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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 29th Dec 2015, 17:18
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UK MFTS Fixed Wing Flying Training : The Future

Following various announcements some months back now, there seems to be a dearth of any further information on what the future UK MFTS Fixed Wing model will look like.

Ascent appointed Affinity who are seemingly to provide the Airframe Assets … But that seems to be the limit of joint MOD and Contractor comms for the moment.

So how is it all going to work ? Clearly the Aircrew Training pipeline isn’t going to be anything like the scale seen during the 60’s, 70’s or even the 80’s … but presumably it will need to be a continuous operation with some capacity to ‘flex’ when required, for example when the F-35 enters service.

By my reckoning we currently have about x100 Grob G115 Tutor T1’s, x35 Shorts Tucano T1’s and x8 Beechcraft King Air 200’s through a mix of ownership. I’m assuming the Tucano and King Air fleets will go completely … but what of the Tutor fleet ? I would have thought it unlikely that the proposed new ‘Elementary Trainer’, in the form of the Grob G120TP, would be suitable/economic for UAS and/or Air Cadet AEF use.

Looking at the new Training Assets … presumably airframe acquisition will be as near as possible to ‘off the shelf’ spec/cost (but no corporate leather trim for the Phenom 100 then ). I guess the Grob G120TP will come with the ‘optional’ LW Ejector Seat … but things have clearly moved on for an RAF Elementary Trainer to have a retractable undercarriage.





Image Credit : Grob : G120TP





Image Credit : Embraer : Phenom 100





Image Credit : Beechcraft : T-6C

So without, hopefully, getting bogged down in the merits/demerits of PFI models or venturing into the current commercial territory of the Ascent/Affinity deal … I thought it might be interesting to speculate on what we are likely to see at Barkston Heath, Cranwell and Valley when MFTS is finally up and running. I expect a few members might like to offer a few perspectives on the choice of aircraft (Cue Leon ) … the Ground School ‘systems’ element on the G120TP for Ab initio Bloggs could be a bit intense.

Best ...

Coff.

PS. Happy New Year to all
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Old 29th Dec 2015, 17:53
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On cue, Coff, all I know is that UAS/AEF and VGS is outside of scope of MFTS. I also heard a couple of rumours:

1. 22 Gp is apparently keen to expand the AEFs with some of the excess Tutor aircraft to fill the gaps in the Air Cadet gliding program. The question is, where do the pilots come from? Are they going to relax the rules so that Service EASA PPL holders can fly the EASA Introductory Flight profile? Or something similar?

2. AIr Cmd said that they are looking at having to open up another MFTS Stn due to the increased numbers of aircrew required from SDSR15 - Pilots, WSOs and WSOps are needed for the extra Typhoon Sqns, P-8 and the increased number of RPAS.

3. Whilst we're on RPAS. There is a requirement in the RPAS pliots' course to fly solo. Therefore, a few more Tutors might be needed as this is also probably outwith the original MFTS requirements.

4. Multi-engine pipeline might have to use a commercial flying school to temporarily increase ME pilot throughput in the short-term.

All rumour from the crewroom, various briefs after SDSR and scuttlebutt with mates, so nothing confirmed. I suspect we'll start hearing more in the early New Year along with the Air Cadet gliding announcement.

As for a replacement trainer. How about a Lycoming powered Chippy like the Portugese ones?



LJ
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Old 29th Dec 2015, 19:00
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Nice pictures, Coff. Good luck with not getting bogged down in PFI stuff.
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Old 29th Dec 2015, 19:57
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[QUOTE=CoffmanStarter;9223078]Following various announcements some months back now, there seems to be a dearth of any further information on what the future UK MFTS Fixed Wing model will look like.

Ascent appointed Affinity who are seemingly to provide the Airframe Assets … But that seems to be the limit of joint MOD and Contractor comms for the moment.

So how is it all going to work ? Clearly the Aircrew Training pipeline isn’t going to be anything like the scale seen during the 60’s, 70’s or even the 80’s … but presumably it will need to be a continuous operation with some capacity to ‘flex’ when required, for example when the F-35 enters service.

By my reckoning we currently have about x100 Grob G115 Tutor T1’s, x35 Shorts Tucano T1’s and x8 Beechcraft King Air 200’s through a mix of ownership. I’m assuming the Tucano and King Air fleets will go completely … but what of the Tutor fleet ? I would have thought it unlikely that the proposed new ‘Elementary Trainer’, in the form of the Grob G120TP, would be suitable/economic for UAS and/or Air Cadet AEF use.

Looking at the new Training Assets … presumably airframe acquisition will be as near as possible to ‘off the shelf’ spec/cost (but no corporate leather trim for the Phenom 100 then ). I guess the Grob G120TP will come with the ‘optional’ LW Ejector Seat … but things have clearly moved on for an RAF Elementary Trainer to have a retractable undercarriage.





