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Air Cadets grounded?

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Air Cadets grounded?

Old 14th Dec 2015, 09:22
  #1241 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
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It always seems to take time for glider parts. A wing for a K21 was 6 months, almost the same for a canopy & frame. We have a new this year K21. This is a glider design that's 30 years or so old, and it's serial number is less than 1,000. Gliders are not mass-made, they are hand-built to order, so if the ATC suddenly needed lots of parts for a glider model that is no longer made it's no surprise they are hard to get.
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Old 14th Dec 2015, 13:07
  #1242 (permalink)  
 
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Grob glider fleet

There are enough air frames to keep the 'winch' fleet going for years,even if some of the 'damaged' ones are used for spares recovery.
The Vig situation is also not that bad if common sense prevailed and they overhauled the current engine. Even if they went for a 'new' engine then one of the standard Limbach models would be an easy fix as they are already retrofitted in that airframe. I personally would not opt for a gearbox type engine as it just adds another complexity that is not justified for a training fleet operation.
The whole point of operating a SLMG is to reduce the level of 'issues' to that as near as possible to a pure glider.
Even the 'parachute' option is questionable on both fleets due to the average operating height and the added question of the reality of being current enough in escape drills. When the ATC moved from the Mk3/T21 to glass the operation did not justify parachutes as an added safety measure as there had been no case that required it.In the case of the VIG it just adds weight that reduces performance,and an engine fire situation would be better served with a 'single lever' control that cut the fuel off and engaged a halon bottle.The main issues with the winch fleet will be finding enough suitable sites that can accommodate the operation and are also near to centres of population.The Vig operation is ideal for dealing with 'upper air work' and the first handling of control so has its place if the fleet is kept.There may have to be some 'out of box' thinking on extending summer w-ends to include frid-mon with staff from disbanded schools involved. None of this is rocket science or beyond reach; but does require some serious decisions at the top and the inclusion of the schools to see how they can adapt to new challenges.
What it WILL REQUIRE is inspirational leadership by someone who the schools can rely on and getting back to the basic reason of what they are there for;which is to get Cadets airborne in something they can eventually get to fly themselves !
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Old 14th Dec 2015, 15:35
  #1243 (permalink)  
 
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Pobjoy

Parts are not a problem as such, most of the bits to make the gliders work are avalable off the shelf from the original German manufactures, the problem is that more than a little product improvement has happened and the upgraded part will get a new part number as this point the civil type certificate holder will issue a service bulletin to allow the fitting of a different part number.

This is the work that the military type certificate holder should have been doing but they seem to had gone to sleep for a few years ( no doubt comfortable that the money was still rolling in ) and not kept up with the game so come the recovery program a parts shortage of obsolete parts appears because the book gives an obsolete part number and nothing else can be fittted without the type certificate holder updating the paperwork.

I think we have been around the block with the Vigilant engine issues, as I understand it the type certificate holder is no longer supporting the engine, the result of this is when the parts supply drys up the engines can no longer be overhauled to EASA145 standard and without this can't be used by the VGS as EASA145 is the minimum oversight standard that meets the military requirements.

As to retro fitting the Rotax 912 engine, from a technical viewpoint a cant see a down side, the reason for needing a replacement is that the low production run engine is no longer economic to support, the Rotax is one of the most successful light aircraft engines of all times, thousands have been made and it is ultra reliable ( even if it has a gearbox ), I would guess that with the numbers being produced both myself & Mr Pobjoy will be six foot under before the type certificate support bites the dust.

Last edited by A and C; 14th Dec 2015 at 16:01.
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Old 14th Dec 2015, 17:13
  #1244 (permalink)  
 
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6 Foot Option (temp thread creep)

A&C I am not too sure about the 6ft bit (damm cold & dark) may opt for the giant (cat 4) aerial bombs with extra 'cascade' (9 of them) followed by Hurricane beat up. Over Kenley of course,and on 18th Aug.
Anyway not planning a departure as yet until this sorry mess with the 'Donkey' dept (no disrespect to Donkeys) is sorted.
This would 'out cascade' all the other previous cascades from higher authority.
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Old 14th Dec 2015, 19:56
  #1245 (permalink)  
 
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Air Cadet Central 'Making a Point' (quite a point)

It appears that this somewhat 'reserved' forum has finally got fed up with being fed H....S... from Syerston and has posted a direct and to the point message to Cmdt 2FTS.
Actually it might even make quite a good Xmas card with a bit of photoshop snow and some funny hats.Have a peek !
Methinks someone will have a real sense of humour failure over this and the hunting season will start early !

