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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 1st Dec 2019, 08:52
  #301 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by BVRAAM View Post
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...
But you don’t (or at least, shouldn’t) get professional aviator status unless you are genuinely worth retaining as an aviator, and that won’t be evident until at least three or four tours. Not everyone makes the grade; as I indicated it can be obvious from an early stage. If the RAF ends up offering it to everyone simply to make up the numbers then we really will have stuffed ourselves.

Very few have ever joined with command in mind. I suspect most of us just wanted to fly. But things change, as I tried to get across in my post. Some do indeed set their sights on command and beyond (thankfully: the RAF needs the good ones). Some continue just wanting to fly (we need the good ones of them too). Some pass training but find that the ups and downs of military service aren’t for them. Some find that they’ve enjoyed it but have ‘scratched the itch’ and look for new experiences, or prioritise newly-acquired families. Such changes in perspective with age can and have happened to many who were once as single-minded as you. That is why a strict age limit and relatively swift progress were a good thing when investing millions of pounds in individuals’ training: the RAF stood more chance of getting a decent return before they left.

Last edited by Easy Street; 1st Dec 2019 at 09:23.
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Old 1st Dec 2019, 11:33
  #302 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Easy Street View Post


But you don’t (or at least, shouldn’t) get professional aviator status unless you are genuinely worth retaining as an aviator, and that won’t be evident until at least three or four tours. Not everyone makes the grade; as I indicated it can be obvious from an early stage. If the RAF ends up offering it to everyone simply to make up the numbers then we really will have stuffed ourselves.

Very few have ever joined with command in mind. I suspect most of us just wanted to fly. But things change, as I tried to get across in my post. Some do indeed set their sights on command and beyond (thankfully: the RAF needs the good ones). Some continue just wanting to fly (we need the good ones of them too). Some pass training but find that the ups and downs of military service aren’t for them. Some find that they’ve enjoyed it but have ‘scratched the itch’ and look for new experiences, or prioritise newly-acquired families. Such changes in perspective with age can and have happened to many who were once as single-minded as you. That is why a strict age limit and relatively swift progress were a good thing when investing millions of pounds in individuals’ training: the RAF stood more chance of getting a decent return before they left.
Do you think 6 years return of service for a fast jet pilot reflects the considerable cost (approximately £4.5m) to train them?
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Old 1st Dec 2019, 11:58
  #303 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by BVRAAM View Post
Do you think 6 years return of service for a fast jet pilot reflects the considerable cost (approximately £4.5m) to train them?
I’m no expert on this but I suspect the RoS period is probably based on a fairly narrow financial analysis in order to head off any legal challenges. So it probably does reflect the cost. But the reality is that a new front-line pilot is a burden on the system as a whole for at least 2 or 3 years: a net ‘consumer’ of supervision rather than a ‘producer’ of it. If you have a high turnover of junior pilots then the supervisors do lots of supervising (which has some benefit, but only in narrow areas of expertise) instead of developing or maintaining the more advanced skills which a capable force requires. So financial cost of keeping the RAF manned with pilots, probably yes. Capability cost of high turnover, I’m not so sure...

The system can cope with some people leaving after 6 years’ RoS. As I suggested in my first post that sometimes made sense for both the RAF and the individual. But it couldn’t cope at the expected level of capability if everyone left at their RoS. The crossover point between coping and not coping is somewhere in between. The difference now is that a much higher proportion of pilots will find themselves at that RoS point as life choices need to be made. The proportion leaving is creeping up and the stresses are showing; the question is whether it continues to creep up as the holding generation takes stock.
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Old 1st Dec 2019, 12:11
  #304 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Easy Street View Post


I’m no expert on this but I suspect the RoS period is probably based on a fairly narrow financial analysis in order to head off any legal challenges. So it probably does reflect the cost. But the reality is that a new front-line pilot is a burden on the system as a whole for at least 2 or 3 years: a net ‘consumer’ of supervision rather than a ‘producer’ of it. If you have a high turnover of junior pilots then the supervisors do lots of supervising (which has some benefit, but only in narrow areas of expertise) instead of developing or maintaining the more advanced skills which a capable force requires. So financial cost of keeping the RAF manned with pilots, probably yes. Capability cost of high turnover, I’m not so sure...

The system can cope with some people leaving after 6 years’ RoS. As I suggested in my first post that sometimes made sense for both the RAF and the individual. But it couldn’t cope at the expected level of capability if everyone left at their RoS. The crossover point between coping and not coping is somewhere in between. The difference now is that a much higher proportion of pilots will find themselves at that RoS point as life choices need to be made. The proportion leaving is creeping up and the stresses are showing; the question is whether it continues to creep up as the holding generation takes stock.
Thanks for that.

