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Air Cadets grounded?

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Air Cadets grounded?

Old 7th May 2018, 13:16
  #4341 (permalink)  
 
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From the 645 VGS Facebook page this afternoon , 7 May ;

The Grob Vigilant T1 formally retires after 27 Years of service with the Royal Air Force.

At 1600 hours on Sunday 6th May 2018 the RAF retired from service a beloved aircraft which has been close to the hearts of many Air Cadets, Staff and instructors alike.

The Grob Vigilant T1 Motor Glider entered service in 1991 and has served the Air Cadets proudly over her 27 years in service. Allowing cadets aged 16 and over to fly a powered aircraft solo on either their BGT (Basic Glider Training) or Sliver Wings Gliding Scholarship as it is now or AGT (Advanced Glider Training). Cadets of all ages have also been able to fly the Vigilant through aviation packages.

Many an Air Cadet and instructor have used the Vigilant as a stepping stone into careers in aviation, and the training they received was second to none. We have had 2 of our ex-instructors; Flt Lt James Sainty and Flt Lt Paul Kitczma join the RAF and both are Flying the mighty Eurofighter Typhoon. Another instructor James Nealings has just started on the path to become an RAF pilot.

We also have ex and current instructors flying for Easyjet, Jet2, Ryan Air, Cathay Pacific and Emirates who all started flying on the mighty Vigilant.

One senior instructor with 645 VGS, Sqn Ldr Paul Watts had accumulated over 5000 hours on the Vigilant and flew the aircraft from when it entered service.

The Vigilant offered instructors a fantastic training platform compared to the Viking where instructor and trainee were sat side by side and could stay airborne for as long as the sortie needed, ensuring consistent and effective bespoke training for each student.

The basic and very simple cockpit layout and controls made it very easy to master the Vigilant and all that flew her would agree she was a pleasure and a dream to fly. There will be many a tear shed following her retirement and it’s an aircraft you had a passion and love for.

It has been an honour and a privilege to have been given the opportunity for 645 VGS to be the only unit to have continued flying the Vigilant for the 20 months we have following the pause. We have also had the pleasure of 631 VGS (Woodvale) flying with us at RAF Topcliffe making up a joint unit flying the Vigilant.

We always knew the Vigilant was nearing the end of her service but we expected this would not be as soon as it has been.

645 VGS at RAF Topcliffe was the last unit to fly the Vigilant and they gave her a fantastic send off even awarding Flight Staff Cadet FS Dan Griffin his Grade 1 pilots (G1) wings. Also FSC Nathan Jennions was awarded his silver wings after being the last cadet to fly the Vigilant solo and FSC Harley Preston completed his Gold Wings Glider Training. Well done to them all.

The final flight was flown in ZH207 which was the same aircraft that saw 645 VGS return to the skies on Saturday 17th September 2016. The final sortie flown by OC 645 Sqn Ldr Stephen Hughes took to the air in the final flight of the Vigilant at 15:37hrs. His student was Cadet Edward Goulding from 610 (City of Chester) who was completing his Blue wings aviation package.

They touched down on runway 13 at 15:57 as the aircraft taxied back it was given a guard of honour from the squadron staff as well as an amazing and heart warming airborne salute from the Yorkshire Air Ambulance Eurocopter EC145.

This sad but proud moment marked the final flight and retirement of the mighty Grob Vigilant T1. She had been the flagship for the Air Cadets for 27 years and will be greatly missed.

OC 645 Sqn Ldr Stephen Hughes said “it has been an honour and a privilege to fly the last ever cadet flight in the Vigilant Motor Glider. We all understand the reasons, but can’t help but feel it’s a shame it is being removed from service early. She has served as an excellent platform to train and give the experience of solo flight to thousands of Air Cadets all over the country”.

He continued “As the squadron moves forward I look forward to moving the squadron back to the Viking, which 645 VGS operated from its entry into service in November 1984 until March 2003 when we moved to RAF Topcliffe. There will be many challenges to face in the conversion process as well as a completely different way of operating, however I hope we will be flying cadets again soon”

He also said “I am delighted to announce that in the interim we will continue to offer the cadet aviation ground school packages and PTT training at RAF Topcliffe”.

