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'Non-Traditional' Aircrew

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'Non-Traditional' Aircrew

Old 30th Oct 2019, 23:57
  #61 (permalink)  
 
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Sigh. We all know that the official name is Badge not Brevet, because the pedants are for ever telling us so. Yet we persist in calling it a Brevet. Horses and Water I guess. What can you do?

There are a lot of specialist personnel who carry out there roles in aircraft it is true. That is different to being a constituent part of the basic crew. They are aircrew. Nothing Honorary about it. If you could apply yourself to my basic argument that RAF Cabin Crew need recognition by the rest of the RAF that they are indeed aircrew and should thus be accorded the same status as all other aircrew, ie an Aircrew Badge (you see now what you've made me do?) and appropriate rank (ie Sgt and above) then the importance of their job and their effectiveness in that job (ie saving lives) would be greatly assured. What we have now is an underlying sense of patronising and sniggering superiority that won't play well in dire circumstances. Time to change perhaps?
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Old 31st Oct 2019, 00:37
  #62 (permalink)  
 
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Chug,

How much respect do you think a young acting sgt cabin crew member would get from a planeload of squaddies? I suspect even less than acting cpl PTIs get from their RAF colleagues, and that ain’t much. Heck, senior members on here have even written about the credibility issues faced by transport captains when they held acting sqn led rank.

But frankly I don’t see the relevance of rank for cabin crew. Saving lives is no reason. Where does that leave firefighters and medics? Many of the crew on RAF Voyagers are civilians employed by AirTanker; can their instructions be safely ignored? No, but there will always be idiots who try it on, and that would remain the case even if all cabin crew were commissioned officers. In fact that would probably make it worse! More generally, abuse of rank has declined massively during my time in service and the minority who try it from time to time are viewed with disdain. ‘Standing’ is needed as well as ‘seniority’ before orders can given and our youngsters are very well attuned to that, a sign of the times no less.
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Old 31st Oct 2019, 01:15
  #63 (permalink)  
 
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ES, it's not the squaddies that concern me most for they at least can be dealt with in the traditional ways. It is on the contrary the underlying theme throughout this thread that concerns me. They are aircrew because the MAA says they are, but plainly the RAF doesn't think so or they would be accorded the status of aircrew which is manifested in the wearing of an aircrew brevet (there, that didn't last long did it?). If it isn't appropriate for CC to be Sergeants and above, why is it then appropriate for other aircrew?

As has been said before, air gunners, radio operators, etc, have all had to face this same struggle to join the hallowed status of aircrew. I believe we have Hermann Goering to thank for their success, as SNCOs and Officers would fare better as POWs. Whatever the background, all RAF aircrew are SNCOs or Commissioned Officers with the exception of cabin crew. How well that works in practice for the crews, never mind their pax, one has to wonder. A crew needs to be a tightly knit unit if it is to function safely, and when it isn't things become very unsafe, witness Kegworth. If the cabin crew had queried with him the Captain's PA about the Stbd engine when clearly the problem was with the Pt one, then aircraft, crew, and pax could all have survived. They didn't and bad things happened.

I'm not interested in rank, I'm not interested in 'Stinkin Badges'. I am interested in all aircrew being clearly acknowledged as such for safety's sake if no other. In the RAF that means the Brevet and Sgt Stripes it seems to me.
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Old 31st Oct 2019, 02:06
  #64 (permalink)  
 
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then the importance of their job and their effectiveness in that job (ie saving lives) would be greatly assured
Chugalug2 from that quote above, then you would imply that the primary role of cabin crew above all others is passenger safety? I would argue that is a secondary role and that the primary role is passenger service, comfort and ensuring the passengers are compliant for the journey ahead. It’s a bit like saying that the primary role of the Aircrew (see what I did there?) is the safety of the passengers, when actually the primary role (or even dare I say ‘Aim’) is to get the aircraft from A to B and just one of the objectives is to get there safely. Otherwise, if we take your definition, we could get from A to B with our aircraft Aircrew, Cabin Crew and passengers but claim it is ineffective because one of the passengers had a heart attack and died despite the best efforts to save them?

Finally, I have flown many flights as a passenger in an aircraft too small to have Cabin Crew, or with too few passengers to require Cabin Crew, so if the aircraft can fly without the Cabin Crew and complete its desired mission what does that really say about the importance of the job or their effectiveness to me? Personally, I would be content to fly on a flight in any aircraft without Cabin Crew as a passenger if everyone else knew what to do and behaved like me. So really, that primary role is passenger service, comfort and ensuring the passengers are compliant for the journey ahead and the rest is secondary effect. That is why, at best like the PJI, they should be seen as ‘honorary aircrew’ for increased med screening and priority treatment. But other than that, they are from the respective ground trade and trained to operate around an aircraft, rather than operate it for the purpose of being airborne (and I don’t mean turn the galley on, dishing out in flight or operating the cabin lights!).

