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Air Cadets grounded?

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Air Cadets grounded?

Old 11th Dec 2015, 12:49
  #1221 (permalink)  
 
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Why oh why

The slow rate of initial progress I am told was due to the type certificate holder being slow to answer technical questions and supply repair data.

The supply of parts has been erratic and some involved with this process have no understanding whatsoever of Glider maintenance.

From a purely mechanical point of view the first glider has been ready to fly months ago, but paperwork issued both of history and the process going forward delayed things.

I do find it rather rich that anyone can defend a system that has so consistently over a considerably time scale failed to come up with the goods.
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Old 11th Dec 2015, 14:07
  #1222 (permalink)  
 
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Leadership

As a former civil servant and ATC (non flying) volunteer I have watched this developing debacle with a great deal of sadness. I will not wander into the technical aspects of the issue( although to a layman it does seem that a lot of the issues are caused by military process rather than safety )but do think the changing nature of the commissioning system for senior leaders in the ATC may have had an impact. Until 2009 everyone ,apart from I think the Comdt, were Civil Servants with a Civilian Component commission. Overnight these commissions were withdrawn as being incompatible with Civil Service
Terms and Conditions. The options for the full time leadership were either to take a VR(T) commission or to convert certain posts back to the RAF under FTRS T&C. It seems the later course was chosen. Why might that have an impact? Once back in the RAF " mainstream" it appears that some of the senior leadership have moved even further away from the volunteers, forgetting that the strength of the organisation has always been the dedication and skills brought to the party by people who want to be , but don't need to be , there , week in and week out. As mentioned elsewhere bringing the "corporate knowledge " of the volunteers into the centre of solving this problem would have been a bonus. It may not have moved the technical solution forward ( although I suspect it would have) but it would have demonstrated that the senior leadership valued the volunteers who have been the backbone of the flying organisation since its inception. Leading volunteers needs a specific skill set that is probably summed up by the Sandhurst motto - Serve To Lead. It would be such a shame if the unintended consequence of a change to the commissioning system in 2009 has moved some of the senior leaders so far away from the volunteers that they no longer lead in any meaningful way at all.
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Old 11th Dec 2015, 19:45
  #1223 (permalink)  
 
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RB, that probably explains the 75th Anniversary logo then!
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Old 11th Dec 2015, 23:18
  #1224 (permalink)  
 
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Check this link out: https://www.ted.com/playlists/140/how_leaders_inspire

Okay it is apples and oranges, but why does the present leadership seem to do all the things that are completely guaranteed NOT to inspire their followers? He has had the training and presumably many years of practice, why can't he get even the basics right (communication etc)?

I can only presume that this is a monstrous ego thing, doing the reverse of all the basic leadership techniques, just to prove he is some sort of top dog (mutt more like). I have now changed my opinion somewhat and am beginning to feel that we may be the lucky ones compared to those working with him day-to-day. Completely bizarre and I can't see how things have been allowed to degenerate to this degree; surely he should get his marching orders once this is all over?

Flug
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Old 12th Dec 2015, 00:18
  #1225 (permalink)  
 
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"The Management" is only communicating with VRT personnel and they dont count.

In my opinion it is the monstrous ego compounded by arrogance and if these were virtues he would be canonized.

I also have no doubt that in the end it will be a great triumph resulting in bonuses, backslapping amongst senior officers and knighthoods?
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Old 12th Dec 2015, 02:08
  #1226 (permalink)  
 
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leadership by example

When this debacle started i was more interested in the poor decision making and the lack of tech expertise that abounded as i had no direct experience of the current 'leadership' to make a judgement based on that side of the situation.
As a clearer picture emerged of the really bad decision making and total inability to engage with the 'schools' in a professional manner it became obvious where the real problem lay.
When you add a 'tech' glitch that went back some time (But had not resulted in a 'real' serious operating problem) then the resulting action was not based upon sound risk judgement. It may have been a better option to put a hold on Cadet solo for a short period until inspections were made,rather than throw the baby out with the bath water.
The schools should have been brought in when this situation cropped up and that way nobody could say a proper picture of the 'risk' had not been looked at.
What we have now is a total loss of confidence in A :- The leadership,and B:- The very system that is supposed to be the 'managing' component.
When the Air Force are seen to be incapable of operating such basic machines in a competent manner; then there has to be a change of staff to get an ongoing improvement.
To ignore the expertise and input of those engaged at the 'coal face' of the operation was both arrogant and devoid of common sense,and it will take a change of direction and staff to provide a way ahead to regain the confidence with the system for the future.
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Old 12th Dec 2015, 09:32
  #1227 (permalink)  
 
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Remote leadership ( lack of !)

I find viewing this thread with utter despair at the lack of ability of those in charge to appropriately manage this situation using judgment appropriate to the risks.