I gather, then, that it's reasonable to conclude that the RAF/RN therefore directly benefits from the professional aviator spine, because it retains experienced aircrew to maintain the cadre and keep experienced people on the frontline to supervise the new aircrew, who would otherwise leave or be posted elsewhere for their career development, presumably on staff tours or operational ground roles.
Do you think the retention issue can be partly solved by more PAS slots?
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Old 1st Dec 2019, 12:53
  #305 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by BVRAAM View Post
Do you think the retention issue can be partly solved by more PAS slots?
That only works if you lower the entry bar to PAS to encourage waverers to stay. That could be done, perhaps, but it might not be in the RAF’s best interests. The supervisors need to be suitably capable as well as experienced.

For someone who apparently ‘just wants to fly’ you seem to be very interested in the long-term financial considerations associated with it, and the management problems facing future commanders too! Certainly to a depth beyond anything OASC will question you on. I knew nothing of the finer points of PAS (etc) when I went, and have never seen such topics mentioned in the interviews I’ve been fortunate enough to observe as a guest in the course of my duties. Time for action rather than more research?
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Old 1st Dec 2019, 14:24
  #306 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Easy Street View Post
Time for action rather than more research?
I take great interest in the RAF and the aerial warfighting elements of the other services!
Action's already being taken - 2020 will be the year of results.
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Old 1st Dec 2019, 19:28
  #307 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Easy Street View Post


That only works if you lower the entry bar to PAS to encourage waverers to stay. That could be done, perhaps, but it might not be in the RAF’s best interests. The supervisors need to be suitably capable as well as experienced.

For someone who apparently ‘just wants to fly’ you seem to be very interested in the long-term financial considerations associated with it, and the management problems facing future commanders too! Certainly to a depth beyond anything OASC will question you on. I knew nothing of the finer points of PAS (etc) when I went, and have never seen such topics mentioned in the interviews I’ve been fortunate enough to observe as a guest in the course of my duties. Time for action rather than more research?
Easy Street - if BVRAAM is who I think he is, then he has befriended many FJ pilots (current and ex) on Facebook, many who have since unfriended him (me included). I tried calling him out earlier in this discussion. He has spent about the last 5 years coming up with bogus opinions on just about everything! The most recent is today:

Do you think 6 years return of service for a fast jet pilot reflects the considerable cost (approximately £4.5m) to train them?
That is so far wide of the mark with respect to trg costs. Then there was the “7 year holds” mentioned this week - also nonsense.

BVRAAM - do us all a favour matey. Go get yourself tested at OASC and put us out of our misery! Please stop quoting stuff as if you know what your talking about; it doesn’t work here and it certainly won’t work at OASC. If you persist at that I suspect they will show you the door before the afternoon is out!
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Old 2nd Dec 2019, 08:01
  #308 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by BEagle;10630069.
Airlines? No thanks!!

.
You dont know what you missed !!
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Old 2nd Dec 2019, 09:15
  #309 (permalink)  
 
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RetiredBA/BY, probably just the salary and pension deals!

Meeting up with ex-sqn chums now flying for the airlines, I don't think that I would have enjoyed the Groundhog Day style. I guess longhaul might have been tolerable though. I had an ATPL, but never bothered to apply to the airlines. ba was off my list (and still is, even as a passenger) after the 'Dirty Tricks' era, reinforced when Skippy killed Concorde.

As for EU shorthaul... Arrive with minimal time to plan and brief, get to aeroplane and wait for paperwork, e-flight plans etc to arrive. Wait until ATCC has managed to find a departure time, then pushback, taxy, wait, take-off, reach TOC and more paperwork... If there's time then it's "Mumble, mumble, "Brussels"", then arrival paperwork, brief... "STAR to published ILS" isn't enough these days ever since the airlines thought that they'd invented CRM...land, taxy, wait, park - rinse and repeat a further 3 times at least, before getting home knackered knowing that it'd probably be the same for the next couple of days at least. OK, I'm exaggerating, I guess.

Turn the clock back to the '70s and early '80s and I might agree with you though!
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Old 2nd Dec 2019, 17:05
  #310 (permalink)  
 
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No. You are not exaggerating, for some. But It was never like that for me and my s i law, a TC on 787 for BA, has an excellent life style which provides him with a much better salary than the CAS.

