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First the VGSs and now the UASs?

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First the VGSs and now the UASs?

Old 27th Mar 2019, 19:50
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First the VGSs and now the UASs?

I see a “University Air Sqn (UAS) value for money (vfm) study” is planned. The aim of the study is to ‘describe the VfM of the UAS organisation’; the Study is to comprise: a review of past reports; assessment of the present UAS system; and an analysis of any future opportunities for the UAS system.

If previous studies are anything to go by, this can probably only go one way - reductions...

https://www.raf.mod.uk/ftrs-ptvr-adc...rafc-cranwell/
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Old 27th Mar 2019, 20:26
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So maybe the keen ATC cadets who have been staff cadets at VGS can move on to become instructors at UAS teaching students to fly real aeroplanes without engines. Then the UAS could be open to short-sighted people who can’t fly fast jet but who want to join the RAF.
no, wait that would require some element of common sense and not masses of administrators needing a home with zero aeroplanes.
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Old 27th Mar 2019, 21:10
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Colerne is shutting up shop imminently...
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Old 27th Mar 2019, 21:33
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And where is the Vfm in a Vfm into the UAS system? Air Commodore plus Group Captain plus plus plus ............. ?
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Old 27th Mar 2019, 23:41
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I thought they did exactly this less than 3 years ago under the previous CO 6 FTS?! The big changes in that time are Brexit and the flying training crisis; since the money is a drop in the ocean of that needed to address FOREX issues, I wonder whether re-establishment of a parallel EFT pathway on Tutors (beyond that already provided for RPASP) could be the driver for this review?
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Old 28th Mar 2019, 09:42
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I have had associations with the UAS world since 1958, when I joined one as a student. There has rarely been a year since then without some sort of review of the future of UASs. No change here.
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Old 28th Mar 2019, 11:23
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While a supporter of AEF flying and the UAS system.....in my opinion it is not value for money as operated under Babcock with the Tutor.

More flying and better training could be achieved for less if the whole system was handed over to a civilian operator under CAA rules.

For starters, the Grob Tutor was not a good choice of aircraft, the prop and engine combo wrong. To add to the misery the aircraft was nominally operated under RAF rules but G Registered and serviced by a civilian contractor. Lastly, it has to be flown by crew wearing bone domes and parachutes which is all a bit silly.

Extra 300L? Too sporty for Elementary Training?
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Old 28th Mar 2019, 11:33
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Bigpants, I think you will have to justify why flying with safety equipment is silly. The Tutor was criticised for the design of the canopy system when a cadet was unable to bailout and use his parachute. The glider pilot the Tutor hit did managed to leave his aircraft and parachute to safety. Presumably your attitude to parachutes dates from The Great War?
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Old 28th Mar 2019, 13:13
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Originally Posted by Bigpants View Post
While a supporter of AEF flying and the UAS system.....in my opinion it is not value for money as operated under Babcock with the Tutor.

More flying and better training could be achieved for less if the whole system was handed over to a civilian operator under CAA rules.

For starters, the Grob Tutor was not a good choice of aircraft, the prop and engine combo wrong. To add to the misery the aircraft was nominally operated under RAF rules but G Registered and serviced by a civilian contractor. Lastly, it has to be flown by crew wearing bone domes and parachutes which is all a bit silly.

Extra 300L? Too sporty for Elementary Training?
Well based on some of the other threads on here discussing experiences with contractorised flying training, I think you'll have a hard time convincing many of the military that it's a good idea to farm more of their roles out to contractors or civilian organisations.

Plus, and one thing that is often missed in the rush to farm out 'non-essential, non front line' (and I use quotation marks deliberately) is that these posts are invaluable as respite tours for those who want to remain operational but need time away from the tip of the spear. Not only that, but being able to pass operational experience first hand on to students is not only invaluable from a student perspective, it also allows the relating of stories, tales of daring do, stupidity and all the other insanity of ops to hopefully inspire a warrior ethos and encourage the studes beyond learning about the simple mechanics of operating an aeroplane. That was certainly the case with my UAS OC who used to tell me about his days as an F-4 driver and my CGI who would relate tales of getting it wrong as a test pilot. And my flirtation with the training environment was such that nearly all of us were operational types brought in to embed that operational experience from day 1 of Phase 2 training.

