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Air Cadets grounded?

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Air Cadets grounded?

Old 22nd Dec 2015, 18:23
  #1301 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
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The End?

I have been sadly following these events since the "pause." An an ex-VGS instructor, I think we have seen the 'halcyon days' of Air Cadet Gliding in the 80's, 90's and 00's. The Viking and Vigilant fleets were great - I was fortunate enough to instruct over 1,000 hours on Vigilants.

When I look back at why I joined the Air Cadets as a 13 year old in 1981, it was to fly. I ended up doing everything that the ATC had to offer from shooting, DOE, band etc, but by far and away, flying and gliding were my favourite.

I fear for the ATC now. This debacle has demotivated not only instructors but also why would a cadet want to join when the scope for flying is so limited.

Personally, I think there is a wider issue. It would not surprise me if this were an overall liability issue. With crown indemnity gone I bet the legal bods have wanted to curtail "civilians" flying a: minors and b: "military airplanes. I maybe off the mark but who knows.

So sad - I made friendship on my VGS that will last a lifetime and it gave me a confidence I would have not gained.....
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Old 23rd Dec 2015, 08:35
  #1302 (permalink)  
 
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Recovery contracts

I am told the recovery contracts have now been awarded with Marshals getting the Vigilant and Babcock getting the Viking work.

I see no indication of major cockpit upgrades at the moment, just the aircraft returned to service in the current state following inspection and rectification of any defects found.

It is likely in the short term some Avionic work will be required, all the gliders will shortly have to have the radios upgraded to 8.33 to meet international standards and with the rapid development of affordable collision avoidance equipment some sort of FLARM equipment is likely.

As this sort of upgrade is currently happening in the wider gliding world this equipment is avalable and with the size of order the MoD would make to cover the fleet the cost per aircraft is likely to be quite modest in terms of both purchase and fitting.
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Old 23rd Dec 2015, 10:40
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Any word on the numbers in the contracts? i.e. Complete vigilant fleet, or reduced? Ditto Viking?
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Old 23rd Dec 2015, 10:43
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Milts613 - Are you are sure you are not me in a parallel life ? :-)

Arc
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Old 23rd Dec 2015, 19:15
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Numbers

I would speculate that the Vigilant is going to be controlled by the servisable engine parts avalable, the Viking is most likely to be in the high 70's.

I am told that there are some airframes that the current contractor considers damaged beyond economic repair but the new contractors may view this with a different eye, so in the long run if money is avalable there may be more Vikings. However the aim is to get the largest number of aircraft into the air in the shortest time so I guess the least troublesome airframes will go down the line first.
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Old 23rd Dec 2015, 19:45
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Originally Posted by A and C View Post
<snip>

However the aim is to get the largest number of aircraft into the air in the shortest time so I guess the least troublesome airframes will go down the line first.
I suspect that until they start examining them & the paperwork they don't know which are the 'least troublesome' airframes...
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Old 23rd Dec 2015, 19:47
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Vig Engines

Apart from the current paperwork/tech control issues i thought the Vig engine life/spares situation was also an ongoing problem.
Can someone enlighten me !.
Is a re-engine program really on the cards for the fleet or just a few for Syerston.
ON the 'Radio' front i would have thought the limited radio work required by the machines would hardly warrant a new fit,and the GA fleet is not going to change wholesale.
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Old 23rd Dec 2015, 21:36
  #1308 (permalink)  
 
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Pobjoy

I don't know how marshals are going to tackle the engine problems.

As to the radios the whole of aviation is going to have to change to 8.33 because the bandwidth wider of the old radios steps on the 8.33 bandwidth.

At least four manufactures are marketing 8.33 radios with low power requirements suitable for gliders, most fit into a standard instrument hole, one of them can also act as a FLARM display.
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Old 24th Dec 2015, 10:24
  #1309 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
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A &C I was speaking to an engineer from the maintenance organisation yesterday but you may need to revise your statement and replace speculation with facts, I know it may be a struggle.
The current MO will be still continuing with the the Vigilant recovery package but calling in additional engineering support of marshals to expedite an increased supply of airframes
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Old 25th Dec 2015, 13:25
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Why oh why ?

So let's look at the facts, a company put in charge of maintaining a glider / motor glider fleet has its authority to fly the aircraft withdrawn, this is a huge failure in that they have been proven unable to supply serviceable aircraft to the customer.

The customer has given the recovery of the of the Viking fleet to another company who have a track record with other GRP aircraft fleets.

The Vigilants you say are being recovered by the original contractor with help from a company that is a specialist in heavy metal aircraft and who have very few staff remaining from the GRP aircraft MANUFACTURING company they took over.

Why am I not filled with confidence ?

No one would be more pleased than me to see the cadets back in the air but it is only industry capacity that has allowed the company that has failed spectacularly to forefill it's contract be involved with recovering these aircraft to flying status.