Depends on the standard of living, combined with job satisfaction one aspires to !

An airline life, flying a nice big jet around the world. combined with the opportunity and time to run one’s own business is something I can heartily recommend !!
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Old 2nd Dec 2019, 17:13
  #311 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by RetiredBA/BY View Post
No. You are not exaggerating, for some. But It was never like that for me and my s i law, a TC on 787 for BA, has an excellent life style which provides him with a much better salary than the CAS.

Depends on the standard of living, combined with job satisfaction one aspires to !

An airline life, flying a nice big jet around the world. combined with the opportunity and time to run one’s own business is something I can heartily recommend !!
But will he retire with a pension paying just under £100K a year and a lump sum of 3x that?
The CAS will.
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Old 2nd Dec 2019, 17:26
  #312 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by BVRAAM View Post
But will he retire with a pension paying just under £100K a year and a lump sum of 3x that?
The CAS will.
There's only one CAS at a time. There are a lot of senior Captains.
I would never have been CAS, but I made senior Captain.
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Old 2nd Dec 2019, 18:21
  #313 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by BVRAAM View Post
But will he retire with a pension paying just under £100K a year and a lump sum of 3x that?
The CAS will.
Dont know, but I did !! ( actually a lot more as a senior captain and CEO of my own business );

Last edited by RetiredBA/BY; 3rd Dec 2019 at 11:28.
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Old 3rd Dec 2019, 01:25
  #314 (permalink)  
 
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This conversation is an illustration of a basic axiom...’horses for courses’. There are some such as Beagle who relished the military flying, and others for whom the allure of the airlines was too great, and they will have their own reasons for this point of view. For some it will be money, for others it will be lifestyle. Neither are wrong in their choices.
I have noticed, in this current thread drift on retention, that it concentrates on flying posts. I just want to highlight the fact there are a lot of positions in civvy street, particularly outside the UK, which are based outside the cockpit, and which pay huge rewards.
I was PA, Senior Instructor, CFS staff etc. (I was a Rotary guy) I left after 22 great years. I loved it all. I never had a ground tour, saw the world, and made friends for life. It was brilliant.

Joining the RAF was the best thing I ever did. The 2nd best thing I ever did was leaving.

I now work for an international defence contractor. I work daily with military customers from around the world. I am regularly in a cockpit but my role is not flying. I do not have a licence. My salary is significantly more than double that of the highest paid pilot at BA, and I have hired 2 ex RAF Rotary guys and 1 ex RN into similar roles. We are based in North America and life is just awesome.

My point is simple - when people talk about retention and why people leave, they need to stop focusing on airlines as there are far better jobs, with much higher pay, out there. Senior military pilots have an extremely valuable skill set, and in an airline this means nothing - the self improver (no criticism!) who joined the day before you will always be senior to you. However, there are defence contractors willing to pay for your knowledge and skills in another level entirely.

The airline factor will always be an issue for military retention I agree, but there is a far bigger and more lucrative world out there. People should remember that.

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Old 3rd Dec 2019, 06:12
  #315 (permalink)  
 
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Well said Baldeep. Also, there are other Branches that go outside and earn big sums of cash - even scribblies in the corporate and finance world. So the age old debate of why do I get paid the same basic salary and pension as a scribbly (Pers or TG17) needs to dry up too. The ‘flying pay’ (now RRP(F)) is never supposed to compete with these commercial market amounts but is to try and make life financially better enough to be suitably comfortable. It is a ‘hearts and minds’ measure and always has been (never danger money as that is wrapped up in X-Factor).

One thing I would say, is if you do leave for £100k, £150k, £200k or more per year - the more you earn, the more the company will want from you, that’s the basics of business. When you aren’t worth it, they can and will let you go, or will make you work so you are worth that amount. Also, most companies will contribute something to your pension, but not all. So you will need to find at least £2k to £3k per month to invest from your £100k, £150k, £200k or more per year, to get a similar amount to your AFPS pension. So make sure you weigh it all up - fun factor (there is still some to be had in Service life), salary, pension, seniority in the organisation, lifestyle, etc... When it doesn’t work for the individual then look to change that - either inside or outside your current employer. We have quite a few re-joiner applications so the Services must be doing something right!
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Old 21st Jan 2020, 13:45
  #316 (permalink)  
 
