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UK MFTS Fixed Wing Flying Training : The Future

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UK MFTS Fixed Wing Flying Training : The Future

Old 28th Nov 2019, 12:17
  #281 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Bob Viking View Post
Do you really mean to tell me that the much maligned training system is actually up and running
Up and running is not necessarily the same thing as running well...

​​​​
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Old 28th Nov 2019, 13:23
  #282 (permalink)  
 
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Just heard a low whistling sound over my house in Cumbria, like a couple of Henry vacuum cleaners (other vacuum cleaners are available), imagine my surprise to see one of the aforementioned Phenoms come over at low level. Itís been quite quiet since the Tucanos were withdrawn, although with only a few unpranged ac I canít imagine it will be a frequent visitor!
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Old 29th Nov 2019, 11:50
  #283 (permalink)  
 
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As I understand it, the Royal Air Force has a fast-jet hold of 7+ years currently, which is likely to increase given there are ~400 student pilots in various stages of holding, across all three Services. I have been informed they have recently cut back their Direct Entry Pilot intake because they have so many students already in the system.

By contrast, and again as I understand, the Royal Navy has a fast-jet hold of approximately 4-5 years and the pilot training within the Royal Navy is prioritised. I am also aware that there is an agreement between the USN and RN for some RN student pilots to be selected for F/A-18E/F post-BFJT, which gets RN students to the frontline faster and gives them valuable experience to bring back to the RN. I also know that a select few experienced RN Hornet exchange pilots are selected for TOPGUN.

Could somebody with first hand knowledge please confirm the above that relates to UKMFTS to be true, please?
If it's true, how/why are RN Pilots prioritised?
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Old 29th Nov 2019, 18:25
  #284 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by BVRAAM View Post
As I understand it, the Royal Air Force has a fast-jet hold of 7+ years currently, which is likely to increase given there are ~400 student pilots in various stages of holding, across all three Services. I have been informed they have recently cut back their Direct Entry Pilot intake because they have so many students already in the system.

By contrast, and again as I understand, the Royal Navy has a fast-jet hold of approximately 4-5 years and the pilot training within the Royal Navy is prioritised. I am also aware that there is an agreement between the USN and RN for some RN student pilots to be selected for F/A-18E/F post-BFJT, which gets RN students to the frontline faster and gives them valuable experience to bring back to the RN. I also know that a select few experienced RN Hornet exchange pilots are selected for TOPGUN.

Could somebody with first hand knowledge please confirm the above that relates to UKMFTS to be true, please?
If it's true, how/why are RN Pilots prioritised?
7 year hold - utter nonsense! Are you a wannabe RAF Pilot who posts on FaceBook with the initials of JM? You seem to have the same amount of barking ideas, fake news and an opinion on everything (that is invariably wrong).
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Old 29th Nov 2019, 23:16
  #285 (permalink)  
 
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Not a 7 year hold but itís taking 7 years to complete training & reach the front line, including holds, I am led to believe. Which would be more time holding than training.
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Old 30th Nov 2019, 04:20
  #286 (permalink)  
 
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Chaps,

A wording mistake and one I fully accept - apologies. That'll teach me to proof read.

Last edited by BVRAAM; 30th Nov 2019 at 04:52.
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Old 30th Nov 2019, 08:39
  #287 (permalink)  
 
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7 years to complete training; what a tragic waste of aircrew students and a bar to recruitment......
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Old 30th Nov 2019, 10:25
  #288 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by 57mm View Post
7 years to complete training; what a tragic waste of aircrew students and a bar to recruitment......
Yep. From the memoirs I've read, the previous generation(s) would be starting their second tour after 7 years. A tragic waste of tax payer's money.
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Old 30th Nov 2019, 10:55
  #289 (permalink)  
 
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Some have taken 7 years and there are onesie/twosie outliers that have taken longer. But you need to take that into perspective. Those that have taken 7 years to get to the Front Line in recent times are the ones that escaped the redundancies in 2011 from SDSR10. Many of whom went into 2-3 year holds whilst the flying training system went onto trickle feed (go figure, we had just made a load redundant and so those that remained weren’t needed all at once!). The time taken from end of IOT to end of OCU, without any holds whatsoever is just shy of 4 years, even in my days of flying training some 30 odd years ago it was around 3-4 years from IOT, through JEFTS, to BFT, to AFT, to TWU and thence through an OCU. Some of us were Fg Offs on the FL, but that was because in those days it took direct entrants without degrees 5.5 years to get to Flt Lt - these days it is 2.5 years for everyone.

