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Air Cadets grounded?

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Air Cadets grounded?

Old 2nd Dec 2019, 17:28
  #4881 (permalink)  
 
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If they are interested in flying then the air cadets is still a great place for them. The solo element of flying hasnít left and several VGSs are back to having cadets flying cadets. Sure if they have rich parents then there are faster and guaranteed ways to buy yourself into aviation. Being an air cadet or part of any youth organisation offers far more than just flying, as alluded to in other posts. The air cadets are not grounded but this thread that fails to die must be putting some people of.

Also please tell me more about other retired types we could get back in the air... Iím a big fan of the gannet
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Old 2nd Dec 2019, 17:36
  #4882 (permalink)  
 
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Hoodie To be honest i do not think there was a real attempt from the RAF/MOD to see these machine go on to another lease of life in their current form.
Despite any cogent tech reason for this and the genuine LAA support (the Tech masters in this field) a very expensive option of re-engine and certification for future use.was considered to be the ONLY option to release then out of service use. Had the LAA themselves offered to take the fleet and operate them 'in house' for very economical youngster flight experience then it would have been very hard to find fault with that option, but this was not on the table at the time.
The actual machines have many years of life left and the engines can easily be overhauled, as high spec replacement parts are readily available.
Considering the original machines were used for Cadet training (including solo flight) then it must be seen that they performed well despite not being designed for the job. Anyone who went through a 'Vigilant' Cadet training course would have had a very good introduction of light aircraft handling plus the added 'delight' of mastering a tail wheel machine. None of this would have been wasted when progressing on to other types so it has to be said that the decision to introduce the Vigilant was sound. Another factor for their use was the ongoing difficulty in finding suitable sites for the conventional winch launch gliding which was proving difficult to co habit with regular RAF airfields or Civ GA locations.

Last edited by POBJOY; 2nd Dec 2019 at 17:50.
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Old 2nd Dec 2019, 17:42
  #4883 (permalink)  
 
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The actual machines have many years of life left and the engines can easily be overhauled
Forgive me if I misunderstood, but I thought that this could not be proven. I thought that the paper trail was incomplete for work undertaken.
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Old 2nd Dec 2019, 17:54
  #4884 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks POBJOY. That's quite depressing. I hope they aren't just left to rot as it sounds like they could still be viable if the right commercial arrangement could be found.

Fingers crossed.
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Old 2nd Dec 2019, 19:01
  #4885 (permalink)  
 
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Engine extension and OH

Originally Posted by beardy View Post
Forgive me if I misunderstood, but I thought that this could not be proven. I thought that the paper trail was incomplete for work undertaken.
The Vigilant engine is a Grob adaptation of the VW type 4 flat four air cooled motor, similar to that as used by Limbach and offered in 2.4 ltr form.
Grob needed more power and adapted the engine (bore increase to 2.5 ltr)
As most motor gliders use single ignition the standard heads can be used so parts costs are economical.
Under the LAA (the masters of VW engine use) engines can be reworked and OH under their inspector system which is both tech competent and very economical. This is because the engines are not used commercially (public transport). Every component is available for the Type 4 motor and indeed over the years a whole industry has developed supplying quality parts (including new high spec forged cranks).
When you add the long history of VW aero use and the tech expertise of the LAA there was a very cogent case for the current VIG engine to carry on in civ use.
Remember the VIG engine has no gearbox (unlike the Rotax) so it is a very simple unit that uses standard components for its main parts. The cost saving here are substantial and so is the reliability of the basic block and crank. Sorry another bleak, doom laden post from the west. But stating the facts !!!!
Anyone not familiar with the LAA (former PFA) system would be amazed at the level of expertise within that organisation, and its contribution to 'Flight' for anyone is considerable.

Last edited by POBJOY; 2nd Dec 2019 at 19:04. Reason: content
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Old 2nd Dec 2019, 19:29
  #4886 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by POBJOY View Post
The Vigilant engine is a Grob adaptation of the VW type 4 flat four air cooled motor, similar to that as used by Limbach and offered in 2.4 ltr form.
Grob needed more power and adapted the engine (bore increase to 2.5 ltr)
As most motor gliders use single ignition the standard heads can be used so parts costs are economical.
Under the LAA (the masters of VW engine use) engines can be reworked and OH under their inspector system which is both tech competent and very economical. This is because the engines are not used commercially (public transport). Every component is available for the Type 4 motor and indeed over the years a whole industry has developed supplying quality parts (including new high spec forged cranks).
When you add the long history of VW aero use and the tech expertise of the LAA there was a very cogent case for the current VIG engine to carry on in civ use.
Remember the VIG engine has no gearbox (unlike the Rotax) so it is a very simple unit that uses standard components for its main parts. The cost saving here are substantial and so is the reliability of the basic block and crank. Sorry another bleak, doom laden post from the west. But stating the facts !!!!
Anyone not familiar with the LAA (former PFA) system would be amazed at the level of expertise within that organisation, and its contribution to 'Flight' for anyone is considerable.
Very interesting, but I thought that the ACO didn't have a proper paper trail for they carried out on both airframe and engine.
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Old 2nd Dec 2019, 22:22
  #4887 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by POBJOY View Post

