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Air Cadets grounded?

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Air Cadets grounded?

Old 13th Nov 2015, 18:20
  #941 (permalink)  
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Hey Enigma my 'thoughts' were based on the premise that an input from the 'users' could only speed things up. (from stationary)
'IF' SS have a contract then this implies movement soon,hence 'some' start date could be predicted.
The Viking situation is limited by suitable locations,but there are a core that have a secure base.
The Vig fleet is 'portable' and with suitable training the staff could operate anywhere required.
As regarding cost;well there is an understanding of funds for many years so in the great scheme of things having spent 8 million plus on Syerston another couple of million for aircraft must seem almost good value.
I really do not think that an 'extended' start date would be acceptable to anyone, as apart from anything else the actual staff available will be so reduced as to be non effective and the real 'experience' will have departed or be time expired.
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Old 13th Nov 2015, 20:52
  #942 (permalink)  
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Ah this thread is never ending. Here's a thought why not arrange an unfortunate hangar fire? Burn the whole fleet and start over? If you are really bright you could claim all of the perfect up to date maintenance records got burned as well...

Well it's a plan, got a better one?
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Old 13th Nov 2015, 21:13
  #943 (permalink)  
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I think 26 hangar fires might be considered too much of a coincidence,and judging by the 'competence' of the system they would probably get the wrong ones.
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Old 14th Nov 2015, 06:30
  #944 (permalink)  
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Teeters - just because you put a Spirit of Ecstasy figure on a Ford Mondeo it doesn't turn into a Rolls Royce.
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Old 14th Nov 2015, 17:36
  #945 (permalink)  

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Old 15th Nov 2015, 07:37
  #946 (permalink)  
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I second Bigpants' idea about a convenient hangar fire and an insurance job. Since this whole sorry saga began, we've had death by committee, the usual dysfunctional MoD/contractor gravy train where everyone wins except the end user, betrayal of the only people in the system who made it work, and a series of pretty surreal PR events aimed at distracting attention away from the core issue.

The current Commandant (can someone explain the rationale behind this name change?), to be fair, inherited a lot of these problems when he took on the job. However, at that level of rank, you expect some managerial competence and some real leadership skills. This individual's dullness and arrogance has made the situation far worse, and the shape of the new organisation will be poorer because of it.

Armed services need to keep a close eye on these comfy little pension-building posts for senior officers. When you appoint the wrong person to them, this is what you get.

Anyway, fire/insurance job? Not as daft an idea as anything we've seen so far in this cluster. It's a farce from the outside and no doubt a tragedy from the inside.
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Old 15th Nov 2015, 09:01
  #947 (permalink)  
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This individual's dullness and arrogance has made the situation far worse
Yes, whoever appointed this prat should be held to account - why would you select an ill-thought-of navigator, who knows the square root of f*ck all about gliding to run a gliding organisation?

Oh, of course, it's part of the jobs for the boys scheme!
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Old 15th Nov 2015, 09:24
  #948 (permalink)  
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Nor, it would seem, how to deal with and lead volunteers
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Old 15th Nov 2015, 17:34
  #949 (permalink)  
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Rebuild for the future

I am going to sit this bit out for the sake of my class 1 medical.
However before i retire my points would be:-

The VGS at the COAL FACE are not finished by a long chalk.

The current locations are where the population is well served.

One of the facets of the Gliding organisation is that Cadets CAN GET INVOLVED on a regular basis.

There is no point in having far less sites in the middle of nowhere (so to speak)

The SYSTEM has to realise it exists FOR THE CADETS not as a training organisation for itself.

