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Air Cadets grounded?

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Air Cadets grounded?

Old 20th Mar 2016, 16:24
  #1921 (permalink)  
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Yes, and any club or individual out there wanting one will just crack on with it.

What they won't do is have endless meetings, form committees, working parties or 'recovery teams', throw hundeds of thousands at it, make promises and instantly break them, say they are working 24/7 on it when in reality they are sitting on their hands and arses, and generally do bugger all for 2 years !!!!
If you are dealing with one glider then no, you can just get on with it, but dealing with over 70? There HAS to be a plan, and plans don't materialise out of thing air. I'm not saying the planning process didn't leave a lot of be desired but there undoubtedly has to be one so there equally undoubtedly has to be a process to create it.
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 16:32
  #1922 (permalink)  

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Just spoke to my daughter, who left the ATC last year when she reached the age of 18 and was off to Uni. She only got the chance to fly once in four years (even though she became the unit's senior cadet before leaving and represented the ATC at sports). I told her about this news.

She just said: They should re-name the Air Cadets just ..."Cadets!"
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 17:26
  #1923 (permalink)  
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In addition to the tragic losses inflicted on the organisation, as others have alluded to the introduction of the 'simulators' is an area which I strongly feel we should be concerned about.

Firstly, they were brought in under a cloud of suggestions that a certain (deliberately nameless) person within the organisation had very strong links with the sims' manufacturer. I couldn't possibly comment, but this does seem to be some sort of 'open secret'...

More importantly, the role which they now seem set to play is almost certain to create a dangerous and toxic situation for any aspiring pilot who comes in to contact with them. Until now, they have been referred to in official terms as 'Part-Task Trainers (PTTs)'; this presumably is so that nobody would make the mistake of thinking that these were anything other than a limited-value training aid. It appears now that given the text of the parliamentary update and internal briefing note these PTTs are set to become a key part of future VGS training.

Now first of all, it can't have slipped people's attention that the thousands of pounds of the Charitable Trust's money spent on Vigilant PTTs will have been completely wasted (even if you happen to be in the camp which believes these things were a good idea in the first place). No Cadets have been trained on Vigilants since their introduction; to my knowledge so far no instructors outside of CGS have been given the opportunity to regain instructional categories. Given the likely recovery timescales (to include bringing aircraft back to flying status, requalifying crew and finally bringing Squadrons back to operational status) it looks extremely doubtful that by the 2019 retirement date that much meaningful Cadet training will have been done on Vigilant aircraft. I suppose we can just add the charity money wasted by whoever made the procurement decision on to all the rest of the catastrophic financial decisions throughout this debacle.

In terms of the devices themselves, they leave an awful lot to be desired. In the interest of balance, it's perhaps important to say that I've not had the pleasure of the Viking PTT and therefore this relates to the Vigilant from somebody experienced on type and also experienced in instruction on other types (from light aircraft to turbine) including significant simulator training in various FSTDs/FNPTs/FFSs. I would be interested in hearing the thoughts of others and also some feedback from the Viking fraternity. The major failings are:

- These devices are wholly inappropriate to the task: Ab-initio visual flying training CANNOT and SHOULD NOT be taught in a synthetic training device (particularly a low-grade one) for a whole host of reasons; not least because this task requires mechanical sympathy, control feedback, full appreciation of aircraft trimming, full outside visual reference and a strong emphasis on LOOKOUT.

- They do not accurately depict the handling characteristics, attitudes or performance of the aircraft: For instance, far less power is required to maintain level flight than for the real aircraft, airbrake use produces far less effect than for real, control co-ordination required significantly off the mark, approximately half rudder deflection required to maintain balance in a 20-30 degree bank turn, no trim change with power application or speed change, trim lever totally ineffective (seems to be decorative), constant control force on all axes at all speeds.

Furthermore, the 'generic' handling characteristics mean that the PTT's behaviour as you move further from S+L flight becomes even less realistic. For instance, you can apply and hold full aft elevator, full rudder and full opposite aileron and you won't even see an incipient spin. Equally, it's possible to perform a fairly low-speed aileron roll at the end of the runway after take-off. A G109 will crash if you try that. Yes, I would agree that these devices are not intended as aerobatic trainers, however if a FSTD is to be used for structured flying training, it must not allow pilots to operate in such a way as would kill them in real life. This is a significant danger.

