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Air Cadets grounded?

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Air Cadets grounded?

Old 15th Dec 2017, 21:45
  #3761 (permalink)  
 
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Ah yes, the Sigma - whatever happened to that? The BRM of gliding I think.

It came to Alberta and was rebuilt with slotted flaps by Dave Marsden. I don't know where it is now. I'll make some enquiries.

The hydraulically actuated flaps increased the wing area to 177 square feet (an increase of 35%), lowering the wing loading and stalling speed (37 knots), allowing the desired tight circling when thermalling.[3] The hydraulic pressure needed to move the flaps was provided by the pilot pumping on the rudder pedals, this proving to be tiring, not to mention that moving the flaps in flight was found to be almost impossible due to bending in the wings. Performance testing revealed a disappointing[4] best L/D of 41:1 and the project was wound up in 1977.[1]

The group offered the Sigma up to further development by other parties, selecting a proposal by David Marsden a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Alberta (on sabbatical at Cranfield Institute of Technology and a glider pilot holding records with his own glider designs such as the Marsden Gemini).[5]

The aircraft was moved to Canada in 1979 by Marsden, modified with a new flap system, conventional ailerons in lieu of outboard flap sections and the tail parachute was removed from the rudder. Despite the glide ratio only increasing to 47:1, its good climb rate made it competitive with contemporary Open Class gliders of the time, breaking the US 300 km triangle record in 1997 at 151 km/h (82 kn).[1]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Sigma_Sigma
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Old 15th Dec 2017, 22:03
  #3762 (permalink)  
 
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The review identified that a smaller fleet can be effectively used to potentially improve availability and extend the service life of the gliders.
How does that work? Night flying?

Sounds like Sir Humphrey to me...
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Old 16th Dec 2017, 07:44
  #3763 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Mechta View Post
How does that work? Night flying?

Sounds like Sir Humphrey to me...
No, they can look after them and their paperwork better than previously. I hope there has been a lot of learning as well about what you do and don't do with gliders - with aircraft in general.
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Old 16th Dec 2017, 08:38
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Originally Posted by Mechta View Post
How does that work? Night flying?

Sounds like Sir Humphrey to me...
Quite so Mechta!
I read the statement. Strikes me that it is a concoction of low expectations. The blah, blah statistics are meaningless. What matters is the striking rate of flying experience for a statistical cadet. Beyond that, a comparison of cadet gliding achievement say, 1970/2000/2017 would be interesting.
As for references to synthetic flying "experience"...try this
"cadets were involved in training in remote-control helicopter flying, radio, synthetic simulator training and air traffic control". Was this "training" conducted to a defined level to achieve a recognised qualification? I doubt it very much. Perhaps the Minister should review whether this "training" is in fact, merely playing or, at best, some recreational experience?
Perhaps the Minister should consider if his words are misleading to the house and that his statement should be clarified?

OAP
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Old 16th Dec 2017, 10:23
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Getting Away With It

Of course if you have never experienced the ATC Gliding (As Was) then you will not know what you are missing. That is why the cretons in charge get away with it. I understand that (as most things in life) it never gets better, but I resent the rubbish that is hyped up to pretend that the 'quality' of the ATC experience is anywhere up to the previous standard.
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Old 16th Dec 2017, 15:15
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I don't see how by increasing the distance a cadet has to travel to the nearest gliding school, (by reducing the number of gliding schools) they hope to make it more efficient.
Do they not realise that an immense amount of training is sorry was carried out at weekends rather than on one week courses?
By the way Pobjoy, as one ex gliding school staff member to another, I thought the word was 'cretins' (spelt i-m-b-e-c-i-l-e-s) not 'cretons'.
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Old 16th Dec 2017, 17:23
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Cretins

