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Air Cadets grounded?

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Air Cadets grounded?

Old 10th Apr 2019, 10:02
  #4761 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
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Originally Posted by BEagle View Post
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?
Fwiw, cadets hate the PTT, but the new 'syllabus' means they have to use them first before being allowed near anything that actually flies.

Viking vs Tutor isn't really a question for them. Most cadets haven't had either for years, so anything is better than nothing.
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Old 10th Apr 2019, 11:54
  #4762 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
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Quite a few errors creeping in. 200 launches a year is not correct. All the ones Iíve seen are limited to 200 launches between inspections. The inspections are very minor and the aircraft is normally good to fly another 200 launches by the next weekend.

I would say the majority of the instructors dislike the PTT but most cadets Iíve flown seem to enjoy it.

As for the claim that they canít go near flying until after the PTT thatís not true. They can fly the tutor first then visit a VGS/AGS as and when and get the rest of the training completed. Our unit often fly cadets before doing the PTT to make use of a weather gap etc.

The negative training element you refer to is a possible concern, however we do not use the ptt for anything other than blue and bronze (gic). I donít like it but like I say most cadets Iíve asked do and gives them a starting point for the airborne tasks or consolidates the training.
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Old 10th Apr 2019, 12:15
  #4763 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2014
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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.
The fatigue management plan doesn't limit 200 launches per year at all. The planning assumptions is only marginally reduced from it's prepause level of 966. Plus there are recovered Vikings with over 7500 launches to use over the next 5 1/2 years if max launches and OSD are to match up.
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Old 10th Apr 2019, 15:43
  #4764 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Originally Posted by hoodie View Post
What is the fatigue issue with a composite airframe?
I have no idea why such a limit. We have K21 gliders where I fly and they do about 500 hours per year, which will be many more launches than 500 as almost no training flight is as long as an hour. Indeed quite a few are a couple of minutes or less. (practise cable breaks)

K21s can now be relifed to 18,000 hours.

And whilst these are not K21s, they don't have substantially lower life limits.
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Old 10th Apr 2019, 16:40
  #4765 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Glider111 View Post
Quite a few errors creeping in. 200 launches a year is not correct. All the ones Iíve seen are limited to 200 launches between inspections. The inspections are very minor and the aircraft is normally good to fly another 200 launches by the next weekend.

I would say the majority of the instructors dislike the PTT but most cadets Iíve flown seem to enjoy it.

As for the claim that they canít go near flying until after the PTT thatís not true. They can fly the tutor first then visit a VGS/AGS as and when and get the rest of the training completed. Our unit often fly cadets before doing the PTT to make use of a weather gap etc.

The negative training element you refer to is a possible concern, however we do not use the ptt for anything other than blue and bronze (gic). I donít like it but like I say most cadets Iíve asked do and gives them a starting point for the airborne tasks or consolidates the training.
That's assuming there's any flying availablity.

We've not had Tutors available for 2 years. We've not had gliders available for almost as long.

We're advertising a false reality.
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Old 10th Apr 2019, 18:02
  #4766 (permalink)  
 
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Thank you, cats_five and Glider111. It's good to know the situation may be bleak but not quite as bleak as painted in places.
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Old 10th Apr 2019, 19:00
  #4767 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
Last I heard the Vigilants were to be literally scrapped, presumably because if they were sold off to the public and an accident occured which could be attributed to a unrecorded repair, MOD might face a law suit of some sort.
Strewth! That is appalling. Scrapping aircraft which could have useful remaining lives in civilian use because of a perceived future legal threat. I had have thought careful wording of any sale should avoid that. What happened to 'caveat emptor'?

Fine machines - sad.
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Old 10th Apr 2019, 22:14
  #4768 (permalink)  
 
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Its not that bad really

Now come on chaps its not all doom and gloom.
I have it on very good authority that Crass Control at Cranwell have ordered some extra Group Captain uniforms for a new batch of 'celeb endorsee's',and that even now Boscombe Down are engaged in fatigue testing of replacement heated seats for the PTT.
This has been a bit of a problem after the initial batch were found to have the incorrect thermostats fitted (some mix up on e;bay with centigrade & F-Ht) and time ex'ed VGS staff used for the tests (because they had a plentiful supply) were seen to be hurling themselves into an adjacent water tank with their A...... on fire.
New badge for the Corps Staff replacing Venture Adventure with a Red and Yellow flash stating WE ARE ALL FIRED UP WITH ATC GLIDING.
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Old 10th Apr 2019, 22:18
  #4769 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
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Originally Posted by POBJOY;10444613
.
New badge for the Corps Staff replacing Venture Adventure with a Red and Yellow flash stating [b
WE ARE ALL FIRED UP WITH ATC GLIDING.[/b]
Shouldn't that read FED UP...?

