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Air Cadets grounded?

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Air Cadets grounded?

Old 14th Mar 2019, 10:22
  #4741 (permalink)  
 
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Good phrase "re energise the system it lays the foundations for the next generation". In my opinion for this to happen the Air Cadet Organisation needs its own budget separate from MOD and the freedom to look seriously at a self build programme of new light aircraft constructed under LAA rules. If you want to get young people engaged with STEM and flying then get an Air Cadet Wing to self build an aircraft under supervision with individual Squadrons assembling parts. The aircraft could then be flown under CAA rules from local airfields.

Something like this has been tried under sponsorship RAeS and Boeing UK and this could be up scaled to reach more cadets.

The problem was never with the volunteers and VGS/AEF "frontline" staff it was with the senior idiots who civilianised cadet flying 20 years ago.
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Old 14th Mar 2019, 12:20
  #4742 (permalink)  
 
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Bigpants:-

In my opinion for this to happen the Air Cadet Organisation needs its own budget separate from MOD and the freedom to look seriously at a self build programme of new light aircraft constructed under LAA rules.

Good post. It was the Lack of Airworthiness Authority (aka the MOD) that precipitated this crisis in the first place. Just as UK Military Airworthiness reform can only occur if Regulation and Investigation are made truly independent of the MOD and of each other, so ACO gliding needs to be independent of the MOD if it is ever to get its cadets airborne again in demonstrably airworthy aircraft.
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Old 14th Mar 2019, 18:19
  #4743 (permalink)  
 
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Old 15th Mar 2019, 14:59
  #4744 (permalink)  
 
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Will he be as England centric as Pippa was or will we see gliding back in the Principality or the Highlands or poor wee Nor'n Ir'n? Probably not
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Old 15th Mar 2019, 18:50
  #4745 (permalink)  
 
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Option for Return of 662 VGS to RM Condor, Arbroath

Originally Posted by ACW342 View Post
Will he be as England centric as Pippa was or will we see gliding back in the Principality or the Highlands or poor wee Nor'n Ir'n? Probably not
Gp Capt Dale is a fresh pair of eyes and intelligent.

The recent Defence Estate announcement confirmed that the airfield at RM Condor, Arbroath (former home of 662 VGS) was now to be retained indefinitely (i.e. zero plans for closure), so there is no reason why 662 VGS could not re-emerge there. It is a great airfield, in the right place, with zero airspace restrictions and decent hangars and other facilities. The Royal Marines have always been extremely accommodating, even to the point of still welcoming former 662 VGS members back for Mess social functions, so the relationship is strong. The Ministerial Announcement in 2016 allowed for 11 Volunteer Gliding Squadrons (if you read it carefully), not 10.
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Old 15th Mar 2019, 19:24
  #4746 (permalink)  
 
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That 11 was before the withdrawal of the vigilant 2 of the 11 were going to operate. There aren't the airframes to equip 11
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Old 15th Mar 2019, 19:34
  #4747 (permalink)  
 
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11 Volunteer Gliding Squadrons is Ministerial Position

My point is that the Ministerial Statement allows for up to 11 VGS (indeed, it actually directs that there will be 11 VGSs); it is the RAF's choice how many VGSs it chooses to equip - depending on (as you say) glider availability.
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Old 16th Mar 2019, 18:40
  #4748 (permalink)  
 
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Wethersfield:

In 2014 2FTS produced a somewhat incomplete draft glider aerodrome requirements document which has yet to be accepted by the Military Aviation Authority (MAA).

Subsequent to this draft an inspection report in 2015 by 2FTS of Wethersfield saw no reasons why gliding could not continue at there with some minor issues addressed.

Then in 2016 a yet unpublished inspection report indicated that 1.4m was required for the runway (singular) to meet MAA standards, and this was the primary reason for the 614 VGS relocation. This was strange, the (MAA) Manual of Aerodrome Design and Safeguarding is based on the runway lengths. So, using that criteria at Wethersfield with it’s very useful long runways, the regulation was based on large international aerodromes which would explain the 1.4m. The use of such criteria is not really suitable for a conventional glider site for many reasons that principally include safety and cost.

The MOD appeared to have justified this significant cost decision based on this flawed assessment for some reason ignoring numerous other options the site has to offer in terms of safety and facilities.

This was perplexing for staff at 614 VGS who know the site in detail, particularly considering the historic difficulties in retaining conventional gliding sites for Air Cadet gliding over the decades. Following the usual interactions with 2FTS some staff at 614 VGS decided to conducted some further research. This examined the application at Wethersfield of MAA/ ICAO based aerodrome safety requirements in a conventional gliding context, that included hangar facilities and other facilities the site offered. Relevant people from the aviation industry who were suitably qualified and experienced were engaged to assist with this in their subject areas. This report, as an example of the options available, described 3 options ranging from a basic 18K with some operational restrictions to a 550K longer term investment option.

It was sent to the MOD in February 2018. The MOD did not respond.