Image Credit : Grob : G120TP





Image Credit : Embraer : Phenom 100





Image Credit : Beechcraft : T-6C

So without, hopefully, getting bogged down in the merits/demerits of PFI models or venturing into the current commercial territory of the Ascent/Affinity deal … I thought it might be interesting to speculate on what we are likely to see at Barkston Heath, Cranwell and Valley when MFTS is finally up and running. I expect a few members might like to offer a few perspectives on the choice of aircraft (Cue Leon ) … the Ground School ‘systems’ element on the G120TP for Ab initio Bloggs could be a bit intense.

Best ...

Coff.

PS. Happy New Year to all [/QUOTE

So sad it has come to this. Military training should remain completely within the military environment. I can't see a way back from this. My father joined the FAA in 1957 and will be turning in his grave now.
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Old 29th Dec 2015, 20:11
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Anyone know how it is going so far with MFTS?
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Old 29th Dec 2015, 20:41
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Coff,

If the rumours I have heard are anything to go by, T2s are all we will see at Valley. Maybe someone has finally seen sense and realised a (moderately) slow TP and a 'fast jet' don't mix too well in the same visual pattern. Instead, Wittering has been suggested as the T6 base. I personally would have preferred Yeovs, one of the other contenders.

As for the future look of MFTS, I like the sound of the rumour that says the RAF might be looking at buying out Ascent from MFTS. Or whatever it is that has to be done contractually for the military to reclaim control of aircrew training. My take on this is that the surge in aircrew numbers being discussed here look to be beyond Ascent. If ME aircrew need to be farmed out to civvy schools, if FJ aircrew need to be farmed out to NFTC, if separate arrangements are needed for RPAS aircrew, what's the point of MFTS?

One can but dream......
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Old 29th Dec 2015, 22:02
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Too much rumour/speculation.

Decisions have not yet been made, many things are being looked at, quite rightly and all will be revealed when decisions are made.

But by all means carry on.....
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Old 29th Dec 2015, 23:58
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With the numbers of ac that Ascent are procuring - 9 T6s, 4 Phenoms, and I think around a dozen Grobs their ability to surge to meet any additional training throughput is going to be extremely limited, even with a higher reliance on simulators.
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Old 30th Dec 2015, 13:14
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Perhaps I am missing something, but can anybody tell me how 9-10 T-6s is seen to be an adequate number to meet the basic flying training requirement?
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Old 30th Dec 2015, 13:24
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Originally Posted by Martin the Martian View Post
Perhaps I am missing something, but can anybody tell me how 9-10 T-6s is seen to be an adequate number to meet the basic flying training requirement?
They are not 'basic' trainers. If they are a direct Tucano replacement they will only be for FJ streamed students. Everyone still seems to focus on the FJ pipeline when many more pilots are required for group 2 and 3 - or whatever those streams are called now. The low number of Grobs might be more worrying.
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Old 30th Dec 2015, 13:29
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Originally Posted by CoffmanStarter View Post
… but things have clearly moved on for an RAF Elementary Trainer to have a retractable undercarriage.
All the time the JP really was the initial trainer (filling the same role as the current 'elementary' trainer) it had retractable gear.
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 09:14
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I looked at that G210TP glass cockpit and wondered just how easy it would be to have a quick squint at the instruments during a decent tail chase...

With all that gucci glass, will Bloggs be spending longer time 'head-in' than was accepted in aircraft such as the Bulldog or JP?
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 09:43
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Many thanks chaps for your contributions ... All quite interesting !

Leon ...

I guess the impact of SDSR15 is still being worked through on the MFTS proposals as I suspect the speculative airframe fleet numbers mentioned by Ken are pre the SDSR15 announcements ... even so, those numbers look incredibly thin.

Consider yourself posted to the 'Naughty Step' with respect to your Chipmunk remarks ... as a fully paid up member of the 'Vertical Pot, Cordite Sniffing Taildraggers Union' ... I view such remarks as heresy. I even had to have a lie-down in a darkened room some years ago on hearing the BBMF converted their two ladies to 'Electric Starters' ... and don't get me started on Cockpit Heaters

Courtney ...

I just thought we've bashed the 'PFI' topic enough ... and genuinely thought there is the makings of a good debate here

Taranto ...

I agree with your comments but 'we are where we are' or at least the UK Mil is.

PS. Looks like yo need to add a ] to make your quote work

Double H ...

That all sounds logical. A cynic might say that recruiting Civilian T6C QFI's to live in North Wales might have presented a challenge

More to come on the airframe types ...
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 10:27
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Oh good, I enjoy an occasional visit to the 'naughty step'...