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Old 11th Apr 2019, 07:15
  #4770 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by biscuit74 View Post
Strewth! That is appalling. Scrapping aircraft which could have useful remaining lives in civilian use because of a perceived future legal threat. I had have thought careful wording of any sale should avoid that. What happened to 'caveat emptor'?

Fine machines - sad.
While that may be the public explanation, I suspect it's more likely due to the embarrassing prospect of them flying again within 6 months on the civil register...
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Old 11th Apr 2019, 07:26
  #4771 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Great yarmouth, Norfolk UK
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Air Cadet flying

Last year I quit as an ATC instructor after 42 years. I had become totally fed up with the way the senior management of the organisation (=HQAC) were performing. They had driven most of the fun out of the organisation through piling more and more paperwork, risk assessments and other stuff onto the staff. On my unit we had two CI's doing nothing but admin work every week. What really hurt the most was seeing cadets spend most of their ATC career without getting airborne. The way gliding has gone is a national disgrace, which, thanks to MP's squabbling over Brexit will be quietly swept to one side.

The only saving grace I saw was when we had our AEF for Tutor flying changed. I'll not name either unit here as I don't want to embarrass those involved. When we changed units, the difference between the two was enormous. We were met on arrival and the unit staff ran the job with great efficiency, which meant the cadets were processed and flown without the delivering staff needing to get involved. They all had a great time, due in no great part to the enthusiasm of the unit staff. Every time I took cadets here there were also spaces made available for we staff to fly as well. That was impressive.

When I left I wrote to ma'am at HQAC to explain why I was going and put over my point of view. To her great credit, she wrote back within two days of my letter arriving. Sadly, I don't think she answered many of my points, although at least she knows how this tiny cog in the ATC machine felt. To those of you who soldier on, I wish you all the best and sincerely hope that one day things will get better. REading this thread, and noting it's length, we may well achieve Brexit before that happens.
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Old 11th Apr 2019, 07:42
  #4772 (permalink)  
 
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As usual only about half the truth is getting out , the vilgilants could be sold but the MoD will only sell to organisations capable of inspecting and releasing the aircraft to EASA 145 standard, this is because of leagal liability over previous maintenance history.

The issue now becomes who is going to buy such an aircraft ? They will require substantial inspection and an engine retrofit as the current engine is no longer in production. My guess is that even if released from the RAF at a very low price the cost of the aircraft in fit for gliding club service would be in IRO £100k per aircraft and this only if a production run of ten or so aircraft financed up front.

While this might be achievable with the right customer you can see the difficulty as there are very few gliding clubs or individuals who are likely to have £100K to spend on such a project .
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Old 11th Apr 2019, 20:31
  #4773 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks for that A&C. That makes a little more sense.

On the engine topic - did the RAF change that from the Grob 2500 which the 109B used? There are quite a few of those still happily flying in the civilian world. Being out of production doesn't necessarily mean they can't still be used - for example Gypsy engines are still used by quite a few machines...
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Old 12th Apr 2019, 07:16
  #4774 (permalink)  
 
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Biscuit74

The engine problem is one of limmited availability , production of parts stopped some years back And unlike the Gypsy there is no big stockpile of parts from years of production or large support network.

Due to leagal issues with the airframe the inspection would return this to almost new standard so no operator is going to invest a sum of capital In an airframe that has an engine with a very uncertain future.

Find someone who wants a fleet of 20+ aircraft and has the cash and the project would work, the result of spreading the cost across twenty or so units would also bring down the unit cost a little.
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Old 12th Apr 2019, 14:34
  #4775 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Originally Posted by bobward View Post
Last year I quit as an ATC instructor after 42 years. I had become totally fed up with the way the senior management of the organisation (=HQAC) were performing. They had driven most of the fun out of the organisation through piling more and more paperwork, risk assessments and other stuff onto the staff. On my unit we had two CI's doing nothing but admin work every week. What really hurt the most was seeing cadets spend most of their ATC career without getting airborne. The way gliding has gone is a national disgrace, which, thanks to MP's squabbling over Brexit will be quietly swept to one side.