In the short term the Viking fleet have a better chance of surviving this debacle as there are far less issues involved, and they have already ordered the new winches. It is also a fact that conventional gliding gives far more hands on activity with the aircraft and operation than the powered route.
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Old 15th Nov 2015, 17:46
  #950 (permalink)  
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That's too much for one FTRS person; it will need a small team. Probably an OC, Adjt and a QFI for each centre. The way it works is the organisation that establishes the FTRS posts needs to fund them out of its own budget. 9 FTRS posts at an estimated total capitation cost of about 750,000 per year, just where is 2FTS/HQ ACO going to find that money? And no, they're not allowed to create new posts by asking for more money - FTRS is a savings measure.
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Old 15th Nov 2015, 18:17
  #951 (permalink)  
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I think the 3x super VGS in remote locations will be a disaster:

1. Who is going to come from Cornwall or Kent to Little Rissington! - that's a 3-4 hour minibus journey!

2. Once establsihed where are the staff pilots going to come from. It's hard enough finding volunteers to give up a couple of days a month; a lot, lot fewer will want to give up a whole weekend that will start late Friday and finish late Sunday, with no booze because the very same will be looking after the Cadets.

I hope you are wrong, as this is a bad idea in my opinion...

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Old 15th Nov 2015, 21:50
  #952 (permalink)  
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Try getting cadets from Northern Ireland , or the Scottish islands to those locations for gliding,typical little Englandshire answer AEF for us is bad enough ,now cut from 24 per visit to 6 , my 6 two weeks ago didn't get to fly except on the Easyjet over and back , next six in March.
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Old 15th Nov 2015, 22:30
  #953 (permalink)  
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All those new winches

All those new winches which are standing idle could be a thorn in the side of operations when they do resume. They have an engine which is new to the winch and a type of cable new to the cadets. With everyone a bit rusty after the long layoff, throwing in a new bit of kit, which is bound to have its own idiosyncracies, is likely to result in delays just when everyone is anxious to launch as many cadets as possible.

The designers at Skylaunch will have used their experience to build the Air Cadets a new winch which is as ergonomic and trouble-free as possible. Only after a few hundred launches, however, in a wide variety of wind conditions plus all the possible failure cases, can a winch driver be confident to make the right decisions and pull the right levers at the right time.

To the best of my knowledge there are no winch simulators on which to practice the many failure cases, so it could take a good while before winch drivers experience the bulk of them. If the winch driver gets it wrong, at best it might be a snarl up on the cable drum, putting that drum out of action for half an hour; at worst, it could result in the glider flying into the winch parachute or cable.

By siting the new winches at BGA and Service clubs until the Vikings are ready, a few thousand launches could be made across the fleet, building up a substantial track record for the type, thus ensuring that when they start launching cadets, both winch drivers and winches are known quantities.

As a the old adage says, 'Amateurs practice till they get it right, professionals practice till they can't get it wrong'.

Last edited by Mechta; 16th Nov 2015 at 09:53.
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Old 16th Nov 2015, 09:19
  #954 (permalink)  
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BB said I've come out the other side of my despair now and I've realised we've got to rebuild this for future generations, no matter how painful it's going to be in the short term.

Spot on. I think though that the ACO needs to use this grounding to take a fundamental look at what it is trying to achieve with its gliding and this probably needs to be done by an outside agency in order to remove the emotion from the debate. When I was a cadet (late 70s & early 80s) I had a great time but there were only about 22,000 of us and I think there were 33 VGS and about 14 AEF. I went gliding 4 times a year and Chipmunk flying at least twice a year and on an annual camp as well. Brilliant fun and it inspired me to become an RAF pilot and then a QFI as well and I've spent many happy hours teaching ab-initio pilots in a variety of aircraft.

I think that the ACO has missed several opportunities to re-define its gliding and flying mission and the offer to the cadets.