Cadet Edward Goulding of 610 (City of Chester) squadron was the last ever cadet to fly in the Vigilant. It was also his first flight. He commented “This memorable flight was my first ever in a Glider. I really enjoyed it and look forward to flying in the Viking”.

As OC 645 VGS confirmed, Instructors from 645 VGS will in the coming months convert to the Viking conventional Glider and we hope it won’t be to long before we will operate out of Topcliffe with the Viking. Until then we will still offer cadets Ground Based aviation packages.

We would like to thank all the squadrons, cadets and VGS staff over the years that have flown in or operated the Vigilant and join us in remembering all the fantastic experience and opportunities this great little aircraft has offered.


Flt Lt Aaron O’Roarty
645 VGS
Media Communications Officer
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Old 7th May 2018, 14:06
  #4342 (permalink)  
 
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[QUOTEMedia Communications Officer][/QUOTE]

Like all good journalists, 'never letting the facts get in the way of a good story'.
Some of us remember converting and getting our C to I on the Vigilant in 1990.
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Old 7th May 2018, 14:25
  #4343 (permalink)  
 
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I hope the volunteers were informed before the rest of the ACO/BADER was. Lots of hard work out the window. Hope there's enough volunteer motivaton at places like Topcliffe to have a strong and successful transition to Vikings.

Who knows where the Vigilants will end up..
Rumour Control has it that 645 were told at 1200hrs on Sat. The rest of the organisation was filled in after endex on Sunday.

I can only assume that c*** Middleton learned nothing from his experience of axeing the other squadrons about the proper way of treating people who are giving up their time and effort for you for free. What a tragic further waste. I imagine there will be a rump who could be willing to stay on, but they will clearly be the more masochistic of the bunch. Fool me once, shame on you, etc...

Last edited by Cat Funt; 7th May 2018 at 21:41.
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Old 7th May 2018, 15:35
  #4344 (permalink)  
 
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>The recovery of remaining 9 Vigilant aircraft relied on an innovative recovery proposal from Grob Aircraft SE. This is no longer an option.<

Can anyone clarify why "This is no longer an option"? And what precisely stops the Vigilant fleet from being sold into the ordinary civilian market and refurbished or re-engined as required, as the Ventures were?
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Old 7th May 2018, 15:47
  #4345 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ACW599 View Post
And what precisely stops the Vigilant fleet from being sold into the ordinary civilian market and refurbished or re-engined as required, as the Ventures were?
The epic loss of face to the 'leadership' that would be experienced when the airframes were flying again 6 months later...

Is my guess! Without intervention, I anticipate they will all be cut up and incur additional disposal costs...
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Old 7th May 2018, 16:26
  #4346 (permalink)  
 
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Innotive recovery proposal

I suspect that Grob do not actually have a procedure for this and the cost of preparing one and 'covering' themselves, with a fleet that already has a questionable paperwork history probably got their financial,and legal team quite excited. Had it been one of their 'off the shelf' models then things may have been different.
Yes we know that if these machines went into the civvy world common sense would prevail and they would all be flying again; however that would make the whole ATC/RAF/MOD/2FTS operation look very amateur and may even prompt even more questions as to various 'capabilities' amongst those running the show, and getting well paid to not provide anything.
Sad to say that the Air Cadet Organisation has been badly let down by those paid to provide a service, but not let down by those providing the actual flying training at the 'schools'. The whole 2 FTS 'thing' is an expensive joke, and just a cost that does not justify itself. But the real E I T Room is this whole debacle shows what a COMPLETE LACK OF LEADERSHIP AND ABILITY HAS BEFALLEN THE CADET ORGANISATION AS A WHOLE, and unless that gets changed nothing else will, and they will just produce more spin, hype, twatter,and fancy adverts, promoting their sad attempts to keep their jobs going. All these people had to do was to keep the standards up, and 'maintain' the situation, as the 'system' at source was NOT BROKEN and indeed never was from a delivery of flying training point.
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Old 7th May 2018, 18:27
  #4347 (permalink)  
 
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The buck stops, where?