- Poor/nil replication of important controls: One possible way in which the device could have been put to use would be as an emergency procedures trainer. However, various important controls have been so poorly replicated as to have a negative training value. The feathering handle, for instance, which is used to cause significant drag reduction in case of power-unit failure, in the aircraft requires a firm pull of about 12 inches, before being rotated through 90 degrees. In the PTT, it only needs to be turned through 90 degrees, can be done with thumb and finger, and (incredibly) says 'DO NOT PULL' on it. The carburettor hot air control does not need to be rotated to unlock/lock, and moves out less than half the distance needed for fully hot in the aircraft. The airbrake lever, of which one of the main training points is that it has an over-centre lock and must be positively checked to be locked when not physically being used, is not fitted with any form of lock in the PTT. Not locking in the actual aircraft could result in a serious accident. I've witnessed an incredibly near miss, I'm sure I'm not the only one. I believe this was also the suspected cause of the crash at Henlow a few years ago which was a very lucky escape.

These are just a sample of the device's shortcomings, however the possible consequences of training low-time students with such fundemental elements lacking could be catastrophic. As yet, I believe a sim training programme has not yet been implemented (although I understand one exists), however I personally am not prepared to partake in any such training as I believe it to be not only of poor value, but also dangerous. I would encourage other VGS personnel to think carefully before becoming involved in this, and if you feel strongly enough to report it through the normal safety reporting channels.

Safe flying,
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 17:32
  #1924 (permalink)  
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With regard to the redundant Vigilants flooding out onto the civil market, I'm not so sure. When faced with a similar situation several years ago, the USAF destroyed its complete fleet of plastic Fireflies rather then let them onto the civil market where people actually knew how to fly them.

The furore over this current Air Cadet situation might just prompt the 'powers that be' to do the same so that any flaw in their thinking about the condition of the aircraft might not be exposed.
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 18:16
  #1925 (permalink)  
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Nice piece Airbus38

But with the greatest respect to the Minister, Julian Brazier (MP for Canterbury and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Ministry of Defence), I doubt he has sufficient detailed knowledge and/or aeronautical experience (even as a former Shadow Transport Minister responsible for Aviation & Shipping) to have been able to have offered any robust technical 'challenge' to what he was apparently 'briefed' on (which I'm sure will have covered the proposed use of Vigilant PTT's), when visiting RAF Kirknewton recently.

Minister for Reserves, Julian Brazier, has visited RAF Kirknewton to see how RAF Air Cadets and volunteers gain flight experience training.

Image Credit : MOD (I appreciate the above is a Viking Sim)

Minister Visits RAF Kirknewton

NB. Mr Brazier joined the Territorial Army aged 19 in 1972 and served for 13 years, five of which were with 21 SAS(R). He was awarded the Territorial Decoration in 1993.

Last edited by CoffmanStarter; 20th Mar 2016 at 20:27.
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 18:55
  #1926 (permalink)  
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So much for the increase in defence spending when the very bedrock that sustains future RAF recruitment is decimated this way.
AEF flying taught this wee boy from the 60 's slums to look up....
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 19:11
  #1927 (permalink)  
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Hard faced descision..but a descision to save money.

It's not and never will be in the Conservative Party's DNA to give deprived kids a pull up. They'd rather send them up an industrial chimney with a brush if it could raise some money, or save some money to keep GB PLC on the road..
SOS for Defence was moaning on ages ago about the amount of MOD golf courses and all the rest of it, several years ago as I recall - so this is part of the slashing of cash/end of a fringe benefit that is deemed not useful.

BTW - How many of you leapt on the outrage bus when the council house bedroom tax kicked in? That gained a few quid as well. Shafted a lot of decent people mind....but only council houses dwellers and who cares about them?
Its salami slicing of cost to the taxpayer/treasury and you/we/us plebs had better get used to it.
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 19:27
  #1928 (permalink)  
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Part Task Trainers

Does anyone have any idea how much the 'procedure trainers' cost the purchasers !!!

Need to ramp up the info to the press now,whilst they are interested.
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 20:46
  #1929 (permalink)  
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Most of us on the sqns have heard the figure 25k apiece thrown around, Pobjoy.

No idea if this is pukka gen though.

And they ARE pants as a training aid and the CGS instructors will invariably tell you as much over a quiet beer. No more useful than the tried and tested cardboard bomber for touch drills.
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 20:49
  #1930 (permalink)  
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625k for 25 simulators according to this:

?Del Boy? Marks Trust?s 1 Million Moment


Last edited by Lima Juliet; 20th Mar 2016 at 21:02.
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 20:59
  #1931 (permalink)  
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Glad Rag ...

You are so right ... Decimation is the most apt description ...

Put aside for one moment airframe type and numbers that were available under the previous VGS Organisation, the proposed new VGS 'footprint' seems ridiculous (also see previous posts above on site locations/lack of representation).

Image Credit : Save The VGS FBook
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 21:06
  #1932 (permalink)  
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For completeness the extra AEFs at the following locations will come into play from 2017. I know they don't provide the same capability (ie. Solo flight) but it does paper a bit over the cracks...