As of today, 614 VGS are at Swanton Morley which is less accessible to a larger majority of cadets than their previous home. With no hangar, no cadet accommodation, poor staff accommodation, no garage facilities for vehicles or equipment, a shared office/ PTT facility with 611 AGS along with their PTT, a future office in the old listed Tower (therefore expensive to renovate) which requires work and a fence around airfield with no gate wide enough to allow a rigged Viking on or off it. With all this, it comes at a much higher cost than Wethersfield, what were they thinking?

Last edited by Oopscheck; 17th Mar 2019 at 19:47. Reason: Minor text edit
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Old 17th Mar 2019, 13:32
  #4749 (permalink)  
 
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Just a cursory glance at the piccies of Wethersfield show it to be in as good if not better condition than Lasham, the busiest gliding centre in the country.
When I was WGLO with Herts & Bucks Wing ATC, we were split between 3 x VGS; Halton, Henlow and to a lesser extent Abingdon (previously Benson); at one time for about 6 weeks, I was WGLO for all 3.
There are no 'local' gliding schools left near this wing now, so where will cadets go for AEG/BGT?
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Old 17th Mar 2019, 17:53
  #4750 (permalink)  
 
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The Wethersfield Opportunity

Oopscheck, chevvron,

Now the context has changed (i.e. Wethersfield is staying open) then there is the opportunity to continue to use Wethersfield for a VGS (which would not have to be 614 VGS by the way; it could quite easily be another, unused VGS 'numberplate'). This could occur for a good many years and at very modest cost compared with other Air Cadet infrastructure projects (VGS and non-VGS related). This would represent a great return on investment not only for cadets but also for the taxpayer. Gliding at Wethersfield (with a reset NOTAM) could resume almost immediately.

Now that things have changed, it would be fairly straightforward for people to work together to achieve this, and with very little effort given that Wethersfield operated a VGS (614 VGS) for about 30 years, up until the first day of the 'pause' in Air Cadet gliding on 17 April 2014.
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Old 9th Apr 2019, 20:05
  #4751 (permalink)  
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Kenley Officer's Mess ravaged by fire again...

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Old 10th Apr 2019, 06:11
  #4752 (permalink)  
 
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May I suggest the elephant in the room isn't necessarily real estate. The word in our corner of the Empire is:

2-4 serviceable airframes per VGS, probably closer to two than four.
Fatigue management plan limiting each airframe to 200 launches/year.
An out-of-service date of 2025.
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Old 10th Apr 2019, 06:29
  #4753 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Cows getting bigger View Post
May I suggest the elephant in the room isn't necessarily real estate. The word in our corner of the Empire is:

2-4 serviceable airframes per VGS, probably closer to two than four.
Fatigue management plan limiting each airframe to 200 launches/year.
An out-of-service date of 2025.
Which airframes are these? Vikings? Vigilants?
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Old 10th Apr 2019, 06:59
  #4754 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by cats_five View Post
Which airframes are these? Vikings? Vigilants?
Vikings

Unit I'm close to just got it's first gliding slots (first flying slots of any kind) since late 2017. 4 spaces, and it's a unit of 60+. And that's it till at least September.

Flying in the air cadets is dead, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
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Old 10th Apr 2019, 07:19
  #4755 (permalink)  
 
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I'm not supposed to tell you that the young people I had in the aircraft yesterday were Air Cadets.
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Old 10th Apr 2019, 08:22
  #4756 (permalink)  
 
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Typo

Erm is that 200 launches per year per airframe?

Where does that fit into normal useage before the pause versus Civil gliding numbers?

Doesn't seem very high
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Old 10th Apr 2019, 08:47
  #4757 (permalink)  
 
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What is the fatigue issue with a composite airframe?
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Old 10th Apr 2019, 09:06
  #4758 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by beardy View Post
I'm not supposed to tell you that the young people I had in the aircraft yesterday were Air Cadets.
Some units, by fluke of geography, are getting more, it's true.

And there are these "experience days" where cadets get 15 minutes in a Chinook once a year, which while nice, don't come close to replicating the time they used to get only a few years ago actually flying and taking control.

But considering the size of the air cadets versus the size of the RAF, its not all that surprising. What is surprising is the continued propaganda being spouted by HQAC with regards to it all. If they were more honest about the reality of the situation there'd be a lot less animosity towards them.
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Old 10th Apr 2019, 09:34
  #4759 (permalink)  
 
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I'm not sure that 20 minutes in a Tutor with a pilot (who might never have been a QFI) is going to appeal quite as much as being taught to fly to solo standard in a Viking?

Certainly an Air Cadet instructor colleague of mine reckons that hanging around all day for a short AEF flight doesn't have anything like the appeal to his cadets as Vigilant flying once did. As for the part task trainers, he reckons that they're worse than useless and cause a degree of negative training.

Is that the generally-held view amongst those who instruct Air Cadets these days?
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Old 10th Apr 2019, 09:45
  #4760 (permalink)  
 
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Shaft109 - you're right to suspect that 200 launches p.a per glider is unimpressive. Our small weekend-only club last year managed 1300 launches between two training gliders or 650 per glider. I'm guessing that the 7-day a week clubs manage well north of 1000 launches per glider. So if you can solo a student from 50 launches that only represents 4 students per annum per glider, even assuming no Air Experience flying gets in the way of Ab Initio training. Not hugely impressive.
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