Can I suggest that anyone sympathetic to the Air Cadet gliding debacle attending a mutual back-slapping in this RAF 100 year could try and raise awareness of the situation that has occurred? The intention being, to precipitate a drive for future Air Cadet gliding cast in the mould of it's previous success!

OAP
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Old 7th May 2018, 19:09
  #4348 (permalink)  
 
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Retirement is one thing, euthanasia through neglect and incompetence quite another. A sad end for the Vigilant and another bad day for the ACO.
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Old 7th May 2018, 19:36
  #4349 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Bigpants View Post
Retirement is one thing, euthanasia through neglect and incompetence quite another. A sad end for the Vigilant and another bad day for the ACO.
The ACOs bad days are coming thick and fast and managerial incompetnce from the 'Towers' is responsible.


Just recently walked away from working with the ACO as they have been breaking all their own rules and the lies and deceit from the management is sickening.
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Old 7th May 2018, 19:42
  #4350 (permalink)  
 
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What a total and utter shambles! The cadets will suffer and I know that the volunteer staff at all levels are more than unimpressed! I have very recently retired from the ACO due to a mixture of old age and complete disgust at the way it is being run by the full-time (paid!) so called "professionals"!! The staff on the Squadrons, Wing etc. must be really fed up (not guessing!!).

Bill
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Old 7th May 2018, 20:58
  #4351 (permalink)  
 
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Middleton will still get a Knighthood for his services to the ACO.
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Old 8th May 2018, 07:53
  #4352 (permalink)  
 
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There's little point having a go at the Middleton person. You need to view this as another Nimrod MRA4. Read the Nimrod Review, but substitute Gliders for Nimrod. Or do the same with ANY of the Airworthiness Review Team reports of the 90s. Or the Director Internal Audit report of 1996. Or the EAC audit report of 1988. The blame lies higher up, and goes back many years.
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Old 8th May 2018, 10:09
  #4353 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by tucumseh View Post
There's little point having a go at the Middleton person. You need to view this as another Nimrod MRA4. Read the Nimrod Review, but substitute Gliders for Nimrod. Or do the same with ANY of the Airworthiness Review Team reports of the 90s. Or the Director Internal Audit report of 1996. Or the EAC audit report of 1988. The blame lies higher up, and goes back many years.
There is a point in having a go. Not so much for the engineering failure, which is clearly not of his making, but for his abject failure to treat with any kind of decency, courtesy or respect the men and women who have decided- often against their better judgement- to continue to work for him for free because otherwise the kids will lose out. Please trust me when I say this, nobody who has met the man has a decent word to say about him and, given a choice, they will take active steps to avoid him. He is a complete morale hoover for both his own staff and any crewroom he waddles into. I save the use of the C-bomb for very special cases and he exceeds every metric I use. I'm glad I'm free of the whole mess.
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Old 8th May 2018, 11:17
  #4354 (permalink)  
 
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Cat Funt (great!), I cannot disagree with you, but you describe many in MoD other than Middleton; both serving and civilian. Management sets the tone. As his management (ultimately the Air Staff) also acts like this, Middleton is encouraged in his manner.
While the problems on gliders have come to a head this decade, the underlying systemic failures were notified to these very senior staff in, at latest, January 1988. Gliders are simply the latest in a long line of failures, many of which resulted in avoidable deaths. What I'd like to know is why it has taken so long. Nimrod MRA4 was (belatedly) cancelled 8 years ago because it could never be made airworthy. Gliders suffered the same way. You need to join the dots. In 2011, when Flt Lt Cunningham was killed, MoD had to admit there was no valid Hawk safety case. Same with gliders. Same Type Airworthiness Authority. If you want to start somewhere with an individual, there's a clue. But work upwards, not downwards.
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Old 8th May 2018, 11:57
  #4355 (permalink)  
 
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Quiz Time.........fingers at the ready!

The Vigilant 'fleet' is being replaced with?

A) a nice new fleet of shiny motor-gliders.
B) f**k all.

Management will get?

A) the sack.
B) medals.
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Old 8th May 2018, 14:55
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Tuc, of course you are right with the practical explanation and perhaps the very fact that aircraft have been grounded/withdrawn/destroyed is indicative of senior officers actually waking-up to the issues and doing the 'right thing' (insofar as they recognise the problem and from a personal level are unwilling to continue the charade). However, that leaves two major issues - One, how do you get out of the mess without available cash? Two, how do you retain a vital volunteer 'force' if you are ever going to stop the rot or have devised a cunning plan to answer question one?