The system is still going through the throws of UKMFTS transition, but there is an ambition to get FJ training to end of OCU inside 3 years. However, with the last of the Tucano studes still sitting in a holding pool until mid/late next year there will still be some that have had a sluggish progress through the training pipeline. However, for those joining now and about to start IOT, I would expect to see them on the Front Line in Typhoon or Lightning inside 2025 (ie. around 4 years time).

It was ever thus, and as a second tourist on a FJ squadron I can recall pilots/WSOs that had held for 2 years in the mid/late nineties and taking nearly 6 years to get there. There were also 40-50 somethings on the Sqn at the time that said they could remember times like that in the 70s and 80s. With a 3-4 years training pipeline from walking in the door at Cranwell/Henlow then it doesn’t take much to turn that to 6-7 years post OCU.

But don’t get me wrong, UKMFTS was a bad idea and we should have dug deeper and come up with a better solution than we have...
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Old 30th Nov 2019, 11:07
  #290 (permalink)  
 
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And the lessons weren't learned before the helicopter training system was changed.

Somewhat fortunately for Ascent, the front-line Sqns don't have the capacity to absorb the numbers of pilots they should have been producing so the fact that they got off to such a poor start hasn't had an operational impact.
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Old 30th Nov 2019, 11:29
  #291 (permalink)  
 
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Crab

Again, it was ever thus, because the pipeline is owned by various Groups (or the disaster called JHC) then all blame each other!
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Old 30th Nov 2019, 12:09
  #292 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Lima Juliet View Post
Some have taken 7 years and there are onesie/twosie outliers that have taken longer. But you need to take that into perspective. Those that have taken 7 years to get to the Front Line in recent times are the ones that escaped the redundancies in 2011 from SDSR10. Many of whom went into 2-3 year holds whilst the flying training system went onto trickle feed (go figure, we had just made a load redundant and so those that remained werenít needed all at once!). The time taken from end of IOT to end of OCU, without any holds whatsoever is just shy of 4 years, even in my days of flying training some 30 odd years ago it was around 3-4 years from IOT, through JEFTS, to BFT, to AFT, to TWU and thence through an OCU. Some of us were Fg Offs on the FL, but that was because in those days it took direct entrants without degrees 5.5 years to get to Flt Lt - these days it is 2.5 years for everyone.

The system is still going through the throws of UKMFTS transition, but there is an ambition to get FJ training to end of OCU inside 3 years. However, with the last of the Tucano studes still sitting in a holding pool until mid/late next year there will still be some that have had a sluggish progress through the training pipeline. However, for those joining now and about to start IOT, I would expect to see them on the Front Line in Typhoon or Lightning inside 2025 (ie. around 4 years time).

It was ever thus, and as a second tourist on a FJ squadron I can recall pilots/WSOs that had held for 2 years in the mid/late nineties and taking nearly 6 years to get there. There were also 40-50 somethings on the Sqn at the time that said they could remember times like that in the 70s and 80s. With a 3-4 years training pipeline from walking in the door at Cranwell/Henlow then it doesnít take much to turn that to 6-7 years post OCU.

But donít get me wrong, UKMFTS was a bad idea and we should have dug deeper and come up with a better solution than we have...
Well said Sir!
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Old 30th Nov 2019, 20:19
  #293 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
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Originally Posted by Lima Juliet View Post
Some have taken 7 years and there are onesie/twosie outliers that have taken longer. But you need to take that into perspective. Those that have taken 7 years to get to the Front Line in recent times are the ones that escaped the redundancies in 2011 from SDSR10. Many of whom went into 2-3 year holds whilst the flying training system went onto trickle feed (go figure, we had just made a load redundant and so those that remained werenít needed all at once!). The time taken from end of IOT to end of OCU, without any holds whatsoever is just shy of 4 years, even in my days of flying training some 30 odd years ago it was around 3-4 years from IOT, through JEFTS, to BFT, to AFT, to TWU and thence through an OCU. Some of us were Fg Offs on the FL, but that was because in those days it took direct entrants without degrees 5.5 years to get to Flt Lt - these days it is 2.5 years for everyone.

The system is still going through the throws of UKMFTS transition, but there is an ambition to get FJ training to end of OCU inside 3 years. However, with the last of the Tucano studes still sitting in a holding pool until mid/late next year there will still be some that have had a sluggish progress through the training pipeline. However, for those joining now and about to start IOT, I would expect to see them on the Front Line in Typhoon or Lightning inside 2025 (ie. around 4 years time).

