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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 25th Oct 2015, 16:36
  #141 (permalink)  
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Sadly not all of them.....
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Old 25th Oct 2015, 18:40
  #142 (permalink)  
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Abdg, have a heart. It was perhaps 30 years ago but I remember it was about AAC Lynx instructors and students. I don't for one moment believe she meant at a first meeting but certainly early on on the system.
Sorry, that was unfair, just got the impression you might have known the author. I used to have a desk next to a professor emeritus of psychology who had been involved in flight training. Whenever I heard swearing, I'd fix his computer then in return he'd reminisce about his roles in blue streak etc etc... One of the highlights of my time at university.
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Old 25th Oct 2015, 19:03
  #143 (permalink)  
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I was ace, ;0) honest! I struggled through some aspects of flying training so had more in common with those studes of mine who also didn't quite 'get it'.
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Old 25th Oct 2015, 19:11
  #144 (permalink)  
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Take a crash course in why we got thrashed in the sandpits.

Try reading "Losing Small Wars" and "Investment in Blood", both by Frank Ledwidge.

Then you may realise it had little to do with the troops/flyers/sailors and their support staff and more to do with the top brass, heavily overpaid and undertalented?
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Old 25th Oct 2015, 19:32
  #145 (permalink)  
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From beardy,

I think you will find Llamaman was saying by 'a la' was 'in the style of'. In which case I agree with him. Having taught flying and other practical skills 'a la' CFS I have found their technique very good and in use by other armed forces worldwide. CM, you probably, unwittingly, used their basic techniques, which would explain your success.
Thanks for that. Of course I didn't mean that CFS are the authority on all things instructing. Far from it, and I personally took issue with the way they did a lot of things. If my comment came across as arrogant it certainly wasn't meant to.

My point was that to be fully informed on the issue you are much better placed if you have experienced things from both sides of the fence, it's called empathy. I think that is a fair assumption.
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Old 25th Oct 2015, 19:42
  #146 (permalink)  
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As a currently-teaching, CFS-qual'd QFI now on exchange I can say with no shred of doubt that however bad Tourist may believe that the current training pipeline is, that it is a whole pile better than a large number of the alternatives utilised by our allies. This includes those based on our own CFS style but that have gone a long way further down the path of "numbers only, no opinions" than ours.

What we have is not perfect, but having seen a number of different options I still maintain that it is the best available. That said, it isn't as good as the corporate mentality at CFS thinks it is - the corporate (not individual) arrogance that pervades CFS stops it from continuing to improve as quickly as it should at times.

As regards the quality of training, don't confuse different approaches with different standards. I'd suggest that in my own realm of experience (SH/SF Support) that we are training guys to do things as a matter of routine on the line Sqns that weren't even possible 10-15 years ago, never mind the preserve of SF-only crews. The fact that they are conducting this effectively and for the most part safely should speak volumes about the quality of the training system delivering them.

Nothing is ever as good as it could be, but that doesn't mean it used to better either. Just because it isn't how it was when you went through doesn't mean everyone else isn't as good as you were. And if that's your view and you haven't done something to fix the problem, then you ARE the problem.
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Old 25th Oct 2015, 22:05
  #147 (permalink)  
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No, I did not say your comment was arrogant. The arrogance I was referring to was the CFS attitude - or more correctly a perception of such and the attitude that some folk here are talking about.

Now that you phrase it like that, I see the point you are making. Two sides to every story. But that doesn't necessarily mean that those from one side cannot form a valid opinion of the other. I have formed opinions of doctors I have seen without ever training as a doctor. I didn't need that training to know a couple of them were utter arses. May have been perfectly well qualified doctors, but such appealing bedside manners (as I believe it's called) that they were totally ineffective as people supposed to care for people, their wellbeing and their health.

But here's the difference. As a "patient" I was a customer of a service that I pay for. But as a student I was a willing competitor in a military training regime and being trained not just to fly hardware, but also to use it for a deadly purpose. As a patient, I expect to be treated with compassion and to get whatever treatment I require (as long as NICE has decided the price is worth it). A a student I expected to be challenged to learn at the appropriate rate and also to prove that I had the mettle to do the job that may required of me.

Yes, there is no place for outright bullying. But there is a requirement for students to show that have a degree of fortitude as potential future warfighters.

Going back to your point about seeing both sides. We all know that there are, supposedly, no guilty people in prison. Most, it seems, are victims of some travesty. I've heard a lot of accounts of bad instructional technique from guys who's sorties didn't go well.