The only saving grace I saw was when we had our AEF for Tutor flying changed. I'll not name either unit here as I don't want to embarrass those involved. When we changed units, the difference between the two was enormous. We were met on arrival and the unit staff ran the job with great efficiency, which meant the cadets were processed and flown without the delivering staff needing to get involved. They all had a great time, due in no great part to the enthusiasm of the unit staff. Every time I took cadets here there were also spaces made available for we staff to fly as well. That was impressive.

When I left I wrote to ma'am at HQAC to explain why I was going and put over my point of view. To her great credit, she wrote back within two days of my letter arriving. Sadly, I don't think she answered many of my points, although at least she knows how this tiny cog in the ATC machine felt. To those of you who soldier on, I wish you all the best and sincerely hope that one day things will get better. REading this thread, and noting it's length, we may well achieve Brexit before that happens.
I've been out for ten years now having been pleased to served in and out of uniform with the ACO for almost thirty years beforehand and sadly nothing you have written surprises me. The writing was on the wall when they prematurely moved on a certain A/Cdre who had an amazing rapport with cadets and staff because he was making too many positive inroads and dragging the ACO towards the 21st century. Personally I think the ACO will never get back to that position of strength, although the current CAC (with whom I have corresponded) does seem to have the PR side of things sorted in terms of getting the ACO/RAFC into the public eye.
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Old 12th Apr 2019, 16:52
  #4776 (permalink)  
 
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(Grob 2500 Engine

For Grob engine read VW type 4.
Limbach were 'converting' VW for years with all consumable parts available (and to a very high spec).
The LAA have already confirmed they will have no issues certifying these engines or being able to oversee 'zero timing when required'.
Just to remind people that when Rollason at Croydon produced their range of Ardem VW engines 1200-1600 cc in those days ALL the parts came from the local VW dealer in Croydon. These were the engines that powered the original ATC ( Motor Falkes) and in many cases are still going well in their original airframes. So there is nothing too difficult in the original engine situation if operated under the LAA system. In fact considering the original 109 was designed as a TOURING Motor Glider not a circuit basher, I think that rather dispels the myths regarding engines, and in most cases the aircraft were operating at a higher all up weight than originally designed for, which shows how well it coped. IRMC.

Of course it is not surprising that the VW engine converts so well as its origins stemmed from its 'aviation led designer' which it why it was so light (Mag crankcase) and if correctly cooled (cowled) and keeps its oil coolers performs so well. The 'Hot Ship' VW engines used lightweight Porsche barrels with chrome bores.
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Old 13th Apr 2019, 01:19
  #4777 (permalink)  
 
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Tuned up VW Engine

It so happened that a certain ultralight VW powered aircraft (Rollason Turbulent) was 'improved' for racing. On the airframe side it received some 'cleaning up' including a reduced height windscreen and spats, gap sealing etc, but, but its real 'boost' came from an engine with high comp pistons and a prop that was matched to give speed rather than climb. The end result was a machine that could exceed its vne in level flight if run flat out.
The Duke of E flew one such machine on a normal flight, and unknown at the time (and unconnected) it later broke a crank (but still landed ok).
It transpired that there was nothing wrong with the basic crankshaft, but with a lack of a flywheel there was an extra stress condition and the cast crank would start to crack from a part number marking. Later engine models started to use forged cranks and have given decades of faultless service.
The original prototype ATC Slingsby Falke was delivered with a hand pull lever starter similar to that on the RF4. The RAF were not really aware that this was normally only used for airborne starts to get over the initial compressions, and of course the engine became difficult to start on the ground, as everyone else would hand swing the prop which was a normal operation. The standard Rollason Ardem had dual ignition (with lucas tractor mags in those days) so that side of things did not help the weight especially when fitted with an impulse coupling for starting.
If we fast fwd to the present time and the Grob 2500 engine this was produced with twin carbs with a high mounting so added a complexity not present in most VW conversions as any fuel/heat/airlock situation can lead to a very uneven engine balance if both carbs are not working in harmony. An interesting potential project could be to utilise an available fuel injection system with a single fwd facing air inlet that gives an element of ram air (as per normal light aircraft situation) and also reduces the usual 'carb icing' potential. All this could be done under the LAA system and may well be a solution for the future. It is quite obvious that the basic 109 is a well proven machine, and if operated at sensible weights as designed is quite capable of launching itself without problems. It does not need an expensive re-engine program (nor a glass cockpit) to perform as designed, and having served the Air Cadets so well for its required service life it could still proceed to its next life under the LAA as have the motor Falkes.