It was ever thus, and as a second tourist on a FJ squadron I can recall pilots/WSOs that had held for 2 years in the mid/late nineties and taking nearly 6 years to get there. There were also 40-50 somethings on the Sqn at the time that said they could remember times like that in the 70s and 80s. With a 3-4 years training pipeline from walking in the door at Cranwell/Henlow then it doesnít take much to turn that to 6-7 years post OCU.

But donít get me wrong, UKMFTS was a bad idea and we should have dug deeper and come up with a better solution than we have...

LJ, thank you for clearing that up.

A few guys who have left the service, including one well known blogger/podcaster who were involved have said this will get worse before it gets better - what do they mean by that?
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Old 30th Nov 2019, 21:22
  #294 (permalink)  
 
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I well recall attending a briefing in 2000 when the MFTS dates for fixed wing were declared as 2005 for Valley, 2007 for Linton. It's just happened 12 years late. The Air Commodore was quite open that the system would save money in the first years but be more expensive in the long run.

Linton v Valley. Linton has instant access to free middle airspace, instant access to low flying in any direction, no probs with overwater/goon suits. Valley?

How can just 10 T6s feed 20plus Hawks, isn't that akin to the inverted promotion triangle of the engineer officers branch many years ago? If there is a course in the formation phase needing 3 ships, taking into account servicing and u/s aircraft, that's the whole fleet in use.

Just a thought. With the much reduced BFTS task, coupled with the Reds needing rehousing, put the lot into Linton. The BFTS flying could easily fit round the Reds practice slots, particularly with use of the RLGs. Rumours have it that the army transport unit slated to move into Linton has said no, road/bridge facilities around the base not good enough. Makes sense to me.
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Old 30th Nov 2019, 22:03
  #295 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by BVRAAM View Post
A few guys who have left the service, including one well known blogger/podcaster who were involved have said this will get worse before it gets better - what do they mean by that?
Donít know who you mean, but if they are recent leavers as you say then I can have a guess at what they might be on about: retention. I will offer my own theory.

The training system itself is finally on the up, but the effects of the period just ending will be felt for some time. The problem with reaching the front line in your late twenties is that you donít have time to establish your career before the life choices associated with your thirties start raising their heads.

In my own case, I was mid-way through my second tour, above average in the air, Q-qualíed and had started getting promotion recommendations when I turned 30. In other words I was confident that I had a decent career ahead of me if I chose to stay in the RAF. Some contemporaries who had struggled in their first two tours and were not obviously heading for either promotion or professional aircrew status did leave in their early thirties. All are now far wealthier than me having succeeded in civvy street. What they understood was that if they deferred career decisions any longer, theyíd soon become burdened with those boring financial commitments which arrive with age. Leaving would then be unaffordable until the cushion of the pension became available at 38. A long way off when youíre uncertain of your standing (and 2 years further nowadays). But enough of us had given ourselves confidence to stay and keep the show on the road.

Those age-related expectations are societal and donít change just because of MFTS. And the nature of squadron life now is very different from the late 1990s when we were last recovering from a holding crisis. So when you reach your early thirties, and youíre mid-way through your first tour with no real idea of where you stand in the grand scheme of things, and youíre unable to do the secondary duties that might start to build a promotion profile because the squadrons are undermanned and stretched, then do you start building financial commitments that will tie you into that treadmill until age 40, or do you jump early to the City or the airlines before making those commitments? You donít have to agree with their logic, but many are taking their futures in their hands and doing exactly that.

Thatís the true time-bomb which MFTS has set for us, IMHO. I have some compassion for those affected, but given we donít typically struggle to recruit pilots I have to admit feeling that a strategic error was made in hanging onto the recent holding generation. Redundancy payments would have paled into insignificance next to the cost of training replacements for early leavers and it might well have been better for the long-term interest of the RAF if weíd started again with a fresh young intake when the system was finally ready. Time will tell: I give it 5 years or so until we see the effects.

Last edited by Easy Street; 1st Dec 2019 at 07:50.
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Old 30th Nov 2019, 23:35
  #296 (permalink)  
 
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Easy Street , sadly I agree with much of what you say. I also think raising the recruitment age for Pilots to 26 and WSO/WSOp to 33 was a bad idea as that exacerbates the issues to which you refer. Even joining at 22 I was behind the drag curve when I joined up way back. Also, the shifting of the 16/38 pension to 18/40 and then 20/40 has also shifted the goal posts somewhat (although the Baldricks came forward from 22 to 20, which was a good thing). So minor dabbling here and there, with pay, pension, entry age, training system, redundancies and terms of service changes, without understand the collective 2nd and 3rd order effects, has left things in a bit of tangle (understatement!).
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Old 1st Dec 2019, 06:21
  #297 (permalink)  
 
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And I thought I'd taken an age....

