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Air Cadets grounded?

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Air Cadets grounded?

Old 4th Feb 2016, 11:36
  #1561 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: 15nm south of the MCT
Posts: 1
Has anybody received any form of update as yet in regard to the future plans? For example squadron merge, aircraft types or God forbid closures.
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Old 4th Feb 2016, 16:40
  #1562 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: 11 GROUP
Age: 72
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Redesigned System

LR Whilst i can see that the situation is panning out in a most UNPROFESSIONAL
way i struggle to understand why 'the powers to be' would go about a reorganisation in this manner.
As a reflection of the overall organisation it is a DISASTER
As a lesson in competent management it is a DISASTER
AS a reflection of the senior officers who control the organisation it hardly is a model of leadership or overall competence.
AS a reflection of the basic competence of the MOD/RAF to organise a flying unit it beggars belief.
In PR terms it is the biggest cock up in the Cadet organisation in all of its 75 years.

Whilst JM may well have been put in post to 'reorganise' the organisation i doubt even if the brightest bunnies at the top would see this debacle as the best way to do it.
However whilst the appointment of JM must be seen as a huge mistake it shows great concern with regard to the ability of those at the top that chose him.
There are too many 'concerned' experienced people who know about this now,and no carpet big enough to hide in under.
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Old 4th Feb 2016, 18:06
  #1563 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: northofwhereiusedtobe
Posts: 1,182
As I posted previously - sometimes a certain person is put into a certain job to get a specific result (not always a good one).
Historically - modernish brits are masters at closing things down - if they only spent as much energy keeping things open and working our country would be somewhat different.
One only has to look back at the Railway closure programme to see the full suite of dirty tricks employed to ensure that a Line failed.
At my last job - the company employed a really strange guy to take charge of the aircraft engineering side - the result was horrendous and it has taken years after his dismissal to get it back more or less where it was !
As I also posted previously - the almost 2 years of grounding has been extremely convenient for MOD as they are looking to save money on non operational units/airfields etc.
I am certainly not putting the whole blame on one person - I think there is far too much going on concurrently !
As I also posted previously - any agendas will become clearer with time.
The VGS staff have been treated horrendously !
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Old 4th Feb 2016, 20:39
  #1564 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Uranus
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Strange guy

Ron- slight thread drift but would you care to expand about the strange guy in the Aircraft Engineering dept you refer to?

Just curious as to the story if you don't mind
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Old 4th Feb 2016, 21:18
  #1565 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2007
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PM sent S109 !
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Old 5th Feb 2016, 13:15
  #1566 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,309
The field at which I keep some of my "toys" is used by the local Air Cadets for their gliding program, many of the instructors are in fact ex -employees of our flight schools and charter operation, I recently met up with one for a coffee and asked if had read this thread, "yes he had", to which I made a comment to the effect that it was good that we in Canada had avoided such a bloody mess, he then went out to his car and returned with the "new and improved" SOPs, the book is actually thicker than the SOP manual for Canada's largest airline! It seems that this rot has started over here pushed by the same agenda as in the UK, that is the take over by retired regular force types who have no background in such basic flying operations as flying simple little gliders and aircraft. I think we need to not allow any managers into a system which has run so well for seventy years unless they have come up through the very same system, it seems that over here the regular Military just dont understand "Kiss". {Keep it simple stupid !}

Last edited by clunckdriver; 5th Feb 2016 at 13:22. Reason: Spelin!
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Old 5th Feb 2016, 20:21
  #1567 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Scotland
Posts: 46

Brief but to the point little ditty here...

Happy 75th birthday, Air Cadets: Glider fleet still grounded after 2 YEARS | Defence for Dummies
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Old 6th Feb 2016, 06:26
  #1568 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 1999
Location: north of barlu
Posts: 6,168
The truth can't come out........... Yet !

This thread is particularly frustrating in that the truth of what is going on with the technical side of the recovery is being well hidden for leagal reasons.

No one wants to say too much about the way some of the contractors are conducting themselfs because contracts are up for renewal and if those competing for new contracts said too much about the performance of others competing for contracts that they have had interaction with the Lawyers would be out playing the fairness card and make the proccees of getting the new maintenance & support contracts put in place take even longer.

The RAF now well aware and with a highly embarrassing situation on their hands have put some very bright people on the case to try and resolve the issues that are holding back the glider recovery. I am sure that they have a firm grasp of the facts and the action needed to resolve the problems but they can only work within the limitations of the current situation.

They are faced with a number of problems mostly revolving around industry capacity and contracts that might be expensive to cancel even IF ( and I stress IF ) they found a contractor who was failing to deliver the goods simply kicking them out would result in nothing happening at all while new contractors are hired and they have to find the capacity from what is a very small industry.

The contracts for both the support & type certificate holder are up for renewal at the end of this year and SHOULD the RAF decide to award the contracts to new contractors this time would be used to ensure a smooth hand over.
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Old 6th Feb 2016, 07:46
  #1569 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: uk
Posts: 2,844

That is an excellent post if you don’t mind me saying so.