Thanks for that Chev it is not a word I need to use normally, but at least it is not that offensive; and sums up the total lack of competence from those in charge of the shop. I only have complete respect for those that actually worked at the 'coal face' and made the operation the success it 'WAS'. In retrospect the whole organisation ran incredibly well with so little control from HQ Air Cadets. Because in many case's we were based on an active station, or had a parent base this had the added benefit of keeping standards high, and so the baton was passed on to future staff. This was the unique 'AIR' element of the Air Cadet Organisation.It was world class and probably never really appreciated by the main stream RAF for what it achieved. It was not only the actual flying, but the complete 'hands on' handling of all the equipment and airframes, and accepting the responsibility of making the operation work so well.
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Old 16th Dec 2017, 19:48
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Glider recovery rates are now steady and predictable, allowing a total of nearly 3,000 glider sorties to be conducted since recovery of the fleet began.
When exactly was the start, in 2014/15 or 16? I'd wager on good days, in summer, that would have been the national output for a weekend...
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Old 17th Dec 2017, 07:53
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Originally Posted by POBJOY View Post
<snip>
It was not only the actual flying, but the complete 'hands on' handling of all the equipment and airframes, and accepting the responsibility of making the operation work so well.
It's a pity the people at all levels handling the paperwork made such a mess of it. As we are always told by inspectors, if a glider's paperwork isn't up to date and in order it's not airworthy.
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Old 17th Dec 2017, 09:54
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Cretons - from another planet.....
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Old 17th Dec 2017, 14:32
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What has taken 4 years and thrown away lots of Taxpayer's money

The Air Cadet Aerospace Offer:Written statement - HLWS344 - UK Parliament


I'm distinctly underwhelmed by this latest piece of prose !


Analysing the stats, take the Grob Tutor, 17,600 Cadets had powered flying experiences in FY 2016/17. Is that 17,600 Cadets, or is it 17,600 Air Ex Sorties which may mean 8,800 Cadets had two Air Ex sorties, or ???. Thus out of a 2016 total of 32,860 Air Cadets, only 53% got their backsides off the ground in a Tutor, assuming all of the 17,600 were all different cadets, but maybe a lot lower % if some Cadets had two sorties !


If we take 17,600 total AEF Grob Tutor sorties at the normal 30 mins max sortie length, then this equates to 8,800 hrs flown. With about 45 aircraft UK wide, then this equates to 195hrs per airframe, or, per aircraft 3.91 flying hrs per airframe per week based on a 50 week year. Wow - they aren't half thrashing them - NOT ! Is that "sweating your assets "?? Could have a competition "Spot the Tutor in the air " !


Now on to real waste of taxpayer cash and real history of Negligence......... We the taxpayer, originally purchased a brand new fleet of 53 x Vigilant T Mk1 ,( Grob 109B Motor Gliders ) and at some later stage we also purchased a few second hand of the same G 109B from civilian sources - thus let's say a total of 56.


From the latest statement cited above, we now learn that "up to 15" (26.7%) of these airframes MAY be recovered, and thus far ( after a small "pause" of roughly 3 yrs. 9 mths, there have been 6 (10.71%) "recovered" thus far, of which 2 are at RAF Topcliffe, and the others at ACCGS Syerston.


So , my question to the Hon Member , Secretary of State for Defence, Gavin Williamson MP , is.........WTF is happening to the other airframes - possibly somewhere between 51 max and 41 minimum ? Can the Rt Hon member please state unequivocally, and clearly a) where are they currently ( I can help a little - some are still where they used to be flown !) b) what is their current state of preservation, and c) what will be the nature of their disposal, i.e., where, and who to, and at what sale price, and what will be the total loss to the Taxpayer.

As a supplementary question, please state the processes undertaken thus far to ascertain the technical and administrative reasons why this fleet was grounded ( or should we say "paused") which was allegedly caused by concerns related to airworthiness, and which was the direct responsibility of the RAF and at a much later date their appointed sub contractor(s). Please also state the findings of any investigations into any negligent incompetence, and what measures are to be taken in terms of accountability, i.e., Military negligence and / or contractor legal redress.

Moving on swiftly, as they say, there is also the small matter of the Viking T Mk 1 conventional gliders - I believe originally a total of 90 purchased by us the taxpayer. Of these, we now read that up to now 22 (24.4%) have been recovered, and that up to a total of 60 (66.66%) will ultimately be recovered ( by when ????).