Went to RAFC as a Flt Cdt at 17, did a year then off to University as an APO / Plt Off (and much Chipmunkery) until I went back to RAFC at 22. Finished JP training and 'Wings' at 23, finally to my first squadron at 26 after Valley, TWU, part of the Bucc OCU, reselection, SORF course and finally the Vulcan OCU. Flying tours various for the next 25 years, with just one 5-week ground tour detachment. Airlines? No thanks!!

I admire the commitment of anyone wanting to become an RAF FJ pilot these days - it seems to be a very long and winding road.
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Old 1st Dec 2019, 07:01
  #298 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
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Airlines? No thanks!!
Absolutely - I went to Cranditz 3 days after my 21st birthday in 82, followed by Swinderby FSS, Linton BFTS, Shawbury FTS and was operational on my first tour, on 72 Sqn in NI, in May 84 as a Plt Off.

32 years of flying tours with no ground dets - such a shame such careers don't seem available for the modern yoof.
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Old 1st Dec 2019, 08:15
  #299 (permalink)  
 
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Just For Comparison:

OASC Hornchurch (Nov 56); Bridgenorth (Squarebashing - Feb-Apr 57); Topcliffe ( Nav school Apr-Oct 57); North Luffenham/Leeming (Nov57-Jun58) Javelin OCU; 89/85 Sqn (Jul 58) Age 19 years 2 months. Front Line Tour .

Dec 61 - Jun 64 Pilot Training; Jul 64 Syerston as first tour QFI Age 25 (NCO until Jan 64).
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Old 1st Dec 2019, 08:27
  #300 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
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Originally Posted by Easy Street View Post


Don’t know who you mean, but if they are recent leavers as you say then I can have a guess at what they might be on about: retention. I will offer my own theory.

The training system itself is finally on the up, but the effects of the period just ending will be felt for some time. The problem with reaching the front line in your late twenties is that you don’t have time to establish your career before the life choices associated with your thirties start raising their heads.

In my own case, I was mid-way through my second tour, above average in the air, Q-qual’ed and had started getting promotion recommendations when I turned 30. In other words I was confident that I had a decent career ahead of me if I chose to stay in the RAF. Some contemporaries who had struggled in their first two tours and were not obviously heading for either promotion or professional aircrew status did leave in their early thirties. All are now far wealthier than me having succeeded in civvy street. What they understood was that if they deferred career decisions any longer, they’d soon become burdened with those boring financial commitments which arrive with age. Leaving would then be unaffordable until the cushion of the pension became available at 38. A long way off when you’re uncertain of your standing (and 2 years further nowadays). But enough of us had given ourselves confidence to stay and keep the show on the road.

Those age-related expectations are societal and don’t change just because of MFTS. And the nature of squadron life now is very different from the late 1990s when we were last recovering from a holding crisis. So when you reach your early thirties, and you’re mid-way through your first tour with no real idea of where you stand in the grand scheme of things, and you’re unable to do the secondary duties that might start to build a promotion profile because the squadrons are undermanned and stretched, then do you start building financial commitments that will tie you into that treadmill until age 40, or do you jump early to the City or the airlines before making those commitments? You don’t have to agree with their logic, but many are taking their futures in their hands and doing exactly that.

That’s the true time-bomb which MFTS has set for us, IMHO. I have some compassion for those affected, but given we don’t typically struggle to recruit pilots I have to admit feeling that a strategic error was made in hanging onto the recent holding generation. Redundancy payments would have paled into insignificance next to the cost of training replacements for early leavers and it might well have been better for the long-term interest of the RAF if we’d started again with a fresh young intake when the system was finally ready. Time will tell: I give it 5 years or so until we see the effects.
I can see how that would be a problem.

Me personally, all I want to do is fly. Command would be nice but, from the research I have done, command is a pipe-dream for any aircrew joining the RAF/RN in their mid-20's. So it's fair to say command would never happen for me.
The guys and girls getting command tours seem to have made Squadron Leader/Lieutenant Commander by age 30, and gone through Staff College and made Wing Commander/Commander before 40. Those joining at 25 (or older, up to 34 for the RN) will be lucky if they're on their first front line Squadron before 30. Maybe the system of promotion will change slightly to compensate for the considerably older aircrew completing flying training these days?

The pension for professional aviators looks incredible - OF-3's can earn the pension of an OF-5 with a fraction of the responsibility. That's better than a desk job in London...
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