If I were Mr MoD, in parallel with all this activity I’d be conducting a review into why the existing “system” has broken down. This would take 5 minutes, as it was included, with examples, in the evidence to the Nimrod Review. A search of “Nimrod” on PPRuNe would suffice.

It will surprise many that management of such issues, and preventing such failures, is not in the first instance the job of the much maligned DE&S. It is something you do before being promoted to the most junior grade in DE&S, and is the role of Service HQ branches. For example, in the FAA it was a small part of a civilian’s job in DGA(N) HQ. I hope these bright people looking into such things as balancing MoD/Industry capacity aren’t being paid much, and are no more than Grade D! Maybe they’d be better employed getting experience in these now disbanded posts. Ah, a clue.
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Old 6th Feb 2016, 10:23
  #1570 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Recovery Another nail in the coffin

Am i missing something here or is the 'system' just grinding on in its usual manner with no real improvement in how they organise things.
How difficult can it be to 'Recover' a fleet of machines that were all quite happily flying around one day without 'tent-pegging' into the countryside.
We are talking about 'inspections' not rebuilds; not exactly an unusual occurrence in the aviation world.
If some serious work is required then the machines in question can be 'sent out' in the same way as the GSA would do.
The fact that TWO YEARS down the line there has been no real progress that has resulted in some of the Squadrons being able to resume operations just confirms that no one knows how to run this show and money is being spent every week without the goods being delivered or Cadets flying.
Perhaps the chief engineer of the BGA or GSA should be brought in to tell them what to do;at least the 'system would get the benefit of tech competence and ability to assist the situation as opposed to bumbling along in a bureaucratic cloud without instruments.
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Old 6th Feb 2016, 14:21
  #1571 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: LONDON
Posts: 106
Related Article

A related article:

Happy 75th birthday, Air Cadets: Glider fleet still grounded after 2 YEARS | Defence for Dummies

'Today marks the 75th birthday of the Air Training Corps. Yet amongst today’s formal celebrations is an elephant in the room: the corps’ 150-strong glider fleet has been grounded since 2014 – and may stay there for another two or three years.

In 2014 concerns were raised over airworthiness of the Grob G.109B Vigilant and G.103 Viking fleets, which are owned by the RAF and on the military register, after aircraft repair logs were found not to reflect the true state of the airframes. Sensibly, the RAF grounded them all while it investigated.

However, this left cadets without any gliding training at all. Although ATC and CCF(RAF) cadets are able to take part in air experience flights in the RAF’s Grob Tutor powered aircraft alongside a qualified instructor, they do not receive any formal, structured flying training.

The Vigilant and Viking fleets were used to teach cadets the basics of flying and gliding up to first solo standard. Staff cadets took on more advanced gliding training and could even become qualified gliding instructors themselves. Although RAF-owned, the gliders are maintained by Serco under an outsourcing contract.

Meanwhile the RAF’s No.2 Flying Training School, commanded by Group Captain John Middleton, a former regional commandant with the ATC, has continued to dither about the process of “recovering” the two glider fleets (which it is responsible for) back to flying status. While a tiny handful of gliders are now in flying condition and based at RAF Syerston, 2 FTS’s Nottinghamshire home, this is cold comfort for teenagers in Cornwall, Scotland or Northern Ireland who joined the ATC to fly.

The ATC has consistently refused to allow cadet units to organise flying or gliding training opportunities with local civilian clubs, instead insisting that cadets must wait for 2 FTS to pull its finger out. After two years of total inactivity, however, the instructors of the ATC’s Volunteer Gliding Squadrons (VGSs), volunteers who give up their free time to teach cadets to glide, will need to refresh skills that have significantly degraded through lack of practice. Many, it is feared, will have walked away from the ATC altogether and found something else to do with their free time.

Cadets and their volunteer staff have been given no official confirmation of when gliding will resume, despite many vague promises from the ATC and 2 FTS. However, Babcock International, a defence contractor, is currently advertising for a Viking Recovery Contract Manager on a two year basis. This would mean by the time the contract ends, cadet gliding will have taken almost five years to resume.

Venture Adventure indeed.'

Last edited by ATFQ; 6th Feb 2016 at 14:24. Reason: Addition of Text
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Old 6th Feb 2016, 14:59
  #1572 (permalink)  
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Now that the 75th anniversary is here there is a certain amount of irony with the logo:

(75 being the likely number of Vikings to be recovered!)
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Old 6th Feb 2016, 15:10
  #1573 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2000
Location: UK
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I understood that the Minister made his decision earlier in the week. Does anyone know if OC 2FTS has called the VGS OCs yet? I believe that nothing will be said until the VGS OCs have been informed; and rightly so...

...the silence is deafening!