Needless to say, the same questions with regard to Vigilant Aircraft and the net difference ( i.e., the missing 30) require an answer in respect of what happens to them, where they go, at what price and the net loss to taxpayers.


These are purely the hardware questions............we are told that since recovery began > than 3000 glider sorties have been undertaken ! - wow , that's about 150 launches per airframe ! . To put that in context it's about < half an average instructor's annual launch total ! and, bear in mind it's only in about 6 locations !!

No wonder the Commandant Air Cadets got the CBE and tells us all that " whilst aviation is important , it does not define all that we do" !!! ( and of course remembering that we haven't flown any Cadets at VGS' for over 3 years, and we have no VGS resource whatsoever in NI and Wales and about a 60 % reduction of geographic VGS sites UK wide. I admit it wasn't her negligence that it happened, but she sure as hell would make a good PR spin doctor !


Yes, ok there are about 8 main types of Cadet activity but of course your main strapline is given away in the title "Air Cadets " , not Sports Cadets, Shooting Cadets, or Adventure Training Cadets. Perhaps the last three years and this sad saga accounts for the drop in numbers of approximately 8.1% ( from MoD statistical return MoD Sponsored Cadets Statistics 1/4/2016) . If you can't produce the goods in the adverts, then they leave !


I'm now going to ask to meet my MP and request that he submits some questions based on some of the stats above . Why? because I am a Taxpayer and this is just a ludicrous waste of our resources and a truly shocking saga that requires full investigation and exposure. And of course, its not just the Taxpayer, it's the young people who have lost out, not to mention the loyal and extremely competent staff of the twenty odd VGS units who have been largely decimated and demoralised - not just by this saga, but the mishandling of the new Commissions. ( referred to in the Commandant's Xmas statement as follows :-



"If we had known how difficult this process would be, I am sure we would have approached it differently but, in the absence of precedent, we all did the best we could to navigate complex legal and procurement issues to achieve our goal. It took far longer than wed hoped and it was far more difficult than anyone envisaged and I know it has knocked the confidence of many in our ability to manage change effectively. I apologise again for the stress and confusion caused by the various delays and mixed messaging "


Good job the same team isn't managing the Trident Missile renewal and the Carrier + F35's ! - or maybe it is ?? Happy Christmas to all our readers and keep safe for 2018.



More Tea and medals later...............















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Old 17th Dec 2017, 16:21
  #3772 (permalink)  
 
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EnigmAviation
I support your opinion of the situation. Certainly, Commandant Air Cadets has been in that post since Aug 2012. In 2017 she has somehow been awarded CBE for her efforts and, incredibly, been retained in post until 2020. Surely, heads somewhere should roll or, is no-one responsible?

OAP
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Old 17th Dec 2017, 19:37
  #3773 (permalink)  
 
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The blame game

Originally Posted by Onceapilot View Post
EnigmAviation
I support your opinion of the situation. Certainly, Commandant Air Cadets has been in that post since Aug 2012. In 2017 she has somehow been awarded CBE for her efforts and, incredibly, been retained in post until 2020. Surely, heads somewhere should roll or, is no-one responsible?

OAP
i don't think she has been responsible directly, only assisting in the burying of the bodies metaphorically speaking in terms of issuing glowing reports of how well the non- flying was going, and how marvellous the enhanced video games were going called Part Task Trainers. There must be accountability on the part of the RAF as they were THE service responsible in EVERY sense for the airworthiness, maintenance and repair if the entire Grob fleet, and continued to be so, in overall management terms, even after a Third Party contractors came into the tasking after 2006. This whole scandal , when the pause was initiated in early 2014 clearly went up through the chain of command from OC FTS, to OC 22 Group, and ultimately to Chief of the Air Staff.

From what has been muttered in many circles, some "horse trading" has been done, but without ANY Defence Select Committee involvement or questions, and without ANY VSO having been called to account to the Taxpayer, or any MP.