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How is MFTS doing? Are the holds coming down?
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Old 21st Jan 2020, 14:13
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By all accounts, that side of MFTS is the golden child. Valley is very much a WIP project, but from the chaps at Cranwell the rear crew are pretty much sorted, in fact ISTAR may deliver early.
WSO training is getting there, just a few teething issues on a recent abo course to correct.
So whilst we all want to moan about the white elephant, it is actually delivering now.
Multies are fine, a steady enough through flow at present, but watch this space.
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Old 21st Jan 2020, 14:39
  #318 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Countdown begins View Post
By all accounts, that side of MFTS is the golden child. Valley is very much a WIP project, but from the chaps at Cranwell the rear crew are pretty much sorted, in fact ISTAR may deliver early.
WSO training is getting there, just a few teething issues on a recent abo course to correct.
So whilst we all want to moan about the white elephant, it is actually delivering now.
Multies are fine, a steady enough through flow at present, but watch this space.
I've heard regarding FJ route they're sending guys to ENJJPT, RAAF, and Germany?

So has the multi fiasco with sending guys to to Bournemouth and doing their training with civilian companies has stopped?

Shouldn't the holds be coming down as they've cut pilot recruitment numbers back?

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Old 21st Jan 2020, 14:52
  #319 (permalink)  
 
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Four more H145s ordered

https://www.flightglobal.com/helicop...136248.article

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has ordered an additional batch of four Airbus Helicopters H145 Jupiter trainers for operation by the Ascent Flight Training joint venture.

Part of a contract amendment worth £183 million ($238 million) that also includes an additional simulator and infrastructure improvements, delivery of the new helicopters is due to begin in 2020.

Rear crew training can be performed with H145s

Ascent already operates a fleet of three Jupiter HT1 helicopters, alongside 29 of the smaller H135 Juno HT1s, at the tri-service Defence Helicopter Flying School (DHFS) at the Royal Air Force’s Shawbury base under its Military Flying Training System contract.

But Ascent needs to create additional capacity for rear crew training, which cannot be performed using the Juno fleet.

In addition, because some rear crews destined for rotary-wing service still undertake some training on fixed-wing aircraft, the move will have the additional benefit of freeing up extra capacity elsewhere in Ascent’s operation, sources indicate.

Ascent also operates smaller H135 Juno alongside Jupiter (r)

Ascent – a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Babcock – took delivery of the first helicopters from the £1.1 billion ($1.4 billion) order in 2017, with rotary-wing training using the assets starting the following year.

and this slipped in at the end

Additionally, DHFS will over the coming months be rebranded, FlightGlobal understands. However, its new identity has yet to be revealed.
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Old 21st Jan 2020, 15:03
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MOD press release:

The MOD’s UK Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) has signed a £183 million contract to boost training services for new Rotary Wing pilots.

The contract amendment includes:


- An uplift of four new Airbus H145 helicopters

- A state-of-the-art simulator and infrastructure improvements

- Support in attracting and training personnel to meet the increased helicopter demand from the frontline

The new H145 helicopters and simulator will enable students to learn how to fly a range of missions, covering expected scenarios on operational deployment. In addition, the H145s enable students to practice winching tasks and rear crew activities.

Defence Minister James Heappey said:
This £183 million boost for our helicopter training will see our student pilots benefit from an ultra-modern simulator, new infrastructure at RAF Shawbury and four brand-new Airbus H145 helicopters. These crucial upgrades will help our students become the finest helicopter pilots in the world.
The Rotary Wing contract amendment was signed by UKMFTS - part of Defence, Equipment & Support (DE&S) - and Ascent Flight Training Management Ltd, which delivers pilot training for the UKMFTS in a partnering arrangement. It is part of a wider programme to increase training capacity for UK military pilots overall, as part of the £3.2 billion UKMFTS programme and helps address the increased demand for pilot training identified in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review.


The four new H145 helicopters and simulator will be based at RAF Shawbury, Shropshire, which is where the Rotary Wing element of UKMFTS is delivered. The infrastructure improvements will cater for the increased student numbers.

Commodore Tom Manson, UKMFTS Head, Defence Equipment & Support, said:
I am delighted to uplift the capacity of our tri-service military helicopter pilot training services that we deliver in partnership with Ascent. The new twin-engine Airbus H145s will enhance the current mix of H135 and H145s that are used on UKMFTS, providing increased flexibility to deliver the range of training required for both pilots and aircrewmen in advance of flying front line helicoptersThe H145 family (BK117, EC145 and H145) is a well-proven training aircraft with more than 1,300 helicopters in service around the world and has clocked more than 5.5 million flight hours.


The UKMFTS Programme is delivering a world-class, state-of-the-art training system which is a global exemplar for training aircrew in preparation for the operational front line.
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