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Air Cadets grounded?

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Air Cadets grounded?

Old 13th Jan 2018, 22:31
  #4001 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Shaft109 View Post
From the world's oldest Airforce comes the longest grounding......
...of the least complex aircraft in their inventory.
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 09:18
  #4002 (permalink)  
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Well, look on the bright side. What seems to have been an attempt to close the ATC down has only been partially successful. The remaining Vikings if course must have an out of service date. A plan needs to be in place well in advance of that to replace them. Anyone have a handle on how that might be going? And I think the 4000 postings have kept this scandal in the public eye, without them the ATC might well have just folded up.
 
Old 14th Jan 2018, 11:32
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EA:-
Why is it that the cover up has been so well executed ?
Because the MOD is simultaneously; the accused, the judge, and the jury of its own case, and because many professional aviators (ie many members who post on this very forum) don't understand the difference between serviceability and airworthiness, and can't be bothered to discover it.

In that respect I again highly recommend David Hill's excellent book, Their Greatest Disgrace. In telling the tale of the deaths of the 29 occupants of Chinook ZD576 on the Mull of Kintyre in 1994, he explains that it was grossly unairworthy, why it was grossly unairworthy, why that unairworthiness was not limited to that aircraft or fleet but spread like a canker throughout UK military aviation which it infects to this day, who caused it, and how they have been protected by a cover up by the RAF Star Chamber ever since. The answer to your question is in the book, EA.

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Old 14th Jan 2018, 12:27
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Originally Posted by Olympia 463 View Post
Well, look on the bright side. What seems to have been an attempt to close the ATC down has only been partially successful. The remaining Vikings if course must have an out of service date. A plan needs to be in place well in advance of that to replace them. Anyone have a handle on how that might be going? And I think the 4000 postings have kept this scandal in the public eye, without them the ATC might well have just folded up.
Unless there is something unusual about the Vikings or their airworthiness regime they have many years of life before relifing. K21s come with a 12,000 hour life which can be extended at least once by 6,000 hours, and I've not heard that grob 103s are substantially different.
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 15:51
  #4005 (permalink)  
 
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Cats,

I'd like to respond to your last post if I may. There IS something unusual about the Vikings and their airworthiness regime.

First, they have been operated at increased weights, with a series of modifications that the original designers have very probably not underwritten.
Second, they have not been properly serviced or repaired, and documentation essential to any statement of airworthiness has been inadvertently destroyed.
Third, the organisation responsible for their continuing airworthiness was found to be incapable of carrying out its statutory duties.

They have been badly taken care of, to the point where they posed an intolerable Risk to Life to schoolchildren. I'd say that's a bit unusual. The really, really, big concern has to be this - IS it unusual for the RAF?

Answers on an airworthiness audit survey form, please.

Best Regards as ever to all those putting things right so that the kids can fly safely.

Engines

Last edited by Engines; 14th Jan 2018 at 16:46.
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 16:55
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Originally Posted by Engines View Post
Cats,

I'd like to respond to your last post if I may. There IS something unusual about the Vikings and their airworthiness regime.

First, they have been operated at increased weights, with a series of modifications that the original designers have very probably not underwritten.
Second, they have not been properly serviced or repaired, and documentation to any statement of airworthiness has been inadvertently destroyed.
Third, the organisation responsible for their continuing airworthiness was found to be incapable of carrying out its statutory duties.

They have been badly taken care of, to the point where they posed an intolerable Risk to Life to schoolchildren. I'd say that's a bit unusual. The really, really, big concern has to be this - IS it unusual for the RAF?

Answers on an airworthiness audit survey form, please.

Best Regards as ever to all those putting things right so that the kids can fly safely.

Engines
Many BGA gliders are operated at increased weights - the BGA weight concession - I've no idea by how much it was increased for the Vikings, but if it was as per the BGA concession I can't see that of itself it's a problem. The manual says the maximum weight in either seat is 110kg with a maximum flying weight of 580kg, of which the load is no more than 36%. The BGA non-aerobatic weight concession is 597kg - +3%.

I understand they have not been properly looked after etc., but after Southern Sailplanes have inspected each glider I would hope they have ironed out both any physical problems (removed unapproved mods, re-repaired undocumented repairs etc.), ensured all SBs and ADs are complied with and of course sorted the paperwork.