P.S. As an instructor, I did once write "DNCO Instructor" in the auth sheets when I really felt that I had not done my job properly. That raised some eyebrows.


I'm not sure you've properly understood the thrust of Tourist's remarks.
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Old 25th Oct 2015, 22:26
  #148 (permalink)  
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Tourist, were you one of the RW pilots who came to the Brize Flying Club to obtain their PPLs?

All were fine, although one chap found that landing a SpamCan at 65 KIAS, on something that was 10000 ft long but wasn't moving, was somewhat different to landing from a hover on a postage stamp on the back of one of HM's grey war canoes battling the briny - so we did the circuit part of his Skill Test again.

I couldn't resist bursting into laughter when I did the diversion element of the Skill Test with one FAA chap - he kept producing various plotting jobbers of increasing complexity from behind him and I half expected a parallel rule and dividers to appear from his Pusser's grip, plus probably a lodestone and quadrant staff. Most people simply used the edge of the checklist and a chinagraph to draw the track, then the miles scale and a convenient VOR rose to assess distance and track.... But this latter-day Nelson managed to fly the aeroplane whilst making his plan with fiendish accuracy and as a result we arrived at the diversion spot on his ETA.
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Old 26th Oct 2015, 03:53
  #149 (permalink)  
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I flew with a couple of those guys.

The biggest problems with my BFT course was instructor continuity. I went from the CFI, to a FJ psychopath, to a jolly nice C130 chap (who bemoaned the lack of tea making facilities in the JP), to a creamie (younger than me and who couldn't understand the concept of being just 'average'); to another FJ pilot (ex Harrier and the best pilot I have ever flown with but again, some problems with the 'average' concept); to another C130 pilot (who was further behind the aircraft than me); then to another creamie (good - and sympathetic to my plight), then another FJ pilot - who really didn't want to be there. Finally, I got a really good instructor (ex Shacks and one of the nicest guys you could possibly wish to fly with) who I learned the most from - but unfortunately, too late. For most of the course, I didn't have a clear idea of what I was trying to achieve as a lot of my energy and capacity was taken up with trying to adapt to different instruction styles. I got re-streamed to Group 2 at the end of BFT and I still consider that it was largely the system that failed and not necessarily me.

I'm not complaining - I had a fantastic time in the AAR world (I got to fly with BEagle!) and I wouldn't have had it any other way. But I learned a lot from the bad experiences and decided that if I ever became a QFI, I would model my instructional technique on the excellent ex-Shackleton guy's. A good decision, as six years later - he awarded me my A2!

The problems I encountered had largely disappeared when I became a QFI - there had been a wind change and the training environment had improved massively. We got far more from the students by being more sympathetic, but without lowering standards. In fact, the general consensus was that standards had improved. It's a similar situation to that at a public school. I got bullied because my seniors were bullied when they were juniors. This situation persisted until one day, someone decided that things had to change.

One interesting aspect of my career is that I'm still in touch with lots of my ex-students, whereas I'm only in contact with one of my ex-instructors.
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Old 26th Oct 2015, 08:00
  #150 (permalink)  
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Hi Dan, all well in HK?

I refused to do my A2 while there was no laid down syllabus of theoretical knowledge - tales of the "I'll always know more than you do" style of BSS (that's Bulldog Standards Sqn - or should it be 'BS' Sqn?) and one miserable so-and-so's obsession with weird and wonderful aspects of world climatology were enough to put me off.

But then it changed - a syllabus appeared, so I studied for it (having just worked for my civil Air Law 1 & 2 had put me back into a learning frame of mind). They hadn't made it clear that part of the syllabus was for the JP only, so the theory behind a machmeter, while not of direct relevance to the Bulldog, was included.... A line had been missed from the CFS book, so one poor old BSS QFI, studying for his A1, had been thoroughly perplexed. I explained that this was the relation between density and static pressure, hence substituting for ρ in the equation would lead to the next line of theory. He was so thankful that the rest of my A2 groundschool check was a breeze - but the flying wasn't a lot of fun with some of the grumpier QFIs. Whereas in contrast, the actual A2 check at Scampton with Exam Wing was actually quite fun and I was lucky to get a first time pass.

The CFS techniques stood me in good stead for later ground and part-task trainer instruction for AAR conversion of crews from a couple of air forces onto their new aircraft - so no matter what people might think (as I used to before I did CFS), that 4-colour pen lobotomy is an extremely valuable asset!