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Old 20th Mar 2016, 21:14
  #1933 (permalink)  
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Cheers Leon

I'm not familiar with MAA docs ... I've had a quick look (and still looking) ... But does the MAA 'mandate' min requirements for 'synthetic' training environments ? What involvement would 22 Group have ?
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 21:34
  #1934 (permalink)  
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Ahh ... Found something !

MAA : RA 2375 - Approval and Use of Flight Simulator Training Devices


But I don't see a formal definition of what a PTT is/should be ?

Does anyone know what level of formal 'approval' these PTT's (Viking/Vigilant) have/will have ?

Last edited by CoffmanStarter; 20th Mar 2016 at 21:58.
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 21:35
  #1935 (permalink)  
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AEF in NI by 2017 ? I think add 2-3 years on that, IF it happens !
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 23:35
  #1936 (permalink)  
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Realistic AEF Operation

Have i missed something or has the AEF system been short of Pilots for years.

Thinking back 'many' years to when i was a Cadet i recall we missed an awful lot of 'allocations' due weather and other issues to the point that i never missed something that never seemed to happen.

Cue; hot footing across to 615 to 'help' and actually get airborne,and it was a much better experience as we were 'hands on' with the equipment and then was sat in an aeronautical orange crate and had a amazing 'launch' which i still remember;elbows out in the breeze and an uncluttered view,whilst wearing normal uniform 'sans beret'.

YOU Cretons at HQ ATC and MOD have destroyed something that any Cadet could experience and develop with the system if keen enough. B........s to your Part Task Trainers,Cascading,Face Book,and all that C...p.You are clueless and have no idea of Leadership or leading by example.You have lied to the Cadets,and staff plus treated them with contempt and disdain.You are a disgrace to the organisation that did so much for the ordinary youth,and also to those who provided so much encouragement and real leadership in the Corps developing decades. I am so sorry that the Squadrons that took on the fine traditions and adapted to new equipment have been so appallingly treated to the point of near treachery by the very people that should have been backing them up.In this 75th year let us remember the Squadrons never failed they were failed by those up top.
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 23:36
  #1937 (permalink)  
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Signed, as an ex 633 and 632 stude.

The ATC had no real bearing on my career trajectory - that was set long before I was old enough to join, however, the wealth of knowledge I gained at those two units, on my squadron (2415) and as a staff cadet at 8 AEF, along with the people I kept company with across the age and rank structure positively affected my life then and now - I had an edge all the way though University, and in to my career as a structures engineer in aerospace, specifically because of what I had been exposed to as a cadet, all that stuff you can never learn in books.

I've watched this thread quite closely, and its been a sad time in the history of the Air Training Corps for a whole raft of reasons.
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Old 21st Mar 2016, 06:24
  #1938 (permalink)  
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Airbus 38 wrote:

- These devices are wholly inappropriate to the task: Ab-initio visual flying training CANNOT and SHOULD NOT be taught in a synthetic training device (particularly a low-grade one) for a whole host of reasons; not least because this task requires mechanical sympathy, control feedback, full appreciation of aircraft trimming, full outside visual reference and a strong emphasis on LOOKOUT.
Absolutely. A PTT is only of use for procedure training and should never be used for ab initio visual flight training.

Presumably a Training Needs Analysis was conducted before this grant was made? Or was this yet another case of "Don't bother me with facts"?...
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Old 21st Mar 2016, 09:16
  #1939 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by BEagle
A PTT is only of use for procedure training and should never be used for ab initio visual flight training.
Absolutely right ... Shame, therefore, that the Air Cadet Commandant doesn't seem to appreciate the very important difference

I'm 'playing' the issue under debate not the 'personality' ... Skip to 5:00 for reference to PTT's for "Basic Flying Training" and "Simulated Air Experience" (whatever the latter means ?).

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Old 21st Mar 2016, 10:03
  #1940 (permalink)  
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Like Coffman, I play the facts, not the person. But this was uploaded 3 years ago to YouTube and it shows OC2FTS' "personal" views, when he was a Regional Commandant, on the use of technology and 'quality over quantity'. This would chime with my previous conspiracy theory that today's position has been a long time coming:


I don't share the same horrror about using a low-grade flight sim as some on here if it is used for what it is. However at 25k a go, I don't think that is value for money - certainly not 'quality over quantity' in my personal opinion. Three simulators could buy a new glider/motorglider, for instance.

Whilst I don't think that the VGS decision will get reversed, I hope that it will be relooked at (independent review) and a better plan is developed for say 4 years time - they could aim at the planned loss of the Vigilant in 2019. Phoenixes can rise from the ashes if given a chance and the time is now to get some money put aside in future years to pay for this - maybe a partnership with Service Charities is a good thing?

The review I propose must be independent as there appears to be too much personal influence running through the decisions taken of late. A fresh set of eyes to a problem that has dragged for a number of years is normally a good thing!

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