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RAF Instructors - steely eyed or gentle and supportive ?

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RAF Instructors - steely eyed or gentle and supportive ?

Old 22nd Oct 2015, 12:02
  #81 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Maxibon View Post
there is no place for bullying at any level. Professionalism has a quality all of it's own; bullying displays one's own inferiority.

At any level?

You do understand what militaries are for yes?

We are the thugs for politicians. That is our job.

Our job is to throw our weight around and impose the will of our country upon others weaker than us.

That is what empires, including ours, are built on.

The Chinese are currently doing it in the islands off the coast of south east asia.

That is what the US did off Cuba.

It's what we did to Libya.
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Old 22nd Oct 2015, 12:28
  #82 (permalink)  
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The other side

Just to put some balance back into this thread if I may.

Way back in the very early 1980's when I was a student pilot at Cranwell, I had the pleasure of Ray 'Fu?K1ng' Knowles as my Primary Instructor on the JP5A.

First time we flew together I barfed all over him, me and most of the cockpit.

Those of you that remember Ray will know that he had a reputation for 'telling it how it was' but he stuck with me.

My air sickness caused major problems for me in the run up to the spin aeros check as I needed 3 hands to fly the thing and most practice spins resulted in 'I have "fu&king"control' from Ray in the right seat while I fumbled for, then stared into the blue bag.

But in the run up to my spin aeros check Ray spent an hour or so every evening sitting in a JP in the hangar with me after work so that he could apply 'input force' from the right column commensurate for me to overcome on the left column as he felt that I was ripe for the chop due airsickness slowing my progress, but that if we could beat the airsickness there was a remote possibility that I may one day see a set of wings pinned on my chest. I got through that spin aeros check, got the wings and subsequently saw Ray again at Brize when he was on 101 Sqn.

I think the point I am trying to make is that sometimes an image is maintained, even encouraged, but underneath you may be pleasantly surprised what you find.

I was.
Old 22nd Oct 2015, 12:38
  #83 (permalink)  
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I think that there's a difference between bullying and aggression. I can think of many mild-mannered, wouldn't-hurt-a-fly colleagues who, when they stepped onto a rugby pitch were transformed. Unless you're a front line fighter pilot you're supporting someone else's fight. In my experience (support helicopters) the difficult thing about military aviation in a combat role is overcoming your fear and having the courage and discipline to carry out your job. My students showed their mettle time and again in combat, all I could do as their instructor was to equip them as best as I could for their frontline role. It often took patience and occasionally a little ingenuity to get my point across but a I never once even raised my voice or lost my temper; it would not have achieved anything. The guys and girls were invariably trying their best and I was simply there to help them. I cajoled, encouraged and chided until they achieved the required standard. On the the very odd occasion when they failed to meet the standard and were withdrawn from training, I was as gutted as they were. Of all the aviation disciplines I can honestly say that instructing was the one that gave me the most satisfaction.
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Old 22nd Oct 2015, 13:01
  #84 (permalink)  
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Tourist, bullying is for the enemy; its not for your own damn side.

Firm instruction is fine. Even shouting, when required, to elicit life saving action is essential some times, and no one is saying that you need to be fluffy and hugging all the time but being threatening and making people scared to learn, just in case they make a mistake is a disgrace.

Some people will need to be chopped, some will learn at a slower rate than others but can make the grade, some learn slow and then have a ureka moment and become excellent but its the job of the instructor to work that out and help not hinder progress.

Now, I'm not an aviator, but I have experienced good and bad instructors in my fishead world, along with good and bad bosses. But the ones that bullied their own team were the ones that sometimes succeeded in achieving very short term aims, but invariable failed to achieve long term term professional performance from those around them, even when they were technically capable. They were the ones at fault.
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Old 22nd Oct 2015, 13:09
  #85 (permalink)  
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Tourist, whilst I have no intent in getting into a slanging match, I am well aware of the requirements of the military, given my rank and experience. I can only hope you are/were never in a position of educating subordinates on anything to do with the moral component of fighting power!
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Old 22nd Oct 2015, 14:28
  #86 (permalink)  
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Colleague of mine on our UAS ( who I shall call P) won a flying scholarship, soloed @ 16, won every trophy going on the Squadron ,big hit with the girls and The Boss declared him a natural ( flying that is) and us youngsters were in awe.