I spent a mere quarter of a century in the RAF and can say, hand on heart, that the current AOC 22 Gp (Bunny) and previous (Andy T) are good men and they are strong managers; the same cannot be said of Comdt 2 FTS. Of course, AOCs don't have much influence here, it's far more convoluted.
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Old 8th May 2018, 14:55
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A while back I was talking to some Boy Scouts at a town parade, I was with the local ATC squadron. A couple of the scouts said they wanted to join the RAF so I asked why they stayed in the scouts and did not join the ATC.
Their collective response was "Why would we do that? We can do far more in the scouts" - They, in their youth, hit the nail on the head.
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Old 8th May 2018, 16:15
  #4358 (permalink)  
 
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Angry

Originally Posted by planesandthings View Post
Just when you thought the recovery was well underway JM and 2FTS drop another bombshell. Farewell Vigilant fleet 2 years early, see below

'The 2016 relaunch of Air Cadet Gliding stated we would operate up to 15 Vigilant powered gliders with an Out of Service Date (OSD) of October 2019, 6 having been recovered already. The recovery of remaining 9 Vigilant aircraft relied on an innovative recovery proposal from Grob Aircraft SE. This is no longer an option. The removal of this option, challenging technical support for 2 fleets, and low Vigilant availability mean that continued operation of Vigilant is no longer considered viable. Consequently, we will withdraw the Vigilant glider fleet from service immediately, bringing forward its planned OSD. The Topcliffe VGS will convert to the Viking aircraft earlier than originally planned. This approach will free up engineers and allow the glider engineering enterprise to focus solely on the safe recovery and operation of the Viking fleet.'
At 4pm today the 'fleet' were withdrawn for good.
I hope the volunteers were informed before the rest of the ACO/BADER was. Lots of hard work out the window. Hope there's enough volunteer motivaton at places like Topcliffe to have a strong and successful transition to Vikings.

Who knows where the Vigilants will end up..
We found out about a few hours before the BADER release!

Last edited by boswell bear; 8th May 2018 at 16:28.
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Old 8th May 2018, 16:25
  #4359 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by boswell bear View Post
We found out about an hour before the BADER release!

Really good management, NOT !!!
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Old 8th May 2018, 17:32
  #4360 (permalink)  
 
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Cows

I cannot speak for the volunteer force, except to sympathise with their plight. These people gave their time freely only to be royally shat upon.

But I can offer personal experience on
how do you get out of the mess without available cash?
.
What may at first be a limitation, can easily become a constraint if allowed to fester. This case is a good example.
From what little I know, when this glider problem was identified it was a limitation. Clearing it should be self-tasked by the most junior civil servant engineer in the Service HQ. You don't need telling. It's a line item in your TORs. When in that position many moons ago (on avionics), it was a routine expectation that I find that money, from underspends or offsets. (I think £22M was the most I had to find at the drop of a hat). Effectively, it was an in-year project, but without the nause of submissions and approvals. Far less hassle than a UOR. There is a Def Stan that is the bible. Write down the problems, and find where they're mentioned. (And the WILL be). Read, and implement.
Admittedly, I didn't have to deal with a Middleton. Usually it was Commander (Air) at a Typed Air Station. But the principles are the same. You're there to help, and I've never come across anyone who wasn't on-side. From a civvy's perspective, that is a good system. If you do come across a Middleton, you find yourself with an address book full of contacts, many senior to him. It may seem odd to a serviceman within a strict rank structure, but "You're standing into danger" and a half page briefing is usually enough. In short order, he's called his (real) #2, the Charge Chief. Almost certainly he already knows of the problem and solution, but the Service culture has made it difficult to raise at a high enough level to authorise resources and red tape cutting. But now, #1 is telling him to crack on. He gladly does the work, as he's now got top cover and resources. I guarantee those on gliders will be nodding sagely.
Now, tell me why today's PTs and the MAA can't do this. Starter for ten. None of them have ever experienced a word of what I've said.
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