The first one was when they changed from the old fleet to the Grob 103. The T21s, T31s and Ventures were simple to fly (I know I went solo on a T31) and they followed a simple syllabus. Importantly the ac were light and didn't have much energy and were thus quite forgiving, so it was possible to teach even the most ham-fisted cadet to fly a safe circuit. At the same time the engineering was done to BGA principles. The ac were relatively easy to fix as well. The introduction of the Viking changed the dynamic, a heavier and more complex ac and so the syllabus was increased to take that into account; cadets took more launches to solo and there would have been a decrease in the number of training slots available but, as there were still only around the same number of cadets the effect would have been negligible. Still, the ACO should have had a re-think at this point as to what it was trying to achieve and indeed as to what it could achieve with these super new aircraft.

The next was the introduction of the Vigilant. The Grob 109 is a touring motor glider, it is not an ab-initio trainer and is not designed to be thrown at the ground ad infinitum and thrashed around the circuit. I understand that there were problems with both the undercarriage assembly and the engine - I wonder why? Again, I suggest a missed opportunity to fundamentally alter the basic business model to take account of the new capability.

Then a previous Comdt of the ACO decided to almost double the size of the ACO (well before Dave's Big Society). Even the dullest candidate on "The Apprentice" will understand that if you increase the size of the business but don't make an appropriate increase in the resources you will never be able to achieve the task so there are two choices: increase the resources to achieve the task or change the task, to balance the task to the available resources. Simply thrashing the original resource harder to try to make up the shortfall is a sub-optimal plan (and look what's happened).

Finally, the introduction of the MAA and the Haddon-Cave review should have triggered a look at whether the VGS is still an appropriate delivery model. Should the ACO still be expecting volunteers to deliver the required level of assurance and the inevitable increase in admin and workload? They can't surely expect busy people with high-pressure civilian jobs to deliver another high-pressure workload at weekends, and get it right, no matter how well intentioned they might be.

Whatever emerges from the ashes needs to be fit for purpose in all respects for 2017 (or 2018 when ever it will be) rather than for 1998; this may involve taking a more holistic view and incorporating the AEF to achieve the overall task (whatever that might be) rather than trying to run them as separate enterprises.
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Old 16th Nov 2015, 12:05
  #955 (permalink)  
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"Busy people with high pressure civilian jobs" is the bit that the Commandant doesn't get.
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Old 16th Nov 2015, 12:57
  #956 (permalink)  
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The core of the VGS output is the GS. GICs are essentially AEF dressed up as training and since the VGSs are staffed by volunteers with instructor training in-house, it gives those junior staff a chance to practise and hone their instructional skills, and all adds to the stats. However, the trend is towards a more "professional" organisation with increased administration and over-sight. It would therefore seem appropriate to change to a full time VGS organisation - employing paid staff to delivering GS training on the weekend during school term times and throughout school holidays. To match current output, the organisation would need to deliver approx. 2,500 scholarships per year, or 50 per week. You then build your organisation around that requirement. AEF flying would be better handled by AEFs. A "professional" organisation also reduces the in-house training burden, allowing effort to concentrate on the key deliverables.

Additionally, the proposed re-introduction of the IGT would not be a sensible move. When the IGT was first introduced, students were too young and the IGT training still had to be repeated when they returned for GS. Far better to just stick to the GS.
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Old 16th Nov 2015, 14:08
  #957 (permalink)  
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You are spot on with your comments.

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Old 16th Nov 2015, 15:06
  #958 (permalink)  
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Which planet are you on ?

"appropriate to change to a full time VGS organisation - employing paid staff to delivering GS training on the weekend during school term times and throughout school holidays. "

How unrealistic is this ?

Here we are debating defence cuts, the smallest peace time RAF ever, and a fleet of grounded Gliders and Motor Gliders, and someone comes up with a huge cost escalation plan which has no merits whatsoever.

Paid staff ? - on a contract for weekends during term times and throughout school holidays? Really !!! ( maybe another zero hours contract which seems in vogue!)

Paid staff ? - where from ? - certainly not Civvy clubs, and certainly not RAF GD pilots as we are clean out of them. The ONLY people who hav e the vast experience are those currently "resting" from the VGS's while they await HM's pleasure ( or was it misery?)