As most motor gliders use single ignition the standard heads can be used so parts costs are economical.
In connection with a thread in 'Private Flying', does this apply to the VW engine used in the Fournier RF4b?
My Monnet Moni powered glider only had single ignition but then it wasn't a VW engine, it was a flat twin 2 stroke KFM 107E
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Old 2nd Dec 2019, 22:47
  #4888 (permalink)  
 
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Beardy The beauty of the LAA system is it deals with common sense and inspections not just paperwork, and it is not confused with regulations required for PT operations. This makes a huge difference to getting airframes and engines 'In the air'. What has happened to the 'other' certification regimes is that paperwork has replaced hands on inspection expertise (there being a shortage of experienced tech staff worldwide). Of course inspections are much easier on the sort of machines the LAA are involved with, however the level of competence of the inspection regime also allows then to inspect and pass airframes and engines built from scratch.
Nowadays this includes all manner of metal and composite machines plus the old wood and fabric ones. Although a volunteer fuelled organisation many of the inspectors are CAA lic engineers and are 'led' by a capable HO staff who have considerable experience in the industry including design authority.
Common sense will tell us that the Vigilant fleet (most of which were flown to their current store) are not falling apart or indeed in bad shape. The problem is the operators of the aircraft did not have an 'in house' capability to inspect or remedy faults therefore were/are in the hands of a contractor to perform the normal engineering back up. When this system was considered suspect there was no real in house 'expertise' to really query who did what and why, and therefore the great pause was upon us. In fact there was some serious capability in the actual RAF under their own GSA and someone should have asked for help when needed as it was not going to come from 2FTS and the OC there at the time. In fact 2FTS should have flagged all this up before it became a serious issue as they had a proper repair bay at Syerston but it was not in use, and no one seemed to know why. (me thinks the contractor was not able to deliver the proper service for various reasons, but 2FTS failed to identify how this would affect the long term serviceability issues) In fact the problem would have started when Syerston was called 3 FTS but the new OC upon its change to 2FTS was more interested in getting the Gliding volunteer 'civilians' into uniform and had no idea about leadership or morale (or indeed the fantastic operation he was supposed to head).
All the above covered in prev posts since 2014.
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Old 2nd Dec 2019, 23:33
  #4889 (permalink)  
 
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Single or Twin

Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
In connection with a thread in 'Private Flying', does this apply to the VW engine used in the Fournier RF4b?
My Monnet Moni powered glider only had single ignition but then it wasn't a VW engine, it was a flat twin 2 stroke KFM 107E
Hi Chev The RF4 (VW 1200 no starter or generator) operated as a motor glider hence its single ignition (a wonderful machine that flew like it looked 'beautiful' ) Fist saw one at Biggin Hill when Sportair utilised them as the 'solo' machine to compliment their RF5 Trainer (VW1700 Limbach and electics plus dual ignition). This was the trigger for me to 'go power' from ATC instructing. The RF5 'single wheel tail dragger' also gave me a very quick intro into the need for rudder on take off that was not an issue with winch launch gliders.
To be classed as a MG and therefore not need dual mags a machine needed a minimum modest glide angle. Its predecessor the RF3 'basic aileron' utilised a mod that decompressed the engine valves to effect an air start, the RF4 provided a lever in the cockpit. Many years later I tried to buy an RF7 (Clipped wing RF4 with the 1700 engine) 'An upgrade from my Turbulent' but the Comper came along so that was that.
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Old 3rd Dec 2019, 07:55
  #4890 (permalink)  
 
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Aaah - Tinless and Taildragging Sportair...
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Old 3rd Dec 2019, 08:23
  #4891 (permalink)  
 