My big concern is future airworthiness. In the state they leave SS they should be good for the original number of hours. And as you point out, if the RAF cannot maintain a very simple airframe, what is happening with the more complicated stuff? Or is the maintenance of these gliders a purely ATC issue?
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 20:23
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Originally Posted by cats_five View Post
Unless there is something unusual about the Vikings or their airworthiness regime they have many years of life before relifing. K21s come with a 12,000 hour life which can be extended at least once by 6,000 hours, and I've not heard that grob 103s are substantially different.
The Vikings are lifed at 27,000 launches, not hours. Don't ask the logic.
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Old 15th Jan 2018, 06:31
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Originally Posted by 92125 View Post
The Vikings are lifed at 27,000 launches, not hours. Don't ask the logic.
No relifing? It's a normal process for most modern (as in not wood) glider types and is basically a very detailed inspection of parts which aren't normally inspected.
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Old 15th Jan 2018, 11:01
  #4009 (permalink)  
 
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The "cover up" strategy

and documentation essential to any statement of airworthiness has been inadvertently destroyed





Or could we substitute another word for inadvertently .............like deliberately ???? If evidence tends to prove negligence, then far easier to say it's been destroyed inadvertently ! I think a lot more people know a lot more about the paper trail.............. people at all levels who were involved in repair and maintenance in both the RAF and the latterly appointed contractors, should be required to be interviewed formally and under caution.


( There now follows an excerpt from "Yes Minister" - Q - "what shall we say about the missing maintenance records etc ????" - A - "Just say they were destroyed inadvertently - old Joe our cleaner, is very short sighted, and a bit deaf, and when he was cleaning out our filing room, he overheard one of the fitters saying "he'd got piles" , and thought he'd been told to get rid of the Files ! " - reply by Questioner "that sounds a good enough , the Minister will run along with that and we can just say inadvertently" )


In similar "modus operandi" , most of the former locally held VGS data on VGS performance have similarly been destroyed - or to be accurate......have been sent to waste dump or recycling in a skip on the orders of Pippa. Why ? well some would say it is no great shakes, but if we are to substantiate pre-2014 "pause" performance of VGS activity, with the now somewhat stumbling and terribly poor performance we witness in 2018, we no longer have official data on hand, unless some people have failed to put everything in a skip !!


I've just been looking back and in 2001 we had 77 Viking T Mk1, and 55 Vigilant T Mk 1. The RAF under the direction of Pippa, will attempt to "recover" 15 Vigilant, of which 6 are allegedly recovered thus far, ( 2 @ RAF Topcliffe and 4 @ ACCGS RAF Syerston) with the added rider that only 1 is currently flying, and that itself is restricted to Circuits only. Thus a reduction of 72 % operational capacity on Vigilant alone, using the 15 allegedly recovered; if we recover and use a lot less than 15, then it's even more dramatic loss of capacity.


As a taxpayer, I'd like the Defence Ministry to tell us all:-
  1. The costs of recovery per airframe of the Vigilant T Mk 1
  2. The sum spent thus far on the recovered aircraft
  3. Where are the remaining (up to 40) airframes
  4. What is currently being done to at least protect them from deterioration
  5. What is being done with the remainder - sale by tender, sale by contract agreement - price per airframe realised or target price
  6. What would be the market value of each non-recovered Vigilant airframe if sold in the open market.
This is information that we, as taxpayers should be told. My understanding is that there is a "deal" whereby the original manufacturer takes the remainder back at zero cost in return for "recovery" work done on the "up to fifteen" A/C. They will then refit, to a Mk2 standard incl new engine and avionics/panel etc and sell to another EU Air Force for a not small sum.


Should we also know the economics of this ? Public information Disclosure Act ?? I think so.


I'm not familiar with the ACTUAL recovered number or planned recovered numbers for Viking T Mk 1, but suffice to say, there are substantially less numbers operating at this moment, and probably for some considerable time to come with the channel of "recovery" being limited to 1 contractor.


I think that it's hardly surprising that Official Cadet membership figures show a marked drop, as the Part task trainers,( PTT's) and the very odd "jolly" for 25mins in an AEF Tutor or at a one off jolly in another RAF Aerospace camp are absolutely nothing compared to the huge numbers of Cadets who received partial training or training to solo standard under the pre-2014 regime.


I understand that Pippa is set to depart this year in August - and may be heading to or linked with ..............the following.........announcement.........


"A 15m state-of-the-art Aviation Academy is set to open at RAF Syerston in Nottinghamshire in 2019 in a joint venture between the RAF Air Cadets and Aviation Skills Partnership"


It may well be that "managed failure" of Air Cadet VGS activity is a part of the plan for the future, masterminded by ....................well I couldn't possibly say! Even Ministers are prevented from immediately taking posts in the companies that they have held to account in their HMG role, not so in Defence Circles.
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Old 15th Jan 2018, 11:19
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Apologies if this has been posted already in this thread and I've missed it, but some figures are available from an answer to a written question from an MP. Air Force: Cadets:Written question - 7851 - UK Parliament