And, lest anyone should forget, remember that the Titanic was commanded by a professional and that Noah was an "amateur" - the only fatalities to Air Cadets in accidents over the last 15 years have involved...............well...........let's say, NOT the VGS staff, or their aircraft.

I have no doubt whatsoever that we will be seeing the paralysis/arrest continue for some time yet as nobody in Air Command can find their defibrillator, and if they don't get a wriggle on, there will be no patients to resuscitate - as retention of this vastly experienced and skilled resource is being prejudiced by every minute of vacillation, not to mention the way in which they have been excluded from the loop in every sense.

As for some of the other ideas seen in the last couple of days or so on this thread - god help us if Little Rissington was a major centre - as the Wx profile is not conducive to reliable operations, not to mention the prop wrecking loose runway surface.

Major centres - far from being a cost saving, will be a major non-productive cost - transport of Cadets over large distance at public expense only to find Wx u/s , with a resultant demotivated and disappointed Cadet force, tired out and p***** off.

Also, before disposing of the Grob Vigilant fleet, remember, that it has worked well for twenty years, and is a very efficient training machine where conventional gliders cannot be deployed, and where staffing is necessarily fewer. Also remember, that to operate a fleet of 4/5 Vikings, you do need a sizeable staff to allow for mixed duties, drivers, winch drivers, and rotations including leave and holidays, and time off. Contrary to a recent post, the Viking has been an excellent trainer, not complex or difficult - and with 3000+ launches plus the old wood ships and Vigilant also, I should know !

One thing is for sure, the organisation as we knew it, chaps, is never going to be quite the same again, sad to say. The losers will be the Cadets initially, which eventually will cascade onwards to what remains of the RAF, as the Cadets of the future may not enjoy the pre-service training that used to be enjoyed by so many.
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Old 16th Nov 2015, 15:31
  #959 (permalink)  
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I can't see them creating regional centres. We closed down the regional gliding centres many years ago.

I'm not saying they are a bad idea - I just can't see them paying for it..........and also we have less and less bits of suitable real estate to base them on................

I think (For what it's worth):

1. Less VGS's with more permanent staff would be better. This model would be similar to the model found on TA Units, with a cadre of permanent staff (FTRS) for the week (and the admin [email protected] - which is necessary BTW !!). Does not necessarily need to be a flying post.
2. 1 x CGS and 8 x Winch Launch Schools better/best model.
3. Cost savings could be obtained by reducing the number of VGS and associated VR(T) staff and T&S, and operate less complex (single aircraft type)
4. In addition downgrade the VGS ranks to F/L rather than Sqn/Ldr - make everyone else no higher than F/O.
5. Make sure the VGS had accommodation for staff and cadets overnight and access for Food. This suggests that the sites need to be either Permanent RAF or Army sites with cookhouse facilities.
6. Make it Gliding 'weekends' to try and make sure that at least 1 day is flyable...............
7. Goodbye Vigilants, I am a fan of Motorgliders but I think we need to focus down to 1 more simple type more in line with our training aims and profile.
8. Start to plan Viking replacement now - order the replacements with an in service date 5 years from now............... These could even be ASK-21Mi (so we could extend the sorties if required) (as used by Aussie Air Cadets)


Last edited by Arclite01; 16th Nov 2015 at 15:37. Reason: ASK-21Mi
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Old 16th Nov 2015, 15:35
  #960 (permalink)  
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Mate, WTF does "And, lest anyone should forget, remember that the Titanic was commanded by a professional and that Noah was an "amateur" - the only fatalities to Air Cadets in accidents over the last 15 years have involved...............well...........let's say, NOT the VGS staff, or their aircraft" contribute to the debate?

Please remember that the tragic fatalities in 2009 were as a result of accidents; the pilots didn't deliberately crash into the other aircraft. Accidents that cold have easily happened to anyone. It's probably only by the grace of God that the VGS have never had a fatal mid air collision.
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