On the flying side the operating expertees ( proven over years of safe operation ) seems to be held entirely by volunteer staff at the coal face with those who are aledgedly in charge having climbed so far up he slippery pole that they would have difficulty recognising a glider. The worst of this is that they seem totally unable ( or unwilling ) to harness the talent within the volunteer staff pool to improve the situation.

The technical leadership has been lacklustre to say the least, I think part of this was due to the inital reliability of the fleet lulling the contractor and type certificate holder into a state where resources had become deployed on other projects and had failed to develop the skills required to maintain the fleet, I would then guess that those in charge tried to hide this lack of ability by very dogmatic adherence to technical manuals that had been written by an industry that assumes a level of competent tradecraft. What followed was a culture within the organisation that it was best to do nothing when exact detailed guidance was not avalable because their lack of tradecraft knowlage could not fill in the gaps n the technical instructions and allow them to use industry best practice.
No doubt by this point the hangars were filling with broken gliders and the can't do culture had become embedded when the train hit the buffers, at this point with the MAA breathing down their necks the corporate culture did what the clueless do best and started having recovery meetings, at these meetings the only firm decision that was made was to have another meeting.

At this point the RAF insist they get outside help.........the outside help could have fixed the first few gliders within weeks of they had been on the civil register but the reams of military paperwork and the lack of a type certificate holder with any glider repair experience turns the whole exercise into a massive paper trail.
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Old 12th Dec 2015, 10:03
  #1228 (permalink)  
 
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On the flying side the operating expertees ( proven over years of safe operation )
A and C, expertese is not going to save you and neither is previous safe operation if the aircraft are unsafe. Even if they're safe then you need a way of assuring that they are safe to operate. From the FOI request some posts back we know that the paperwork that assured that the aircraft was safe to operate had been lost or incomplete, we also saw in the same FOI that elevator hinges had been fitted to the wrong aircraft. There has also been anecdotal tales of unrecorded accident damage and repairs. We know that a singular accident involving a Cadet could have proven catestrophic for all ACO flying. What would you have done if you had been presented with this issue - talking to the Volunteers as you suggest?

Prior performance is no guarantee of future performance...

I have said all along that stopping flying was the correct thing to do. I cannot criticise this decision knowing what we know from the FOI, rumours and other posts on here.

I agree that the return to flight program has been ridiculously sluggish, however, I suspect that 2FTS became entangled in the mire of commercial contracts. That's no excuse for the paucity of information flow, in my humble opinion. However, I remain hopeful for 2016 and the return of gliding for Air Cadets - rumour has it that CAS makes a decision next week and one would hope that the message will be broadcast to all before Christmas and New Year.

LJ
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Old 12th Dec 2015, 11:51
  #1229 (permalink)  
 
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The lunatics are running the asylum!

LJ, to be really pedantic it should be expertise!

What a sorry state of affairs for the Air Cadet Organisation to be in.

We have lots of new winches, a fabulously expensive new operations HQ at Syerston and gliders that were not really broken, grounded for more than 20 months!

Words just fail me, and I feel for the many volunteers who are now wondering about the management. I know many would have wanted to vent their feelings here on PPRuNe but refrained from doing so because of veiled threats of being found out by overpromoted "managers" in the system. Well done for sitting on your hands chaps.

Fortunately there are many others who share your frustrations and are prepared to post here.

I feel the Air Cadet Organisation need to fire their current PR company (do they even have one) because the messages coming out have been muddled and confusing.

A professional PR company needs to be employed soon to sift through the ashes of this debacle and start afresh. We need good PR soon or any future of the Air Cadet Organisation will be in doubt.
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Old 12th Dec 2015, 12:31
  #1230 (permalink)  
 
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Freda Checks.

An interesting post about employing a PR company to fulfill the role normally taken by Leadership and Responsibility.

You refer to muddled and contradictory messages, but surely clarity of purpose and making sure that everyone understands their role, communication and appropriate timescales is part of the primary role of any Leader.

One might think that you are getting ready to prepare the ground by employing a PR company AT THE TAXPAYERS EXPENSE to diffuse and "muddy the waters" about the roles and responsibilities and therefore blame if any uncomfortable questions are asked particularly in Parliament.

Do I win my prize, Group Captain Middleton?


A Taxpayer.
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Old 12th Dec 2015, 13:19
  #1231 (permalink)  
 
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Freda, saying that
gliders that were not really broken
rather ignores some of the woefully incompetent repairs uncovered by the professional glider maintenance outfit that did the survey.

In my professional experience, a competent organisation doesn't need a 'PR Consultant', although one that wants to hide the facts and misrepresent the facts can sometimes benefit from one.
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Old 12th Dec 2015, 13:22
  #1232 (permalink)  
 
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Leon

I totally agree with your understanding of the reason for the grounding however
I know that a lot of the VGS staff are involved in the civilian gliding movement and would have been able to point the RAF in the direction of expert help with the recovery program long before the RAF worked it out for themselfs.