And remember, LOOkout, Attitude, Instruments!
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Old 26th Oct 2015, 08:43
  #151 (permalink)  
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Yes, I was one of those!

I'm pleased to say we got on a lot better in real life than on here!
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Old 26th Oct 2015, 11:44
  #152 (permalink)  
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Bullying instructors...
...early in my flying training (sortie2) I had a MAeOP (probably the one that Adam Nams mentioned) as my man. He sat down beside me, took the fire axe off the wall and plonked it on the desk between us.

Me Brand new P/O stripe barely visible"What's that for?" I had the sense to say it on i/c.

Him "When you fook oop I clatter you on the bonedome wi' the flat bit"
Ah yes, Finningley early 80's.... On reflection it was clearly 'misfit central' for a few of the AEOp staff. Later on, the Neanderthal instructor on 236 OCU was a case study in how not to instruct....
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Old 26th Oct 2015, 16:06
  #153 (permalink)  
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Note to Beagle "Must try harder"...............................Should have chopped him when you had the chance lol!
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Old 26th Oct 2015, 16:41
  #154 (permalink)  
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Should have chopped him when you had the chance lol!
And that from one of the few people who actually tried to help me when I was struggling through 237 OCU...

They did chop me in the end. When I subsequently went to be a 'VFW' at Scampton, I wondered whether they had a 'soft man / hard man' type of instruction - student life was so much easier than it had been a Honington and I kept waiting for the 'hard man' to appear.
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Old 26th Oct 2015, 23:16
  #155 (permalink)  
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I hadn't realised how humourless and ill-informed so many pontificating pc contributors are.
Violence to students. A tap on the bone dome to get him to look at the aircraft he is formating on, is not violence. Ever tried to do more than that when shoulder to shoulder in a JP? Sometimes tempted to try when the post lunch diced carrot was rattling onto your left sleeve.
It is easy to forget there were probably more students in one small FTS in the early 60s than there are now total pilots in the whole RAF. It was a sausage machine but we tried to produce gourmet sausages.
Though the CFS system was intensely boring to learn, it worked.
The vast majority of QFIs were doing the job from choice and CFS could be quite picky as to who went there. Even the creamies, whom one might have expected to be a bit disappointed, were keen on the job. Don't know if that changed later.
Can't remember a student asking for an instructor change but if we were having trouble getting the message across the first resort was to let someone else have a go.
The selection system was by no means perfect. Remember sitting at the back of the student crew room as a new course marched in and hoping the one swinging left arm and left leg together was not going to be one of mine. Some courses lost quite a few, others no chops at all. Most went in the early general handling or IF stage thus saving large amounts of money. In my student days we started with 17 and finished with 11.
The object was to produce as good a pilot as possible from a course that became increasingly difficult with ever higher standards required. There was very little slack in the hours permitted to achieve those standards. If you couldn't cope in a JP, such an easy, forgiving aircraft, you were not going to cope at the next stage.
Think all my students survived and a couple of years ago at a 70th birthday I was thanked by a student from 50 years earlier. Surprised and gratified. We were not intolerant monsters nor were we fluffy cuddly mollycoddlers.
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Old 27th Oct 2015, 07:49
  #156 (permalink)  
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Quietplease wrote:
A tap on the bone dome to get him to look at the aircraft he is formating on, is not violence.
Why on earth would you ever need to do that? Distracting your student during close formation and taking your own hand away from the controls seems bŁoody stupid to me.
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Old 27th Oct 2015, 08:18
  #157 (permalink)  
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Think all my students survived
Not so my nav course. Asymetrics killed many.
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Old 27th Oct 2015, 09:34
  #158 (permalink)  
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BEagle wrote:

Why on earth would you ever need to do that? Distracting your student during close formation and taking your own hand away from the controls seems bŁoody stupid to me.
Agreed. I once had a creamie instructor hold an aircrew knife to my throat whilst in close formation on the JP. He thought it was hilarious, I thought he was a [email protected] Not that the knife posed any threat of actually cutting me of course!
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Old 27th Oct 2015, 09:44
  #159 (permalink)  
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taking your own hand away from the controls seems bŁoody stupid to me.
Can't you fly formation hands off? Standard photoshoot on Vamps.
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Old 27th Oct 2015, 12:16
  #160 (permalink)  
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Agreed. I once had a creamie instructor hold an aircrew knife to my throat whilst in close formation on the JP. He thought it was hilarious, I thought he was a [email protected] Not that the knife posed any threat of actually cutting me of course!
Break off, eject, and watch him watch his career go down the pan.

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