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Common sense will tell us that the Vigilant fleet (most of which were flown to their current store) are not falling apart or indeed in bad shape.
Common sense does not stand up in a court of law. Should there have been any incident or, God forbid, accident there would have been no defence. That is an unacceptable risk when dealing with children's lives. And all because 'common sense' was relied upon because it was easier than proper record keeping.
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Old 3rd Dec 2019, 09:44
  #4892 (permalink)  
 
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common Sense and Capability

Originally Posted by beardy View Post
Common sense does not stand up in a court of law. Should there have been any incident or, God forbid, accident there would have been no defence. That is an unacceptable risk when dealing with children's lives. And all because 'common sense' was relied upon because it was easier than proper record keeping.
The common sense statement refers to the 'actual' average state of the machines as delivered to their current stores, as they seem to have flown there without drama. The tragedy of all this in the case of the Vigilants (remembering that this is a motor glider) was the machine and its motor were quite unaware of some paperwork glitch and were operating normally. That the audit trail was suspect was down to the contractor not employing enough staff to service the contract or overseeing the laptop based records. However why was this not picked up by the CUSTOMER who should have had oversight of all this. Those of us that were around when the MGSP operated saw a 'team' of qualified RAF staff service and repair machines during the week who were also able to complete duplicate inspections. Aircraft records are not a mystery or shrouded in secrecy and in fact I think the Air Cadet system was laptop based therefore quite easy to operate and check. We are talking about very simple machines (even the engine) with virtually no systems, that did not need endless mods.
Children had been flying (and going solo) in Air Cadet aircraft for decades with a safety record to be proud of, and in relation to the number of flights probably one of the best records in the world. The capability at the 'schools' was very high due to the nature of bringing staff on (mainly Cadets themselves) so everyone knew the job. Fast forward to 2014 when the audit trail was suspect (not the schools fault) and they had no alternative but to cease operations whilst they sorted out the problem. With little of no in house expertise the contractors stayed in place and another small fortune was made whilst the problem was not solved. Another sad reminder of what happens when you loose control of your own operation. It was not just about paperwork but the way it was handled afterwards.

Last edited by POBJOY; 3rd Dec 2019 at 10:01.
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Old 3rd Dec 2019, 09:48
  #4893 (permalink)  
 
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POBJOY,

The only organisation responsible for the safety and airworthiness of the Glider fleet was the Royal Air Force. Outsourced contracts have contract monitoring teams and oversight responsibilities, these clearly failed.
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Old 3rd Dec 2019, 10:06
  #4894 (permalink)  
 
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Responsibility

Originally Posted by pr00ne View Post
POBJOY,

The only organisation responsible for the safety and airworthiness of the Glider fleet was the Royal Air Force. Outsourced contracts have contract monitoring teams and oversight responsibilities, these clearly failed.
Quite agree with that and yet the contractors stayed in place !!!!

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Old 3rd Dec 2019, 10:10
  #4895 (permalink)  
 
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POBJOY,

So the Royal Air Force kept them on.
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Old 3rd Dec 2019, 12:12
  #4896 (permalink)  
 
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Not surprising as their actual contact with real aircraft is minimal, and what was the jewel in the crown of hands on gliding has been reduced to a minimum and replaced by the joke that is the Part Task Trainer for badge attainment.
If you actually look at the requirements of the PTS for flying and gliding you'll see that nothing is awarded for synthetic training alone, and rather only for synthetic and actual hands on flying.
Yes, there is a perception that they're getting a badge for a lot less work than previous, but it's not being held in the same regard.
In our experience, the real problem lies with the availability of the Part Task Trainers. Embedding them with the VGS was a real mistake, as we know hardly any gliding takes place at all. In 2019 we have been offered zero gliding slots and along with that, the chance to do a 'Aviation Training Package' on the part task trainers.

In the same time, we have had 55 sorties at the local AEF. The cadets are completing the required airborne elements for their powered wings, but are being denied them because they haven't completed the ATP, (couple of PowerPoint shows and 10 minutes in a gliding simulator). We even have cadets who have completed all 6 AEF sorties, (approximately 3 hours of hands on flying in the Tutor), and still don't have even the basic Blue powered wings! How an extra 10 minutes in a gilder simulator makes them a better pilot, I don't know?