In summary, since 2013 ~90% of instructors have lost qualifications (560 prior to the 'pause' and 61 now), and the number of cadets awarded wings in 2017 is ~6% of the number awarded in 2013 (741 vs 11,748).
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Old 15th Jan 2018, 11:20
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When did "pippa" order the destruction of any historic performance data? If so he's forgotten to tell many of the VGSs this and to remove or remove the central stats on their own sharepoint site 🤔
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Old 15th Jan 2018, 12:24
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Just out of interest, is he called Pippa because of his beautifully formed rear end?
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Old 15th Jan 2018, 12:54
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Out of fairness to said officer, the practice of destroying embarrassing evidence long pre-dates his tenure. The RAF tried it on Mull of Kintyre once the campaign really kicked off in about 2000 (the FoI Act being a major factor) but forgot that MoD(PE) had control of most of airworthiness audit trail prior to April 1999; and those with delegation were told to keep copies of everything they signed, even into retirement. (This doesn't sit well with the Official Secrets Act, but show me a prosecution. MoD won't go there. And Des Browne granted immunity). So, when the Air Staffs and their bagmen denied the very existence of these documents, both to Lord Philip and the media, the former was delighted to receive copies from former PE staff. And quickly took to asking them first, not MoD. Even then, MoD continued to deny their existence, lying to bereaved families. That is not one lowly Gp Capt. That is a directive from God, and (e.g.) DE&S's Secretariat is charged with protecting those who lie - knowing he is protected.

Rest assured, there is sufficient evidence of wrongdoing. First and foremost, CAS's admission that there was no safety case, so by definition a series of ACASs made false record. This is nothing new - Chinook, Hercules, Nimrod, Sea King, Hawk - the list is only constrained by the aircraft types we have. It is therefore unfair to blame one person; but that is MoD's wont, witness the character assassination of Gp Capt Baber in the Nimrod Review. In fact, he deserved some praise for letting a safety case task, as he'd inherited the product of a policy not to waste money on such things.

One view I take in all this is that ACAS became the first DG/MAA in 2010. He would have immediately released (if not told already by Haddon-Cave) that most of the RTSs (the Master Airworthiness Reference) he signed were invalid. Including gliders. Why did it take four more years, and require his successor to step in? There may be a very good reason, but demonstrably the failures persisted in that period, and more people died. I'm afraid we see this too often. Bury the bad news until the perpetrator is retired, then spin the problem as something else entirely and blame a junior officer or civilian. Yes, the Gp Capt took part, but he's a very minor player.
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Old 15th Jan 2018, 13:30
  #4014 (permalink)  
 
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Good post tuc, thank you. This scandal extends to the highest reaches of the RAF's food chain, and to pin it on relative juniors would simply serve the purposes of the Star Chamber's cover up.

The RAF has to grasp this nettle and stop the cover up so that proper airworthiness reform can begin, in order to avoid further airworthiness associated accidents and needless deaths. It is a fundamental requirement of any Air Force that its aircraft are airworthy. If that costs the reputations and trinkets of a few old men, then so be it.
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Old 15th Jan 2018, 14:24
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Originally Posted by Aggamemnon View Post
Apologies if this has been posted already in this thread and I've missed it, but some figures are available from an answer to a written question from an MP.

In summary, since 2013 ~90% of instructors have lost qualifications (560 prior to the 'pause' and 61 now), and the number of cadets awarded wings in 2017 is ~6% of the number awarded in 2013 (741 vs 11,748).
Thank you for that post Agg. It makes sad reading. Coupled with the line from Enigm...
"A 15m state-of-the-art Aviation Academy is set to open at RAF Syerston in Nottinghamshire in 2019 in a joint venture between the RAF Air Cadets and Aviation Skills Partnership".
Well, it all sounds as though a considerable amount of public money has been wasted. Where is the accountability? All in all, I cannot believe this amazing Air Cadets saga and, it appears that the whole debacle might have been contrived!

OAP
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Old 15th Jan 2018, 14:42
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Post #4010

The written reply is a classic example of hiding the numbers behind the statistics. The wrong question was asked and therefore the wrong answer is given.

The question should have been:
  1. How many Cadets were part trained (before/after the 'pause') ?
  2. How many were trained to full solo standard (before/after the 'pause') ?
  3. How many were trained to Advanced status (before after the 'pause') ?
  4. How many were trained at ACCGS before/after the 'pause') ?
  5. How many were trained at VGS before/after the 'pause') ?
  6. How many VGS instructors have regained their quals since the 'pause' ?
  7. How many VGS instructors held quals before the 'pause' ?
  8. How many VGS instructors held Vigilant Quals before the 'pause' ?
  9. How many VGS instructors hold Vigilant Quals now ?
  10. How many VGS instructors held Viking Quals before the 'pause' ?
  11. How many VGS instructors hold Viking Quals now ?

I suspect the figures given in the written reply are wanton distortions of the numbers.

