC,and if they can't offer flying who will join? The ASK21 is fine in a gliding club where as soon as you go solo you move on to a single seater. In my time this was the Slingsby Tutor, a truly terrible aeroplane, but if you could fly it, you could fly anything they threw at you afterwards. I flew 22 different types of glider all told, and none were quite as awful as the Tutor.

If the intent is to give post solo cadets further flying they should be encouraged to join a club maybe supported by some kind of scholarship or subsidy to the club.

On a point of information: does anyone know how many ex ATC trainees actually joined the RAF, or is the ATC just a big youth club with a bit of flying (maybe) thrown in?

We need a bit of lateral thinking here. There was gliding before glass.
 
Old 6th Dec 2017, 19:36
  #3706 (permalink)  
 
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I agree; I've said several times on this thread that Air Cadets do not need glass ships but rather something in the low performance mould.
I trained on Sedburghs and Cadet Mk3s, then later when I had a bit of experience, the single seat Prefect.
Any of these would be more suitable for cadet flying than an ASK21 or similar.

Last edited by chevvron; 8th Dec 2017 at 09:33.
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Old 6th Dec 2017, 20:10
  #3707 (permalink)  
 
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Olympia, not sure what the exact figures are but I think it's between 20 and 40 percent of entrants to the RAF are ex cadets. A few years ago due to the number of ex cadets joining the RAF and the fact that they were already trained in teamwork, drill, uniform maintenance etc enough was saved in Basic Training costs to effectively make the ATC cost neutral that year.
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Old 6th Dec 2017, 21:48
  #3708 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Olympia 463 View Post
I admit it is a magnificent trainer but it is GLASS with all the attendant problems you get with repairs.
What are these attendant problems? The civilian glider world has been successfully repairing composite airframes far more complex than Vikings or K21s for over fifty years now.

Originally Posted by Olympia 463 View Post
Why not get Schleicher to knock off a hundred or so K13s , at what would be clearly be a lower price and quicker to make than the 21 ?
And while we're at it let's get Jaguar Land Rover to quickly knock together a hundred or so Series IIa at Solihull? I'm sure it wouldn't take much to tool up a new production line...

Originally Posted by Olympia 463 View Post
In the good old days we used to repair our T31s with minor damage during the week ready for next weekend. I was Technical Officer in my club and I know about these things.
There is absolutely no reason, other than a lack of expertise or drive to "get the job done", that this can't be the case for GRP gliders. At international gliding competitions it is by no means rare for a glider to be damaged one day, have a couple of guys work through the night to carry out a repair, and for it be ready for the pilot to fly the very next morning.

Originally Posted by Olympia 463 View Post
I maintain that a programme to build NEW K13s in quantity would be the most economical method of getting the ATC back into the air. Modern production methods and the economy of scale would both save money and TIME. and TIME is of the essence here I think. Glass ships are expensive and slow to make.
Who would build these K13s? Schleicher? They haven't build a wood and fabric glider for 40 years and Rudolph Kaiser has been dead for a quarter of a century. They have the capacity to build about five gliders a month and have a years-long waiting list for their world-leading ASG29/32 and ASH30/31 gliders, alongside a steady stream of K21s.
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Old 7th Dec 2017, 03:07
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The Canadian Air Cadets use the SW 2-33. A rag and tube fuselage with a simple all aluminum wing. Simple to make and maintain with enough performance to teach the basics of gliding. That is what an Air Cadet program needs, not some expensive fragile glass high performance soaring machine.
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Old 7th Dec 2017, 04:52
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Originally Posted by Big Pistons Forever View Post
The Canadian Air Cadets use the SW 2-33. A rag and tube fuselage with a simple all aluminum wing. Simple to make and maintain with enough performance to teach the basics of gliding. That is what an Air Cadet program needs, not some expensive fragile glass high performance soaring machine.
There is nothing fragile (or frankly high performance) about the Viking. They are very sturdy aircraft. It is only a mismanagement of ongoing maintenance which has resulted in this perception of composite aircraft being ‘complex’ or ‘fragile’. There is - and has been for decades - a wealth of knowledge in the UK in repairing and maintaining composite sailplanes, which as far as the Air Cadets are concerned, has been all but completely ignored in favour of ill-suited and ill-informed DA oversight.
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Old 7th Dec 2017, 05:27
  #3711 (permalink)  
 
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Building new K13s truly is cloud cuckoo land, even if Schleicher will allow it. This is in spades if the MOD is commissioning them. Read the description above about Jubi.
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Old 7th Dec 2017, 05:29
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Originally Posted by Big Pistons Forever View Post
The Canadian Air Cadets use the SW 2-33. A rag and tube fuselage with a simple all aluminum wing. Simple to make and maintain with enough performance to teach the basics of gliding. That is what an Air Cadet program needs, not some expensive fragile glass high performance soaring machine.
Schewizer ceased trading in 2012.

PS production of the SGS 2-33 ended in 1980.

No-one makes a similar glider these days. They are all glass, and provide a much better level of protection to the pilots in the event of a seriously bad arrival.
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Old 7th Dec 2017, 08:30
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I still think that if the MoD put out a contract to build 100 K13s there would be a taker. The skill levels to build wooden aircraft are well below those needed for glass ships. If I was younger I would seriously look at a business plan to do this.

So you do nothing but moan, and meanwhile the ATC ceases to do any flying. That's not what I thought this thread was about. We were more enterprising when I was flying. Our club needed a new winch, so I got together a team and built one. What has happened to the great spirit of entrepreneurship we Brits used to have?