A&C I am going to start a Limbach fan club. It will be a bit like the referendum campaign (Say NO To gearboxes) (unless it is a copy of a double helical Pobjoy one !)
Be quick i suspect it will get censored (the peek that is)

Last edited by POBJOY; 14th Dec 2015 at 20:30.
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Old 15th Dec 2015, 00:16
  #1246 (permalink)  
 
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It always seems to take time for glider parts. A wing for a K21 was 6 months, almost the same for a canopy & frame. We have a new this year K21. This is a glider design that's 30 years or so old, and it's serial number is less than 1,000. Gliders are not mass-made, they are hand-built to order, so if the ATC suddenly needed lots of parts for a glider model that is no longer made it's no surprise they are hard to get.
There's not much sign of automation in a glider factory. When you see how labour intensive the manufacture is, at German rates of pay, you begin to appreciate why they are so eye-wateringly expensive for what they are.



Generally the manufacturers already have a waiting list, so if you need parts which are not in stock, you go on the end of the queue. As has been mentioned earlier in this thread, the reason the Air Cadets bought the Grob 103 was that Schleicher, who made the competitor, weren't interested in a trying to accommodate a large order against a short timescale.
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Old 15th Dec 2015, 00:30
  #1247 (permalink)  
 
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Sense of humour failure? Hunting season?

I have no doubt that Pobjoy is right but what is "The Management" going to do?

Sack us from a job that we do voluntarily, in our own time, that often leaves us out of pocket, and do not get paid for (unlike Himself!)
OK then go ahead!

We have every right to complain about His management of this situation, not as ATC personnel but as taxpayers.

At the end of the day this is my money!
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Old 15th Dec 2015, 00:41
  #1248 (permalink)  
 
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Mechta

When you have a large fleet and a modest recovery rate ( due to industry capacity ) you can rob parts from the gliders further down the line to service the aircraft at the front of the line and get the parts on order to replace those you have robbed.
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Old 15th Dec 2015, 01:22
  #1249 (permalink)  
 
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When you have a large fleet and a modest recovery rate ( due to industry capacity ) you can rob parts from the gliders further down the line to service the aircraft at the front of the line and get the parts on order to replace those you have robbed.
That is assuming the parts are a direct fit, and that the parts further down the line have already been given a clean bill of health. As chopping and changing parts around and lost tracability has be cited as a contributing factor to the current mess, wholesale swapping of parts may not be a favoured option, even with proper record keeping.
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Old 15th Dec 2015, 08:44
  #1250 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks, interesting video though whoever decided "as light as possible" might have been unaware of the use of ballast...
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Old 15th Dec 2015, 13:14
  #1251 (permalink)  
 
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Glider Repairs

My father-in-law recently had a major problem with his glider, requiring some serious repairs.

He trailered it to Poland, dropped it off and picked it up 6 weeks later. As good as new, all signed off.

Just saying!
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Old 16th Dec 2015, 15:45
  #1252 (permalink)  
 
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Angel All quiet on the VGS front ??

Has Sir Andy Pulford CAS read the documents yet ? or has he been taken away to A & E with Tachycardia and severe Hypertension after reading the sad story ?
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Old 16th Dec 2015, 15:54
  #1253 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Sky Sports View Post
My father-in-law recently had a major problem with his glider, requiring some serious repairs.

He trailered it to Poland, dropped it off and picked it up 6 weeks later. As good as new, all signed off.

Just saying!

I'm guessing his glider is firstly on the G-register and secondly has it's paperwork up-to-date with no need for a fine tooth comb inspection to get it all up-to-date, and no dodgy repairs to redo.
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Old 16th Dec 2015, 17:14
  #1254 (permalink)  
 
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we transitioned 2000 gliders a few years back, by a bunch of volunteers. BGA/CAA/EASA system seems to work. Unlike a small scale set up with a bunch of professionals.
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Old 16th Dec 2015, 19:40
  #1255 (permalink)  
 
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Even the expert civilian company tasked with the Viking recovery has still only managed to to produce a couple of aircraft in nearly 9 months and no doubt they did many, many BGA transitions
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Old 16th Dec 2015, 22:07
  #1256 (permalink)  
 
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Paul M

I was on the edges of that transfer between the BGA and EASA, all this gliders had up to date maintenance records and had not got any unauthorised/unrecorded repairs that had a common cause or common reason for these shortcomings.