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Old 6th Feb 2016, 16:23
  #1574 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Peterborough
Posts: 76
Ah, "the Air Cadet waving bye-bye to the glider fleet...." as it is known by some

As for when will we hear something on the recovery, taken from Commandant Air Cadet's FB page yesterday -

"Just to reassure those of you sending me messages about the glider recovery programme. We still await clearance to put the plan into the public domain so we are not trying to delay or hide things from you. The announcement is inextricably linked to the DIO Basing Review and you can understand that the MoD does not want to preempt that, which is due to report in June. We are just working out what we can release without prejudicing other important work and we will announce as soon as we can. I know, I sound like a broken record but, believe me, these things are complicated and my hands are tied."
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Old 6th Feb 2016, 16:42
  #1575 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 1999
Location: north of barlu
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Fortunately ignorance is bliss as they say and your happiness when flying these machines was not taking account of what is under the skin, I think if you had been aware of some of the things that have been found in terms of badly executed repairs you might adjust your opinion.

One of the big problems with composites is that even the worst repair can be covered with filler & paint leaving even those with a passing knowlage of the subject fooled. Some of the aircraft have very substandard repairs and due to the disappearing records there is no way to know if an aircraft has of has not had any repair work in the past so an inspection requiring IRO 150-160 man hours has to be carried out.

Once the inspection has been done any problems have to Be addressed and this is when the problems start, if the repair work requires input from a design authority ( in the civil world normally the manufacturer ) they have to be consulted and a repair scheme issued. Most glider manufacturers are on top of this and a repair scheme is usually issued within 7 days or so.

The Vikings type certificate holder & design authority is a large defence contractor with some composite manufacturing experience but very little repair experience and apparently no contracted time scale for issuing repair schemes !

As you might guess this is the sort of culture that when something goes outside the design authoritiys ( limited ) comfort zone the problem gets kicked around for weeks and if they are lucky gets lost in the long grass when something less taxing to do turns up and allows them to look busy.

Pobjoy I would like to assure you that there are people trying very hard to push this project along at speed but are wading neck deep in the treacle put in place by people who are well outside there comfort zone with composite structures
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Old 6th Feb 2016, 22:08
  #1576 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Farnham, Surrey
Posts: 1,173
Update released on Twitter

@2ftsaerospace hi guys hope to release gliding news soon It will mean change but future Aco gliding will be second to none comdt2fts
As far as glider flying goes at the moment, the ACO has none, and what is being promised is second best to that... Don't get your hopes up!
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Old 6th Feb 2016, 22:36
  #1577 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Bedford
Posts: 412
Should have overhauled the Venture fleet they would probably still be flying. After 12 years flying them appalled at what is happening to the Gliding Schools and the morale of staff and cadets.
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Old 6th Feb 2016, 22:42
  #1578 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: LONDON
Posts: 106

romeo bravo,

So, one assumes that it will be confirmed imminently (this week?):

How many gliders from each of the Vigilant and Viking fleets will ultimately be recovered.

What the RAF's intended/preferred future VGS lay-down looks like - pending the outcome of the DIO Basing Review.

What options are open to instructors and staff to move to another VGS where their own VGS happens to be disbanded (should this turn out to be the case).

Another thought: given that gliding is such a fundamental part of delivering the 'Air' in Air Cadets, that Air Cadet numbers have declined significantly and continue to do so as a consequence of the lack of gliding, and that the Government (including the Prime Minister) is committed to increasing cadet numbers, one would expect the VGS footprint necessary to provide adequate coverage over the UK (based on ATC sqn [and CCF(RAF) unit] disposition) to be an important factor in its own right in the DIO Basing Review. Yes, some bases have to close, but Ministers will not wish to make decisions that kill off large swathes of the cadet population where a bit more flexibility could have been exercised at minimal additional cost.

Finally, I think that it is about time that these volunteers who have given so much to the organisation in the past were now told the truth that is known and the detail behind any uncertainty over basing that still remains (as a consequence of the DIO Basing Review). They are at least owed this level of honesty before the tank of goodwill runs completely dry (it already has for some). VGS instructors and staff could then at least start to weigh up their options, and someone could start putting a plan together to help them out - properly - if we want to keep them.
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Old 7th Feb 2016, 07:05
  #1579 (permalink)  
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The announcement is inextricably linked to the DIO Basing Review and you can understand that the MoD does not want to preempt that, which is due to report in June.
Well, there's another four months delay then - what an utterly disgraceful shambles!
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Old 7th Feb 2016, 09:15
  #1580 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 203
Should we be reading anything into this Twitter posting by OC2FTS?


Hi guys been a little busy !also have had a Twitter phaff- daughter sorted it Now cooking on gas - 5 rings watch this space comdt 2fts
Seems he is not able to manage his Twitter account without help from his daughter!!

Surely the professionals should be handling any information that is disseminated over Twitter and Facebook by this, and other very responsible persons, with regard to this "Pause in Air Cadet Gliding" debacle.

A simple glance at any of the VGS web sites gives some clues as to lack of any direction/organisation with regard to publicity. They (the VGS's) are stumbling in the dark with no guidance or leadership from above about the message that is (or should be) conveyed to interested Air Cadets. I say "Well done" to those Squadrons who have managed to keep some sort of ball rolling.

Like many posters I am very saddened in the way that this has been allowed to happen to Air Cadet Gliding, not by the Volunteers, but by some very high ranking, highly paid people who somebody trusted to do a good job!

Rant over......

Last edited by Frelon; 7th Feb 2016 at 14:01. Reason: Apostrophe Police!!
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