It must of been clear from long before the grounding that the current contractor was falling well short of the mark, I was told tails of composite repair bays going unused, staff refusing to do independent inspections and gliders with minor damage being written for years before the grounding. While I did at the time suspect that this was a lot of hot air unfortunately it has come to pass that the rumours had some foundation.

If I who am on the very outer edges of both the gliding & air cadet movements had been getting these murmurings how is it the RAF management missed them ? Have they never heard of management by walking about ? ( this is when you walk about your bailiwick talking to those at the coal face to find out what is actually going on rather than the middle management view ).

A good communication path between the VGS upper management and the volunteers who run the day to day operation might well have caught this problem while it was just a few gliders that failed to meet airworthiness standards and long before the fleet grounding was the only option.
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Old 12th Dec 2015, 13:46
  #1233 (permalink)  
 
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FREDA

The fact is that most of the gliders do not meet oversight standards and so should not fly until they do ( most of them would not kill you right now but a little way down the line who knows ?).

What the ATC needs is to spend its money on good engineering recovery and support. Not a PR company that charge hard cash to roll in glitter the turd that the present management have attempted to polish !

The only solution to this problem is serviceable gliders provided at the best speed the industry can muster.
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Old 12th Dec 2015, 15:12
  #1234 (permalink)  
 
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Fitter writes,

In my professional experience, a competent organisation doesn't need a 'PR Consultant', although one that wants to hide the facts and misrepresent the facts can sometimes benefit from one.
Agree 100%, but I feel that under the circumstances we do not have evidence of a competent organisation.
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Old 12th Dec 2015, 18:00
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Oh bolleaux - expertise it is...

Yup, I agree that there are many people that could get these aircraft airworthy to permit to fly standards under the BGA in far quicker time. But persisiting with the military airworthiness system is probably yet another 'devil in the detail'. If they were G-reg'd then another can of worms could be opened in that the VGS instructors would need SPLs with FI ratings, would they not? At the very least LAPL(S)? Plus all the medicals via civvy AMEs?

I suspect in the longer run it woukd have been better to go this route now, but at the time getting the aircraft airworthy under the military system was probably seen as the easier/cheaper route?

LJ
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Old 12th Dec 2015, 21:21
  #1236 (permalink)  
 
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Leon

I think you are misunderstanding me, I was suggesting that the staff of the VGS would be able to point the RAF management at companies capable of operating to EASA145 standard.

It took the RAF about 14 months to come to the conclusion that this was what was required perhaps with a little more comunication with the grass roots of the VGS this decision could have been reached a little more quickly.

To just clear up the oversight standards EASA 145 is the standard that airlines operate to for Public transport and is equivalent to current military standard.

Most gliders are operated to EASA part M sub part F & G, this is the normal standard for private flight and club training in Europe, for gliders the BGA have a big hand in this for UK gliders but also oversee some older aircraft under Annex 2.

Permit aircraft are usually home builds and overseen by the LAA.

I know this is a sweeping generalisation but it will do for the purposes of this thread.

As Gliders pioneered the use of GRP technology some of the glider maintenance companies moved into the maintenance of the new breed of GRP powered aircraft ( the Grob 115 Tutor being a good example ). With the coming of EASA most of the companies in this sector opted for EASA part M sub part F & G but a few opted for EASA145 to enable them to work in the public transport sector.

The Viking fleet could be operated on the G plate under EASA145 maintenance as there is a well worn system to permit the military to operate civil aircraft using military qualified crew and this is how the Tutors are flown.

In my opinion going down the civil route for registration of the Vikings flown using the dispensation to use military flight crews would have considerable advantages in cost and speed of return to service as it would have put the Viking recovery entirely under one maintenance oversight system, into a system that understands gliders, put the type certificate back in the hands of Grob experts, streamlined the replacement of obsolete parts, allowed fleet wide standard repairs and most important of all totally shut the people who precipitated this crisis out of the recovery process.

The system of military operation of civil aircraft has been successful as the Tutor fleet has proven, they may have had their technical issues but the oversight system has run very smoothly.

Unfortunately I have to agree with you in that the recovery process is too far down the road to change oversight systems now and it is at this stage best to stick with the system we have in place.
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Old 12th Dec 2015, 22:37
  #1237 (permalink)  
 
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All understood, thanks
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Old 13th Dec 2015, 01:23
  #1238 (permalink)  
O-P
 
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I'd much rather they'd put Muddleton in charge of a few carrots rather than an F3 Sqn, or 2FTS, that Guy really knew how to cripple morale. Nothing seems to have changed.

Oh, for some obscure reason, he doesn't seem to think it's his fault!
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Old 13th Dec 2015, 11:59
  #1239 (permalink)  
 
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A month ago I asked if a question had been asked in parliament about this.
I have not seen anything in the news. They go on yet another holiday this week.
mmitch.
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Old 13th Dec 2015, 13:19
  #1240 (permalink)  
 
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Hansard Page 654 for the 19th October mentions the "pause".
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