In sum, I think contractorisation to save a few quid, will in the long run prove to be a bit silly.
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Old 28th Mar 2019, 14:30
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We urgently need to drop the idea that putting a military task out to civilian contract is some kind of magic bullet to make it better/ cheaper, there are plenty of examples where it clearly hasn’t worked, MFTS being the prime example. The UASs used to be an excellent recruiting tool that produced student pilots who were far less likely to be chopped in later training which was why they weren’t scrapped under ‘Options for Change’ as they more than paid for themselves through less wastage. Unfortunately they were changed into EFTs which started the rot as measured against full time EFT they didn’t compare so favorably as the students were pulled in two directions by their university studies & flying training which led to the slide into today’s Air experience squadrons.

They were also the training ground for QFIs who learnt their trade then took their skills back to the OCUs who today have to train a lot of their own instructors as the supply of readymade QFIs has largely dried up.

There used to be a civilian run system that introduced prospective pilot candidates to aviation - the Flying scholarships which were done at flying clubs around the country but which I believe went many years ago. That was my own path into flying and an excellent system it was, and ‘cheap as chips’ in relative terms.

The RAF could make much more of the UASs, increase the instructor manning so they can provide a proper flying training service but limit undergraduates to the holiday periods so that they can get some continuity and make proper progress through the syllabus without distraction from their academic studies. The rest of the time the UAS would provide EFT courses to students post IOT, they should be able to fit at least one full course in per term.
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Old 28th Mar 2019, 15:04
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Originally Posted by Blackfriar View Post
So maybe the keen ATC cadets who have been staff cadets at VGS can move on to become instructors at UAS teaching students to fly real aeroplanes without engines. Then the UAS could be open to short-sighted people who can’t fly fast jet but who want to join the RAF.
no, wait that would require some element of common sense and not masses of administrators needing a home with zero aeroplanes.
Interesting idea. From my own student days I recall that those with RAF sponsorships, but destined for non-pilot disciplines, were able to join the UAS, although (as I wasn't one) not sure what they did - did they get flying instruction? A friend who was keen to join got a refusal from the UAS, joined the RNU and went on to forge a successful career in the RN as a pilot!
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Old 28th Mar 2019, 16:59
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[QUOTE=Davef68;10432548 From my own student days I recall that those with RAF sponsorships, but destined for non-pilot disciplines, were able to join the UAS, although (as I wasn't one) not sure what they did - did they get flying instruction? [/QUOTE]

When the University Cadetship method of entry started for all branches around 1970, those selected were appointed to a Permanent Commission as an Acting Pilot Officer (APO) on 38/16 terms.

In the early days, there were 2 types of student pilots on a UAS - commissioned aircrew on University Cadetships (APO) and those allowed to join as RAF VR members for flying training on the Bulldog with no commitment to join the RAF later (Officer Cadet).

All members - regardless of branch - were expected to attend the weekly training nights at the Town HQ - which might be remote from the airfield used by the pilots for flying training. For instance, in my era, the University of London Air Sqn Town HQ was at 206 Brompton Road, South Kensington, London - near Imperial College - and the flying training base was at White Waltham then Abingdon later.

For training nights, members were expected to dress to Officers Mess standards of the era - remember the days of lounge suits on Mon, Tue, Thu and sports jackets / blazers on Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun. Activities would include "Service Knowledge" instruction, visiting speakers and an introduction to "Customs & Etiquette" by way of there being a bar !

There was no formal system for ground branch officers on University Cadetships to gain "air experience". In my era, that occurred during Engineering Specialist Ground Training at Cranwell with 3 x Jet Provost sorties allocated. In addition, prior to attending OASC at Biggin Hill, prospective University Cadetship candidates had the opportunity to spend a day on a front-line station and get an air experience flight - in a Hunter T7 of 237 OCU (Buccaneer) at Honington in my case.