P then joined the RAF when he left uni.

Fast forward to Chivenor TWU and he came across an instructor who took as intense dislike to him. P consequently went multi and then after a tour or 2 ended up at CFS on the Tucano.

By shear coincidence , I then found myself working some years later with his Ex Flight Commander @CFS and an interesting story came out.They once held an aero competition and the story goes that P was not only the only bod on the Squadron that didn't have Front line fast jet experience, but he was also given the worst aircraft for the comp. The rest you can guess, he won with aplomb.
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Old 22nd Oct 2015, 19:11
  #87 (permalink)  
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Confucius he say:

'Em as can - do.

'Em as can't - instruct.

'Em as can neither do nor instruct - go on the Examining Board.

(no, not me, Confucius)

Old 22nd Oct 2015, 19:42
  #88 (permalink)  
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Firstly to Wander I had Les Hillditch at Sywell and thought him a great guy. Never quite understood his method of landing the Auster though. "Keep stirring it" was his technique.

I had a smashing instructor on the JP3, until you closed the canopy! Taught me a lot about instructing for use later.

I never had any problems with my students possibly because they were all better at flying than I was.

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Old 22nd Oct 2015, 19:59
  #89 (permalink)  
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kintyred and andyy. The best two posts on the thread. You don't have to chop to maintain standards, that's total bull. Why? Imagine that by coincidence, the ten students on a course we're the top ten students that went through for decades. Do you chop a star just to look good? That is why you judge against course standard. If need be chop everyone........ Or no one.
You can't judge how someone will perform in combat by assessing them in a circuits sortie. You can be hard on someone without being a bullying knob as well. There is no place in a modern fighting force for bullies, there is no place for someone below standard either. When I chopped a student, they knew that they had been treated fairly and honestly. That isn't too much to ask.
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Old 23rd Oct 2015, 00:55
  #90 (permalink)  
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Bananas - that is an inspiring story. A fast jet pilot who suffered from airsickness. I never would have thought... honest!
R/e aggression - isn't the key word controlled?
After all, that's what the uniform represents?
Discipline... you are allowed to kill people and/or break their stuff... using multi million dollar super weapons that are pointy and go very fast.
But only when I say so.
Bully people, and you run the risk they'll be too scared to make optimal decisions.
Simple science.
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Old 23rd Oct 2015, 01:13
  #91 (permalink)  
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I confess I have been surprised by some of these comments, and every time I watch Spartacus I shall think of RAF FJ training in the 1970s. Or maybe I'm just soft.

I find it hard to believe that today's Typhoon pilots had to contend with gut punches during their training and I'm sure it doesn't make them any less deadly.

I have no love of the bully.

Last edited by Fonsini; 23rd Oct 2015 at 01:30.
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Old 23rd Oct 2015, 09:19
  #92 (permalink)  
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Poor instruction can have repercussions ...

SAC Bloggs undergoing trade training was subjected to continued verbal 'encouragement' from a particularly abrasive Cpl. Nevertheless Bloggs passed the course and went to his new Unit.
Time passed, he did well, so well that he applied for and gained a commission.
He eventually arrived at a Unit as JEngO where, lo and behold, the abrasive Cpl (now a Sgt) was being his usual self. Our JEngO had the Sgt marched in to his office (with hat!).
"Well Sgt, we meet again. You do realise that your career stops here. Dismiss."
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Old 23rd Oct 2015, 09:58
  #93 (permalink)  
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FZ - just proves that on the way up you never know who you might meet coming down
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Old 23rd Oct 2015, 10:08
  #94 (permalink)  
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I firmly believe that the attitude shown on here is why we can't win wars anymore.