ATC gliding is never coming back 'as was' due to many factors; the main one being crass top management. However the legacy of this volunteer training machine will always be remembered for its ability to inspire youth to achieve solo flight with minimum fuss and maximum effectiveness, and as such it had no equal anywhere in the world. Be proud for its memory.
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Old 13th Apr 2019, 08:32
  #4778 (permalink)  
 
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Hear hear Pobjoy, hear hear!!
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Old 13th Apr 2019, 09:13
  #4779 (permalink)  
 
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While I completely agree with Pobjoy on technical issues and the direction that would be best for air cadet gliding we have to face the fact that the the world has moved on and the public perseption of risk has changed from an acceptance that risk is part of life to an almost fanatical attitude that there should be no risk in life and this should be assured by someone in charge.

It therefore follows that the public perseption is that their children should be exposed to no more risk than flying with the air cadets than they would if they get on an airliner to go on holiday, so despite the excellent stewardship of gliding demonstrated by the BGA their standards of maintenance and operation would be branded as unprofessional by the lawyers and as cheapskating with children’s lives by the press. I can just see the headlines if a cadet dies in an a accident powered by an autiomotive derived VW “ RAF kill child with in aircraft powered with second hand car motor “ would be the cry from the BBC.

It therefore follows that the minimum standard for maintenance is EASA145 with operations standards that match, this of course comes at a price but the RAF could keep this in check by looking more carefully at the way airlines run EASA145 rather than it’s own triple gold plated interpretation of the regulations .

Like Pobjoy I can remember that days when people realised that life was risk filled and it was a personal responsibility to manage that risk, unfortunately we have moved on to a culture that thinks risk is someone else’s responsibility and there are the ambulance chasing lawyer to back up this perseption. This is the world that the RAF have to work with and the current policy towards air cadet gliding has to be seen in this light when managing air cadet flying safely.

The one place that the RAF could improve its delivery of cadet gliding is in managing the performance ( or lack of ) by its contractors with a minimum fleet serviceability rate that if not met would attract financal penalty’s.
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Old 13th Apr 2019, 10:08
  #4780 (permalink)  
 
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Pobjoy & A and C

Good posts. I would add, however, that when parents encourage their children to fly in MoD gliders, they assume (reasonably) that MoD has complied with regulations mandated upon it. It does not; and that is where acceptabe risk becomes gambling - both on MoD's and the parents part. The trouble is, the latter have nothing to base their decision on, except false assurances by MoD. That MoD permits and encourages these false assurances is the real problem. Mercifully, such contempt for the law is rarer in commercial aviation (notwithstanding recent events) but, as A and C says, parents apply the same standards to both. The risk of anything untoward happening while gliding is indeed low, but parents should be aware that MoD consciously increases the probability of occurrence as a means of saving money. No commercial enterprise, especially in the UK, would (or should) be allowed to get away with that, which is why I agree with the call to hand gliding over to a reputable company.

As many have pointed out, to MoD the re-setting of these assurances is prohibitively expensive, due in part to a poor or non-existent airworthiness audit trail. Yes, with enough money this can be recovered, but it is not a case of issuing a single plan for a fleet. Each aircraft must be addressed separately. The results of the survey must be reconcilable with the accompanying historical documentation. In practice, a 'Beyond Economical Recovery/Repair' price is agreed. As soon as that is reached, a tail number is scrapped. Long ago the RAF decided to stop resourcing the management of this. A figure of £100k per aircraft was mentioned, above. In 1990, avionic LRUs costing more than this were declared 'consumable' and scrapped, simply to avoid the perceived hassle of managing a repair. I recall an RN Board of Inquiry being gobsmacked at this, but it explained why two-thirds of the Sea Harrier fleet didn't have a full nav system.

No contractor would agree to minimum fleet serviceability rate without a caveat saying if the cause of delay was down to historical MoD actions, then there is no liability. Contractors tend not to want to embarrass MoD with this, so there exists a standard 'emergent work' clause that is simply inserted in the contract without comment. This requires MoD to have (a) a resident engineer on site, and (b) he must be intimately familiar with the product. Neither is MoD policy, and hasn't been for over 25 years. The term 'blank cheque' comes to mind.
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