In my opinion, the Portugese Chippes are little beauties in their own right - do you know if they aerobat them in Portugal as we can't aerobat the UK Lycoming Supermunks? The extra 35 horsepower gives the Lycoming Chippy some real extra oomph when it doesn't have a glider on the back. We operate them at ~£65/hr compared to the inverted oil set-up that is normally at least twice that. BBMF Chippies have been brought right up to date with electric starts, modern radios and a PowerFLARM. All good mods making these classic aircraft useable for the foreseeable future.

LJ
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 11:07
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2. AIr Cmd said that they are looking at having to open up another MFTS Stn due to the increased numbers of aircrew required from SDSR15 - Pilots, WSOs and WSOps are needed for the extra Typhoon Sqns, P-8 and the increased number of RPAS.
It seems nonsensical re-opening the WSO cadre just for 9 P8s. The logical step would be to give that role to RN ASW Observers who could then cross pollinate from the ASW Merlin Force.

Last edited by Bismark; 1st Jan 2016 at 13:13.
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 11:57
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Bis old chap ... I think you might be needing a [ to make your quote work
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 12:01
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Or how about in a fit of 'jointery' (not sure if that's even a word) the RN could train some RAF WSOs on its observers cse? After all we've trained their FJ pilots for years so there couldn't be any argument against, provided of course that the old Nav cadre didn't get too precious about 'their' training.
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 12:01
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Plus the WSO slots on E3, R-J, Sentinel, Reaper & Shadow….
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 13:56
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Originally Posted by BEagle View Post
I looked at that G210TP glass cockpit and wondered just how easy it would be to have a quick squint at the instruments during a decent tail chase...
I wouldn't worry, tail chasing went out of the syllabus a while ago now.

The low numbers of airframes and surge capacity is enough to be worrying about for now, especially following the SDSR announcements and the upscale in EFT numbers heading our way.
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 13:57
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G120TP

BEagle …

I think you have hit one of the nails firmly on the head with your comments about Glass/LED instrumentation and the need for Tyro Bloggs to develop from Day 1 a good lookout/instrument scan technique. To a lesser extent I recently wondered at the sensibility of some mounting Glass/LED instrumentation in something like a C172 … there seemed to be a disproportionate amount of time ‘Head In’ than ‘Head Out’. No harm moving to more sophisticated instrumentation once the basic skills are instilled.

Background Noise …

It’s probably just terminology, but I understand the G120TP is to cover Elementary Flying Training where as the T6C is for Basic Jet Training under the MFTS model. I accept that the JP was used for ‘all through’ jet training, but the RAF did return to the use of a fixed undercarriage airframe for Tyro Bloggs be he or she FJ, ME or RW streamed. It might just be my memory … but I think the SIAI Marchetti/Alenia Aermacch SF260 was once considered by the RAF as an Elementary Trainer but rejected by CFS because of the retractable undercarriage concern and the fact that the SF260 was considered comparatively easy to enter an ‘unintentional spin’.

Trying not to be too cynical … I wonder if we are seeing the first signs of attempting to train ‘Systems Operators’ as opposed to ‘Pilots’ (that’s pilot in the conventional sense most members will identify with). I recall seeing some marketing guff for the F-35 recently saying something along the lines of … ‘the technology is there to free the pilot from piloting allowing him or her to focus on the battle scene, enemy engagement and ordinance delivery’ …

All perfectly logical but how long before the ‘Accountants/Bean Counters’ push this philosophy down the training line with the aim of saving money. Greater use of so called ‘Synthetics/Simulation’ followed by a bit of actual airborne learning reinforcement … all quite scary really. I’m sure the vast majority of members wouldn’t disagree that there is no substitute for learning to fly with a few 000’ feet under your bum. Simulators have their place but no matter how ‘real’ the virtual experience … it isn’t flying.

It will be interesting to see what the MFTS Elementary Training course profile looks like in terms of the training mix.

Phenom 100

I’ve not seen the Phenom close up, but based on the imagery I have seen, I wondered at it’s ability to offer a reasonably challenging learning experience as far as asymmetric flight is concerned. Whilst outwardly similar but smaller than say the HS125/Dominie T1 the fan nacelles appear closer to the fuselage centerline and closer (more forward) to the (estimated) CofG. Also having in mind that the airframe is predominately for Civil Single Pilot/Owner operation (for those that can afford it), I would have thought asymmetric handling might be a bit benign by design ?

Given the mix of ‘Heavies’ the RAF now has and expects to acquire in the future … a good asymmetric training airframe seems to be an absolute necessity.

T6C

On paper (public domain stuff) the T6C appears a good feed-in to the Hawk T2. But in this brave new MFTS World FJ Bloggs won’t have got his or her hands on a jet as yet. So if the T6C is to replace the Hawk T1, will there be a need to start FJ Bloggs earlier on the Hawk T2 … ergo more Hawk T2’s will be needed ?

Enough for the moment … What are the views of others ?

Cheers …

Coff.

Last edited by CoffmanStarter; 2nd Jan 2016 at 07:05.
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