Interestingly the current company has had the VGS support contract renewed for a year, this has allowed the MoD a little more time to get tenders for the continuing support over the next ten years, I think that the RAF/MoD will be thinking very carefully about what they will ask for in the contract and if a company with the track record of the current contract holders are the right people to support air cadet gliding into the foreseeable future.
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Old 25th Dec 2015, 15:29
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The proven company with experience of GRP that's only managed to produce 2 Viking in 8 months even with a multiple increase in Project team manning. Hmmmm. Pot/Kettle springs to mind
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Old 25th Dec 2015, 15:58
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For the engine problem:

You can repower the Vigilant (Grob 109b) with Limbach/Korff or with Rotax 912 engines.

Both conversions are proven and flying in EASA Land.
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Old 25th Dec 2015, 19:27
  #1313 (permalink)  
 
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Why oh why

The current contractor is also the CAMO for the Vikings, they also hold the Spare parts and control inspections of the aircraft at Syerston, the aircraft also have a type certificate holder who has a poor knowlage of GRP repair techniques.

This leaves and subcontractor over a barrel in terms of how fast they an get things done, getting technical questions answered is difficult, if you go to Grob ( for the Tutor ) you can generally get an answer over the phone with drawings following quickly by email, Daimond are much the same. To get TQ's answered by the current type certificate holder take much longer.

With all large military projects it is getting the system running in the first place and the Viking recovery team are new to the military paperwork so getting the system started was part of the problem but in your pot, kettle black scenario leaves me having to ask What serviceable airframe production rate has been in the past two years from the contractor who had all the maintenance workshops and paperwork systems in place ?
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Old 25th Dec 2015, 19:55
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They had the systems in place? Hmmmm.

Time for an FOI request.
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Old 25th Dec 2015, 20:16
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difficult for a few to understand, but why not a clean sweep. New ASK-21 and SF25 with full factory TC support, but hey they won't listen
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Old 25th Dec 2015, 23:35
  #1316 (permalink)  
 
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CGB

The current contract holder has been running the gliders since the RAF gave them the contract, one has to assume that had the military paperwork system running along with the skilled staff employed to support the contract.......... The only problem is the MAA pulled the plug on them for failing to do the job properly, if their quality system had been up to scratch they would have found the alleged shortcomings of the previous RAF maintenance and pulled the aircraft with paperwork problems off line until it was sorted.

The new contractors for the Viking recovery had in place EASA145 as the tutors are civil aircraft, so the military paperwork system has to be put in place to comply with the MAA way of doing things.

Paul M

The glider manufactures don't have the capacity to get new aircraft delivered as anything like the rate the recovery program can get the current aircraft back in the air.
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Old 26th Dec 2015, 08:29
  #1317 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by paul m View Post
difficult for a few to understand, but why not a clean sweep. New ASK-21 and SF25 with full factory TC support, but hey they won't listen
Read back through the thread and you will find that mentioned several times that Schleicher didn't want the business when they were procuring the gliders, and if will take years for them to get 70+ gliders built by Schleicher. It's a 30+ year old design and the serial number on our brand new one is under 1,000.

The quote for our new one was just over EU93k, then VAT has to be paid and the glider imported into the UK.
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Old 26th Dec 2015, 18:10
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A and C

Have you asked LTB Sammet GMBH what their delivery times would be? I beleive that the RAFGSA have recently bought a bunch of Turbo-Falkes in a pretty reasonable timescale. I'm also reasonably sure that Herr Sammet and Herr Karl would be delighted to expand their production facilities in Heubach to accomodate a phased delivery if asked. Of the 65-odd Vigilants I'm resonably sure that over half would have been replaced in the past 600 days of non Air Cadet gliding!

The same would go for Alexander Scleicher who produce around 80 gliders per year with their 120 employees. If they increased their work-force by 50% then theor production would likely double.

As Paul M said, buying new civ-reg ASK-21 and SF25s is the wise thing to plan for if you want to future-proof Air Cadet gliding. So start putting the orders in now and plan for a phased withdrawal of the Viking/Viggy over the next 5 years...ploughing on with a mil-reg bunch of gear that might last another 10 years is a mug's game!

CPL Clott
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Old 26th Dec 2015, 18:57
  #1319 (permalink)  
 
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CC

I am told that the decision to keep the gliders on the military register is one taken at high level, it is a decision that narrows the RAF's options from an ease of suitable companies that can tender for military contracts and migh paint them into a bit of a corner in the future.

Most glider manufactures won't increase their workforce by 50% for one order, the social costs associated with getting rid of people in Europe are high, I know of one airline with a Uk, French & German companies that took the money out of the U.K. Company to prop up the French company because it was much cheaper to let the viable UK company go bust rather than pay the social security costs of busting the unviable French company.
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Old 27th Dec 2015, 11:16
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Hi, I was involved in the purchase of the SF25 Turbo (qty 3). It far better then the Vigilant (G109B) for many reasons:
greater take off performance - for EFATO options
lighter weight
great cockpit weight limits
lower fuel burn
modern engine with full support
ease of repair
great visibility with less cockpit furniture

The Australian aircadets bought 11 ASK-21 Mi in a short time scale. Something to say about the bonuses of the ASK-21 design!
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