Sidenote: The former London Underground station and WWII anti-aircraft artillery operations centre - within which the ULAS Town HQ used to be housed - was sold for GBP 53M in 2014
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/d...for-53-million

Last edited by RAFEngO74to09; 28th Mar 2019 at 22:27.
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Old 28th Mar 2019, 18:36
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Originally Posted by Bigpants View Post
While a supporter of AEF flying and the UAS system.....in my opinion it is not value for money as operated under Babcock with the Tutor.

More flying and better training could be achieved for less if the whole system was handed over to a civilian operator under CAA rules.

For starters, the Grob Tutor was not a good choice of aircraft, the prop and engine combo wrong. To add to the misery the aircraft was nominally operated under RAF rules but G Registered and serviced by a civilian contractor. Lastly, it has to be flown by crew wearing bone domes and parachutes which is all a bit silly.

Extra 300L? Too sporty for Elementary Training?
I guess we're all entitled to an opinion.
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Old 28th Mar 2019, 19:18
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I have had associations with the UAS world since 1958, when I joined one as a student. There has rarely been a year since then without some sort of review of the future of UASs. No change here.
I was in UBAS in the late 60s. I remember the Boss telling us that for a short period - a day or two - the UASs ceased to exist.
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Old 29th Mar 2019, 08:23
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Obviously they can dispose of the aircraft.

The students can get a very good idea of RAF pilot training by doing a few meaningless holding jobs?
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Old 29th Mar 2019, 09:30
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Hire a consultant to explain why the UAS system was so successful until around 1993.... Plenty of flying, mostly with RAF QFIs working up for ther A2, Summer Camps - and none of this 'strength through joy' adventurous training nonsense.

€50 per hour and I'm yours, MoD!
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Old 29th Mar 2019, 10:09
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Lima Juliet, I tried to open the link you provided in your thread starter but it says it has expired. I also noted in the bottom right corner it has a Crown Copyright for 2014. Was this the date it was issued, there is no other date showing on the link that I could see?

The contract for UAS was due to be re-awarded this year I believe?
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Old 29th Mar 2019, 10:30
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Well I managed to open it and found:

The closing date for applications is: 26/04/2019

© UK Crown copyright 2014

Maybe a system update is in order?


BTW I think that it's a really good idea to check that something is still working as intended. I was late once because my clock, which had been accurate, started to run slowly.

​​​​​​


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Old 29th Mar 2019, 10:40
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Originally Posted by Just This Once... View Post
Bigpants, I think you will have to justify why flying with safety equipment is silly. The Tutor was criticised for the design of the canopy system when a cadet was unable to bailout and use his parachute. The glider pilot the Tutor hit did managed to leave his aircraft and parachute to safety. Presumably your attitude to parachutes dates from The Great War?
1. The Tutor never underwent a full Boscombe Down evaluation which would have highlighted the problem of the canopy arch.

2. The midair you quote was caused because a medically unfit officer with a fused spine was allowed to fly the Tutor and he was unable to look out properly.

3. You point out the glider pilot was able to bailout while ignoring the fact that the cadet was briefed on how to escape from the aircraft with parachute yet was unable to do so.

Remove the bonedome.....btw have you heard about the Prefect Problem....let pilots and cadets fly with a soft headset and leave the parachute at home for cadet flying. Keep the option of wearing a parachute for SCT exercises like spinning.
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Old 29th Mar 2019, 10:43
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Originally Posted by BEagle View Post
Hire a consultant to explain why the UAS system was so successful until around 1993.... Plenty of flying, mostly with RAF QFIs working up for ther A2, Summer Camps - and none of this 'strength through joy' adventurous training nonsense.

€50 per hour and I'm yours, MoD!
The first question might be "what do you mean by successful?" and then "would it be/do we need it to be successful in the same way now?". I am not expressing a view either way but reviews should be expected when you are spending public money; unfortunately, we have learnt to be pessimistic about the motives and outcome.
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