The VGS is a totally different ball game, missing records, unauthorised & unrecorded repairs etc.

All operations have their mistakes and a few had been turned up by the BGA/CAA/EASA during the transition but this is on a totally different scale, these were individual cases of honest and isolated mistakes with no common factor rather than a systematic quality oversight failure across the fleet that's why the MAA pulled the plug on the VGS fleet.

I'm sure the RAF is deeply embarrassed about this whole sorry affair, it is going to take someone at the highest level to get to the bottom of why this happened and ensure that those responsible are encouraged not to continue to provide services of this type in the future.
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Old 17th Dec 2015, 00:50
  #1257 (permalink)  
 
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Someone at the highest level !

There is someone already in the RAF system who could advise on this from a 'hands on' viewpoint.
The problem is the people at the top do not know anything about what is a reasonable response to the problem because they are advised by those who know even less.
Whilst i accept that there has to be a satisfactory 'trail' system in place when operating equipment used by 'minors' i do not accept that the fleet was in any more danger from an actual safety point of view than it had been in the past.
The lack of 'incidents' and reports from the users seems to indicate that what was needed was a rapid 'deep' inspection to satisfy any unknown faults in the fleet. As the vast majority of the flying is dual with instructors then the risk factor was very low and the actual response to the problem not well founded.
The whole point of having a 'management' structure in any organisation is to MANAGE the situation not to shut it down (Which is a complete FAILURE)
The ongoing timescale of the what has became an eye opener in how the RAF/MOD deal with 'situations' does little to give one any confidence that ANYONE at a senior level in the system actually knows anything about how it works or how it should work.
Anyway as there are no votes in any of this do not expect any great changes where needed as i do not think we have any VGS staffers who are also MP's.
There used to be(may still be) an 'Air Rank' who headed up the RAF GSA perhaps he should be 'parachuted in' as an adviser together with some of his 'members' at the coal face to give an expert input into this sad affair.
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Old 17th Dec 2015, 06:59
  #1258 (permalink)  
 
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i do not accept that the fleet was in any more danger from an actual safety point of view than it had been in the past.
But, do you know and can you guarantee that the fleet was and would continue to be safe? If yes, then based on the shambolic paper trail which provides no evidence to support your beliefs, I would not let my child fly with you.

The lack of 'incidents' and reports from the users seems to indicate that what was needed was a rapid 'deep' inspection to satisfy any unknown faults in the fleet. As the vast majority of the flying is dual with instructors then the risk factor was very low and the actual response to the problem not well founded.


The lack of incidents is no gauge of future performance, dual or solo is irrelevant.


Your frustration is evident, but haste and corner cutting is how we got here, it is not a way out.
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Old 17th Dec 2015, 08:10
  #1259 (permalink)  
 
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"Dear Mr & Mrs Bloggs, we're really sorry that little Johnny (age 13 and there quarters) died yesterday but it's really quite unusual for a wing to fall-off one of our gliders. We trust you understand that the RAF has been a bit busy lately and we consequently forgot to check how maintenance of the glider fleet was being managed. Some chap highlighted that we may want to take a look at the paperwork and, in keeping with our impeccable standards, we sent a chief tech to Syerston last Friday afternoon on his way home. He thought there may be a couple of issues but all the gliders were nice and shiny, as were the random aircraft bits left in a bin in the corner of the hangar. He popped back on Saturday with his screwdriver (before Final Score) and we think we've probably solved the problem now, although there's some merriment within 2 FTS at the spare control rod that seems to have been inadvertently sent to us by Grob a few years back.

Johnny was fortunate enough to be the first cadet to fly in a UK military registered glider since early 2014 and in recognition of this fact, we have arranged honorary (posthumous) membership of the Guild of Test Pilots. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year......."
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Old 17th Dec 2015, 08:56
  #1260 (permalink)  
 
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It has to be said that the the duty of care extends to all those flying those aircraft, not just cadets.


7700
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