For sure the number of part trained to full solo trained is probably now 98/2 rather than a previous split of more like 55/45

For sure the number of VGS instructors to ACCGS instructors is way down again probably now 15/85 rather than 95/5

In other words the ACCGS figures are skewing the whole picture. The written reply suggests everything is fine. The reality totally different.

The people asking the questions don't know what questions to ask.......... ergo we are not comparing apples with apples.........

Arc
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Old 15th Jan 2018, 15:31
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Originally Posted by EnigmAviation View Post
<snip>


It may well be that "managed failure" of Air Cadet VGS activity is a part of the plan for the future, masterminded by ....................well I couldn't possibly say! Even Ministers are prevented from immediately taking posts in the companies that they have held to account in their HMG role, not so in Defence Circles.
In general I prefer the cock-up theory.

PS
I don't think you also can't get valid after the pause figures until the pause has been over for a year or more, and until all the airframes that are going to be put back in service are in service, the pause isn't finished.
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Old 15th Jan 2018, 16:05
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In general I prefer the cock-up theory.
Haddon-Cave spent 170-odd pages ripping MoD a new one over an invalid safety case. Then Flt Lt Cunningham was killed, and the SI couldn't find a safety case. Five years after H-C, 11 years after ASaC, 20 years after MoK, the gliders don't have one either and are grounded. That's not a ****-up. There is a conscious decision in there, a controlling influence. And it's not Gp Capt P. Ask him if he thinks there should be a safety case. I put my house on him saying yes. You must look at those who are happy to say NO, in writing, and who brief Ministers against those who prefer to meet legal obligations. As someone mentioned, there's a book naming names, and it specifically states that only 2 Stars or above are named, and only then if it can demonstrated they were advised of the failings. There's a reason MoD cleared it for publication. The truth.
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Old 15th Jan 2018, 18:28
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Perhaps I can try to summarise the extent of the scandal in as few words as possible.

What Happened:

A substantial fleet of RAF aircraft (the world's largest fleet of military gliders) was flown while non-airworthy. This led to schoolchildren being placed at an unacceptably high Risk to Life (RtL). Most of the fleet has now had to be scrapped while a large amount of money has had to be spent getting the remainder of the fleet back in the air

Why It Happened:

A series of SYSTEMIC (sorry for the caps there, but deserved) failures across the RAF's airworthiness management systems. These are not new - they are repeats of failures that the RAF was warned about, failed to prevent, and which led directly to a number of fatal accidents. Now they have happened again.

Failures happened in the area of 'type airworthiness'. The aircraft were not correctly procured (a fleet replacement should never have been permitted out of an in-year underspend) and the required certification and support arrangements were apparently not put in place. A safety case was not maintained. CAS himself admitted that the gliders 'could not continue without a safety case'.

Failures happened in the area of what is now called 'continuing airworthiness'. Servicing contracts were not properly supervised. Quality control systems were ineffective. Poor practice was allowed to occur. Document control was deficient, leading to loss of vital evidence of airworthiness. Configuration control was lost, both aircraft and documents. The RAF 's repeated reorganisations of the gliding chain of command after 2010 introduced precisely the hazardous 'organisational churn' that Haddon-Cave exposed in 2009.

Although the fleet was grounded in early 2014, it is clear that nobody in the RAF had any grasp of the scale of the problem. Their initial attempts to recover the fleet were a shambles for over 15 months. The MAA had to issue a letter to OC2FTS in September 2015 telling him to get his CAMO act together, while pointing out potential increases in RtL. Even this didn't prevent him failing his next CAMO audit at the end of that year. Even after this, milestones have come and gone.

Why It's Not Made the Mainstream Press:

Mainly, the public's lack of interest in defence matters, which means the media don't attach much importance to such stories. However, this has been exploited by the RAF, who have carried out a textbook example of a 'cover up', namely:

1. Get a Minister out in front to take the flak, referring to the 'MoD' and not the 'RAF'
2. Get a retired RAF senior officer to put up a smokescreen by complaining about 'inaccurate reporting' when that hadn't happened
3. Give the Minister downright false statements to sign and send to MPs and members of the Lords who were asking questions
4. Limit their statements about airworthiness to mention of 'challenges', 'concerns', and 'loss of confidence'.

I'm going to go 'off line' now for a while - i think i've bored the good PPRuNe audience enough.

Best regards as ever to those good RAF engineers who, hopefully, are now being listened to

Engines
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Old 15th Jan 2018, 18:36
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Originally Posted by 92125 View Post
The Vikings are lifed at 27,000 launches, not hours. Don't ask the logic.
A typical Viking flight is about six minutes. Significant loads on the airframe come from the top of the winch launch, and landing and retrieve on rough ground. Soaring flight on the occasions that it occurs is unlikely to impose large loads, so basing the life on the number of launches is more meaningful.
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