Here we are, in a so called democracy, where we are denied,( thus far ! But hopefully not much longer if I can help it ) the chance to find out who failed in their duty, and what sanctions are to be implemented, and to make any recoveries possible in financial loss terms, and finally to ratify, or indeed cancel any contracts, implied or otherwise, that may exist for the disposal of the large number of airframes remaining outstanding post "recovery" .

Not only that, we, the former very competent , able Instructors and the parents of our former students, need to be informed, whether we were unknowingly acting in captaincy terms, completely blind to the risk that our aircraft were, as implied by the 3.5 yr "pause" , unserviceable and unfit for purpose. They can't have it both ways, either they were truly unfit to be flown, thus legitimising the grounding, or they were not, and the 3.5 year grounding, recovery and huge reduction in VGS capacity, reduction in staffing and potential disposal of serviceable airframes is a complete sham. We need to be officially told which is the true version.

It is extremely worthy of mention that not one VRT Officer bore any responsibility in this sad saga, the amateurs were the professionals, and vice versa.
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Old 17th Dec 2017, 21:05
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Thanks for the reply EA. I do think that Cmdt Air Cadets does carry the can for all of this, unless and until the truth of the situation is proven otherwise. Good luck with your attempts to shine some light on events. I must admit, my initial reaction to the grounding of the aircraft was that it seemed to be a sensible response to an acute problem. However, the subsequent train of events are a worthy plot for a best-seller! Each turn and twist has piled-on obfuscation and intrigue. I find it hard to believe that very senior (rank) full-time RAF personel can be in control of this debacle yet still retain the confidence of the Air Force Board?

OAP
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Old 18th Dec 2017, 10:11
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-re the current Commandant. To be fair, she inherited decades of abuse, including a 2012 report warning of very serious recent failings. Clearly, that was not her fault. But equally clearly, she has been party to covering up the scale the the failings. Almost any fleet could have been grounded for the same reasons, but the RAF chose the path of least pain. That is why there can be no sanctions against her. Successive ACAS's would have to join her. And given the close link a recent one has had to the ATC, that's not going to happen. Doubly so, as he was later DG MAA.

What one should be looking at is the management structure. Who, for example, was the Type Airworthiness Authority? Then look at what other aircraft he was responsible for. Then look at other threads here, involving actual loss of life, and MoD admissions that the same failings exist. Poor engineering standards, no safety case, no valid RTs, etc. This is not just about gliders.
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Old 18th Dec 2017, 10:16
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Who actually bought and paid for these gliders? Was it the MoD Procurement Executive?

The PE's problem vis-a-vis the RAF, or any other branch of the Defence (Offense?) community, is 'time span of responsibility'. RAF officers get a two year secondment to the PE so decisions they make seldom come home to roost while they are still in post.

I have experience of this as I worked for two blue chip companies in the defence procurement area and I could relate some tales here of mismanagement on a far larger scale than this gliders mess up. Pinning responsibility here may take some doing as well. Remember the civil servants in the PE are there to do the bidding of the service officers. This is how we sent soldiers to the Falklands with so much faulty gear that the beaches were covered with things they did not think worth carrying when they heard they were jomping to Port Stanley. I had a de-brief about that from people who were there.

The real problem we need to solve here is to get professional people (and only professionals) in charge of military procurement. Just because you have fired a gun does not make you an expert in ballistics or weapon sights!! Do the words 'Spitfire and 'Hurricane' come to your mind here?

The army did not know that they needed a new up to date image intensified night sight for the SA80 rifle. We knew they did, and designed one as a private venture, which went into mass production once they had seen the tests we carried out at the ITDU. And so on.

Does anyone have the answers to my question?
 
Old 18th Dec 2017, 10:35
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Olympia 463

Remember the civil servants in the PE are there to do the bidding of the service officers.
Misconception here. Civil Servants are there to implement government policy. Very few have serving officers in their immediate line management chain. However, since Requirement Managers' posts were 'militarised', they are seen to procure what serving officers put their name to. If you study most successful programmes, you'll find the CS has quietly tossed the endorsed requirement in the bin and written something sensible and which doesn't defy the laws of physics. That is not to denigrate serving officers. As you say, they get a 2 year post, whereas a CS Requirement Manager (of old) had already spent at least 10 years being trained to do the job.