The part task trainers should be moved to the AEF's and the aviation training packages carried out there. Better still, let the cadet Qualified Aerospace Instructors carry out the ATP's at flight simulator equipped squadrons.
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Old 3rd Dec 2019, 18:52
  #4897 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by POBJOY View Post
Hi Chev The RF4 (VW 1200 no starter or generator) operated as a motor glider hence its single ignition (a wonderful machine that flew like it looked 'beautiful' ) Fist saw one at Biggin Hill when Sportair utilised them as the 'solo' machine to compliment their RF5 Trainer (VW1700 Limbach and electics plus dual ignition). This was the trigger for me to 'go power' from ATC instructing. The RF5 'single wheel tail dragger' also gave me a very quick intro into the need for rudder on take off that was not an issue with winch launch gliders.
To be classed as a MG and therefore not need dual mags a machine needed a minimum modest glide angle. Its predecessor the RF3 'basic aileron' utilised a mod that decompressed the engine valves to effect an air start, the RF4 provided a lever in the cockpit. Many years later I tried to buy an RF7 (Clipped wing RF4 with the 1700 engine) 'An upgrade from my Turbulent' but the Comper came along so that was that.
I used to read Meccano Magazine in the early '60s and it was there I first read about Rene Fournier and his VW powered RF01; I thought 'what a brilliant idea'' A few years later and it had morphed into the RF3, then RF4. In those days Biggin Hill airshows were televised live and I remember seeing a display by an RF4 with the engine shut down for at least part of its display. When it came time to re-start, the prop jerked round a couple of times then it was realised by Raymond Baxter that it wasn't going to start and was landing, the wheel dropping down just before it touched down.
There was one at Fairoaks for many years; I contacted the owner to see if he would let me fly it but before he could get the insurance sorted he was killed in an accident in another aicraft so I had to wait another few years before I saw a Monnet Moni tri-gear for sale and bought it.
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Old 3rd Dec 2019, 22:21
  #4898 (permalink)  
 
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Chev One of the RF4 'stars' was the young David Perrin who instructed at Sportair. His RF4 display was quite unique and all on the mighty 1200 VW (or shut down)
Before Sportair started I happened to be a Biggin when a beautiful 'sculptured' single wheel machine taxied onto the pan with its wings balanced by simple hoops. In those days you could wander across the area and have a peek. It was obvious this machine had a VW engine (like my car) and it stood out like a rose amongst the various spam cans austers, Tigers, Chipfires and the odd Prentice. This was a visit by one of the first RF3 in the country and confirmed to me the way ahead for going power. The 3 was French built but the aerobatic 4 was produced in Germany. A few years later having defected to the Tiger Club at Redhill the club did a deal with Sportair against a Stampe and we added yet another VW type to our clutch of Turbulents. It was heaven for the ex gliding types but the low power was not to everyones taste, and there was no discount for switching the motor off. Not really a farm strip machine but once aloft pure magic, with a built in petrol wash for the windscreen when rolled !!!. The RF4 also became well known later with the John Taylor (JT) (ex Cadet) and Brendan O Brien duo (Skyhawks/Unipart) giving a superb aerobatic flying ballet 'display ' (complete with Pink Floyd music plus smoke generators) 'and all still on the mighty!! 1200VW Rectimo '.

Last edited by POBJOY; 4th Dec 2019 at 08:36. Reason: content
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Old 3rd Dec 2019, 22:25
  #4899 (permalink)  
 
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Gravy train

Originally Posted by pr00ne View Post
POBJOY,

So the Royal Air Force kept them on.

Loads of money !!!!! (but no flying for Cadets)

Last edited by POBJOY; 4th Dec 2019 at 08:40.
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Old 4th Dec 2019, 09:27
  #4900 (permalink)  
 
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Vigilant future

Originally Posted by hoodie View Post
Is there any update (or at least, fresh rumour!) about the fate of the Vigilants?

Are they going to be scrapped or sold on, and if sold on why the apparent delay? I hope the engines at least are properly inhibited, wherever they are now (Little Riss, is it?).
Just to 'tidy up' this somewhat drifted debate on the Vigilant. These machines were still in service by the various VGS and had been 'unpaused'. They were supposed to go on for a few more years albeit with engines on extensions (quite normal) and as far as I know had not needed to be reworked by a specialist repair organisation like the Vikings. There had been talk of actually putting them through a re-engine (Rotax) and panel upgrade for the ATC but as the original Grob co had finished with Gliders this idea faded away (It would also be very expensive). The records for these machines are still held so there is plenty of info on hours flown and mods. As we all know if you delay things long enough the problem fades from scrutiny and people change jobs. In effect a complete B...... U.. as the Cadet organisation has been paying for new winches and all manner of transport which has had very little utilisation plus very little use from the very expensive reworked Vikings.
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