I repeat - The ATC do not need a glider as sophisticated as the ASK 21. They are not a gliding club. try and get hold of that idea please. I'm not suggesting that we go back to the days of the SG38 or even the T31. The K13 is the ideal machine for the job. I know, because I have sent dozens solo who were trained in it. The Capstan was a disaster, the Bocian was lovely but very expensive, the Blanik was noisy - I could go on and on about training gliders, I have flown most of them - K13 is the BEST.
 
Old 7th Dec 2017, 09:29
  #3714 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Olympia 463 View Post
I still think that if the MoD put out a contract to build 100 K13s there would be a taker. The skill levels to build wooden aircraft are well below those needed for glass ships. If I was younger I would seriously look at a business plan to do this.

I repeat - The ATC do not need a glider as sophisticated as the ASK 21.
There would be no taker.

Yes the K13 is a perfectly competent training glider, but the K21 is a big step ahead in terms of performance, handling, comfort, and above all safety. I know which one I’d rather have a crash in. The same goes for the Viking.

And most importantly, it is not a ‘sophisticated’ glider. In modern (for modern read ‘the last 30 years’) terms it is a simple airframe. GRP repairs are routine and a non-event for anyone competent enough to repair wood and fabric. Only the RAF and Old Bolds on here think otherwise.
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Old 7th Dec 2017, 10:18
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I wouldn't disagree that the K13 was possibly the best training glider of its era but doubt very much that it could be produced today at a sensible cost.

Back in the days of Pegasus Gliding Club at Gutersloh, a K13 became an insurance write off due to a ground incident. Damage was severe and included a broken main spar. Two club members bought the wreck, borrowed plans from Scleicher and, over months, rebuilt it. I recall they calculated that, after they had sold it, they had been working for something like 30p/hr.
The only job they didn't do themselves was the new mainspar which was built by an ex Scleicher employee who still had the jigs.
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Old 7th Dec 2017, 14:03
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Skill shortage

While I see the attraction of a simple wood, metal tube & fabric glider to the enthusiast I can’t help thinking that the skill set needed to maintain these aircraft is even further removed from the modern RAF than the skills needed to maintain composite structure.............. and wood & fabric is less durable.
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Old 7th Dec 2017, 15:39
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The ASK13 was only economic for Schleicher to manufacture because many bits were farmed out to local handymen to make (wing ribs etc) and there were quality control problem that showed up later. Under EASA they would cost more than a ASK21, there are significantly more man-hours and little difference in materials.

A competent maintenance organisation will prevent recurrence of the previous VGS problems, and civilian registered DG Acro's aren't falling out of the sky through maintenance problems (or age related structural ones).

I can't imagine that operating a mixed fleet of Grob and ASK would be a problem, there was a mixed fleet or Cadet 3 and Sedburgh for many years, but the short solution from here has to be getting 'as-new' Vikings back in the sky for the next 10+ years.

I doubt that those responsible for the scandal and the pedestrian sorting-out process will ever be held to account, but that's another story.
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Old 7th Dec 2017, 16:02
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I doubt that those responsible for the scandal and the pedestrian sorting-out process will ever be held to account, but that's another story.
Given the forthcoming court case, involving the same people, I think this is THE story!
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Old 7th Dec 2017, 22:44
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If a glider were to be designed for the Air Cadet requirement and nothing else, it would need to be designed for easy and quick maintenance, and provide all the protection that modern gliders do. Composites have the advantage of being resistant to weather, fatigue and minor damage in a way that wood, fabric and sheet metal structures do not. The expense with composite repairs comes with the man hours required to restore the surface finish to 'as it left the mould' standard.

What is needed is a glider which provides performance equal to, or better than, the T21 and T31, with the durability and crashworthiness of a glass glider, whilst avoiding the need for multi-thousand pound repairs for relatively minor incidents. A broken canopy on one of our club's fibreglass gliders was £4000 to replace. The blow moulding was about £1K; however by the time the old canopy had been cut off the frame and the new one bonded on, filled, painted and the direct vision panel fitted, another £3K had gone.

A construction method which may offer the solution is to use folded honeycomb composite (Fibrelam) as on the Edgley Ea-9 Optimist. Expensive moulds are avoided, crash deformation can be predicted and if two dimensional canopy or simple screens used, the costs of most common repairs are kept sensible.

http://www.retroplane.net/forum/files/optimist_195.pdf

https://www.flightglobal.com/FlightP...20-%202845.PDF

If Edgley hadn't gone out of business, it appears Fibrelam training glider may have actually been built: https://www.faulkes.com/edgley-sailplanes-ltd

Last edited by Mechta; 7th Dec 2017 at 23:00. Reason: Spelling
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Old 8th Dec 2017, 03:50
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Originally Posted by Mechta View Post
Composites have the advantage of being resistant to weather, fatigue and minor damage in a way that wood, fabric and sheet metal structures do not.
]
Sorry but not even remotely close to reality. Almost none of the 2-33’s are hangared, they are set leveled on a saw horse and tied down outside all year. Good luck doing the same with any of the glass ships. Rag and tube repair has 80 years of successful maintenance in bush, ag, and other very demanding uses. The metal wing of the 2-33 is simple and easy to fix and most importantly is damage tolerant and easy to assess, unlike composite structures

The point of Air Cadet gliding is basic flying experience for young people. What the program needs is a simple to maintain, simple to fly, hard to bust, basic glider !
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