Iraq, got our ass kicked.
Afghanistan, got our ass kicked.

The students that some of you on here are waxing lyrical about teaching with gentle genius have all proceeded to lose the wars they were involved in. (I include myself in this!)

British Society has got itself into a position where we look back proudly and longingly at our glorious empire history, whilst at the same time vilifying the attitude that got us that empire in the first place.

We bullied and fought our way to the top, stopping at nothing to rule. Might was right.
We bullied the Chinese into buying Heroin FFS!
Military was harsh.
Schools were harsh.
Life was tough.
Darwin ruled.

The British were tough.

Now, not so much.

The meaning of the word "bully" has been twisted out of all proportion.
What used to be considered bullying is very different than what we would now call bullying. Defriending on facebook now qualifies

There is a reason that military training has always had some harsh parts. It toughens you up. You need a bit of mental scar tissue, or combat will mess you up.

The forces we now fight against are tough. They are hardened. We will also need to be.

If getting shouted at in the cockpit is too much for you then go do something else.


What an amazingly self satisfied post. How he hell do you know what the student you chopped thought of you?!


What a cowardly post. You say you don't want a slanging match and then slag off my suitability as a teacher.


You do realise that what happened in that wholesome tale of revenge is that the Jengo used his position to bully the Sgt, but somehow that bullying is ok?
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Old 23rd Oct 2015, 10:09
  #95 (permalink)  
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"Well Sgt, we meet again. You do realise that your career stops here. Dismiss." - FZ

Fully agree, as I often do with Wander00, but it seems to me that there's actually an element of bullying there too, as opposed to setting out to use his new status as JEngO to put the sergeant on the right track.

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Old 23rd Oct 2015, 10:25
  #96 (permalink)  
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I guess different ways of reading it, but if young(ish) Fg Off was intent to ensure that sgt's bullying style was stopped, I am not going to die in a ditch.
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Old 23rd Oct 2015, 10:31
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Tourist said:

Afghanistan, got our ass kicked.
Which particular century? The current one or a previous 'bullying' one when we had a short lived, crippling expensive 'glorious' 'Empire?'

The examples you quote were not lost by the combatants, shame on you for suggesting such. They were lost by the politicians who picked fights we could not win.

As an aside it was the USA bullying of an unaligned nationalist movement in Cuba that led to the revolution and further bullying that led the new regime reluctantly into the hands of the Soviets.
It was political expediency that led to the removal of the missiles. The sum total was decades of resentment by Cubans, a refugee crisis, seperated and estranged families and the accelerated development of ICBMs and SLBMs. Hardly a win.

Training does at times need to be harsh, uncomfortable and difficult, however it does not need to include bullying, which is counterproductive to learning and breeds nought but resentment.

Last edited by beardy; 23rd Oct 2015 at 10:55.
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Old 23rd Oct 2015, 10:37
  #98 (permalink)  
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Wanders - I was firstly fully agreeing with your very valid observation, but secondly suggesting that FZ's post, as written, gives more than a hint of bullying, so no "fosse" required!

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Old 23rd Oct 2015, 10:54
  #99 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by beardy View Post
Tourist said:

Training does at times need to be harsh uncomfortable and difficult, however it does not need to include bullying, which is counterproductive to learning and breeds nought but resentment.
This part I would definitely agree with, however the problem comes with the definition of "bullying"

Bullying, like poverty, is a word who's meaning shifts with the times.
Neither can ever be wiped out almost by definition.

One persons harsh is another's bullying.

Military personnel need to be tough.
Gentle training does not make you tough.
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Old 23rd Oct 2015, 10:58
  #100 (permalink)  
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Tourist, true and over bearing psychological bully can be just as bad. It might be good for RtI training but it does necessarily create a good learning environment or create good followers.

A better leader is one who creates an atmosphere where people want to succeed rather than one who is coercive.
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