If a Requirements Manager isn't an engineer, straight away he can't do much of his job and MoD has to employ others to supplement his post. It seldom does. The problems discussed here are essentially engineering related, plus a failure of management oversight. Look at them carefully, and prevention/solution is something CS needed to demonstrate competence at before being promoted into MoD(PE). Today, most CS don't understand the concept of there being at least 5 technical grades below the PE/DE&S minima. At four of them, every single incumbent should know the prevention and cure. In fact, I've known 4th year apprentices who I'd happily delegate this to. It really is THAT basic.
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Old 18th Dec 2017, 11:48
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Olympia,

Perhaps I can help out a bit here.

Tuc beat me to it with his excellent post - yes, the civil servants there in the PE were expected to carry out their duties within the mandated regulations, not to do the bidding of service officers. Most procurement disasters start with a c**p set of requirements, and there's a BIG problem with the role and competence of the MoD's Requirements Managers, and the RAF's long standing insistence that they be uniformed aircrew. Sadly, the skill set of the average RAF pilot (which is very good indeed - for flying aircraft) is a poor match for doing Requirements Management, which is really an engineering discipline. If the uniformed RM and the CS project engineer work together, this issue can, in some cases, be overcome. Sometimes it can't.

Where the issue gets worse is where senior officers in the RAF decide that they have identified the solution to their (often unstated) requirements, and tell the PE to 'go out and buy that'. That's part of the gliders issue. The RAF decided that they wanted Grobs, and directed the PE to go for an essentially 'off the shelf' purchase. Even worse, a large part of the buy was done using an 'in year underspend', where the PE staffs will have got even LESS time to do the parts of procurement that aren't as sexy as buying spanking new aircraft, but are just as important.

Things like making sure that a comprehensive repair manual has been issued. making sure that the customer has been provided with DA approved repair kits. Things like making sure that the aircraft supplier had passed the relevant certification and approvals stages. Things like making sure that a proper PDS contract was in place. Oh, and ensuring that there was an achievable fleet management scheme. I'm taking a small bet that these were the things that didn't get done well for the gliders.

The sad fact is that the MoD has spent most of the 15 to 20 years following a policy of removing professional engineers from the procurement organisation. For many years, project management has been the preferred skill set. Now, there's nothing wrong with having professional PMs. Sadly, the MoD decided that doing a Prince2 course turned non-engineers into professional project managers. No, it didn't.

So you now have non-technical PMs trying to manage projects with restricted access to professional project engineers. In recent years, that skill set has often been provided using contractors - the Treasury has now all but closed off that supply route.

It's not all doom and gloom, and the MoD has plenty of good people to manage procurement. But, in my view, not enough of them.

Best regards as ever to those doing the job at the coal face

Engines
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Old 18th Dec 2017, 12:45
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MoD has spent most of the 15 to 20 years following a policy of removing professional engineers from the procurement organisation
July 1996 when the then Chief of Defence Procurement, Sir Robert Walmsley, issued an edict that he didn't want or require engineers working on engineering projects. On 19 November and 13 December 2001, he issued written rulings that aircraft need not be functionally safe, but one could sign-off to say they were. (Direct result - Tornado ZG710 23.3.03, 2 killed). MoD continues to cite these rulings today. Thankfully some ignored him, but not all. Haddon-Cave sussed him, with his comment in the Nimrod Review about not employing submariners to manage aircraft.

Last edited by tucumseh; 18th Dec 2017 at 13:32.
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Old 18th Dec 2017, 16:16
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The RAF decided that they wanted Grobs, and directed the PE to go for an essentially 'off the shelf' purchase.
Firstly it wouldn't have matter what gliders were brought, Grobs or K21s, they would be in the same pickle because of the paperwork shortcomings.

Secondly for exactly the same reason that they can't go out and buy 60+ new K21s, they couldn't then. Grob were willing to build them lots of gliders quickly (and all gliders are built - hand-built - to order) whereas Schleicher not. Schleicher are still in business, Grob are not at least no in the aviation world.
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