As for MAA definition, they also mentioned the dreaded ‘B Word’ until recently until someone put in an amendment to change it. The definition of Aircrew can also easily be amended. They are, after all words with variable context (but the context is the important bit).
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Old 31st Oct 2019, 08:59
  #65 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Lima Juliet View Post
Chugalug2 . So really, that primary role is passenger service, comfort and ensuring the passengers are compliant for the journey ahead and the rest is secondary effect. bit).
Is it really .......? being awarded a G.C for doing her primary role isn't what you would call an everyday occurrence....doesn't make one scrap of difference if the operator is civilian or military because, as she tragically, and heroically, demonstrated, when it all goes horribly wrong, then, and only then, does the primary role come to the fore.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Jane_Harrison

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Old 31st Oct 2019, 09:08
  #66 (permalink)  
 
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As an ex-soldier, this topic has long been fascinating to me. One thing that never appeared on my uniform was a trade badge. On number 2 dress, there were stripes (or not) indicating rank., with the Corps badge (Mercury aka Jimmy for Royal Signals) and, if applicable, medal ribbons on the left breast, all topped off by the Royal Signals blue lanyard on the left shoulder. (Had to be left side to distinguish us from Royal Engineers). Combat kit bore only rank stripes and working dress had the same, rank stripes and nothing else. There were no trade badges. If someone turned up in my workshop and saw me repairing a radio, they would recognise immediately that I was one of the various radio technician trades. In addition, there sometimes Divisional Flashes. If you were posted to a unit with,for example, 7Div, you would end up wearing the Desert Rat flash on the upper arm. Generally, when anything 'different' was happening, the dress would be laid out in Orders. I think we were proud that we understood the definition of "uniform".
And then we used to gaze upon our colleagues in the R.N. and R.A.F., wondering what all the badges were about. And when it came to pilots (drivers, air frame) the whole thing took on a circus like appearance, with big round, gaily coloured circular cloth badges adorning the flying suit.
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Old 31st Oct 2019, 10:23
  #67 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Lima Juliet View Post
Chugalug2 from that quote above, then you would imply that the primary role of cabin crew above all others is passenger safety? I would argue that is a secondary role and that the primary role is passenger service, comfort and ensuring the passengers are compliant for the journey ahead......

Finally, I have flown many flights as a passenger in an aircraft too small to have Cabin Crew, or with too few passengers to require Cabin Crew, so if the aircraft can fly without the Cabin Crew and complete its desired mission what does that really say about the importance of the job or their effectiveness to me? Personally, I would be content to fly on a flight in any aircraft without Cabin Crew as a passenger if everyone else knew what to do and behaved like me. So really, that primary role is passenger service, comfort and ensuring the passengers are compliant for the journey ahead and the rest is secondary effect.

As for MAA definition, they also mentioned the dreaded ‘B Word’ until recently until someone put in an amendment to change it. The definition of Aircrew can also easily be amended. They are, after all words with variable context (but the context is the important bit).
LJ, you make my case far more persuasively than I ever could and for which I must thank you. I leave your comments quoted above (edited down only to make their thrust the more apparent) to speak for themselves. As to you finding yourself minus cabin crew in small aircraft, the same applies for civilian aircraft. The ratios of cabin crew required v pax numbers v a/c type are spelled out by the CAA. I am sure that they are similarly spelled out by the MAA. If it were not so then passengers would be advised to board with copious amounts of change to operate the many vending machines bolted to the cabin bulkheads!

I most certainly do repeat my claim that the primary role of cabin crew is passenger safety. Passengers left to themselves to evacuate a crashed and burning aircraft would die in their droves, be they military or civilian. A speedy but orderly evacuation can only be achieved by trained cabin crew manning the exits and ensuring a continuous flow of pax down the slides. Practice, practice, and yet more practice is the key, an experience not open to their pax of course.

Knc linked us to the bravery of BOAC's Mary Jane Harrison who gave her life aged 22 saving her passengers evacuating the inferno of a B-707. The only peacetime George Cross awarded to a woman (posthumously in her case sadly). I would also mention the MBE awarded (in life!) to Dan-Air's Elizabeth Cowe, whose HS 748 ditched on take off from Sumburgh, in assisting 26 of her passengers to safety.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan-Air_Flight_0034

KD, you have my sympathy. If it is of any consolation, the British Army was always a known unknown to me. What ever I learned by rote of Companies, Battalions, Corps, Regiments, etc, etc, required for passing promotion exams, was soon forgotten. Thank heavens though that HM Services differ so wildly. Long may they do so!

Last edited by Chugalug2; 31st Oct 2019 at 10:33.
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Old 31st Oct 2019, 11:16
  #68 (permalink)  
 
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I think we were proud that we understood the definition of "uniform".
I'll bite! Army and "uniform". Now there's an oxymoron if ever there was one! Even within certain regiments no two officers are allowed to dress the same on any given day. Can't even decide on sleeves up or sleeves down on combat dress ffs! Cap badges, beret colours, DZ flashes, bits of string around your armpit, the number of buttons on your service dress - these define your role/specialisation and no different to trade badges in the RN and RAF (who at least have a standard uniform....don't get me started on red tunics, black tunics, shiny metal breast plates, big bushy hats, hankies on the mess dress dating back to when officers put tar in their pony tails etc. etc.).

If someone turned up in my workshop and saw me repairing a radio, they would recognise immediately that I was one of the various radio technician trades.
Awesome, I'll just pop down the road to Marham and jump in the cockpit of one of those nice shiny F35's. Every one will immediately recognise that I was one of the pilots. Good show.
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Old 31st Oct 2019, 14:26
  #69 (permalink)  
 
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I shall reiterate: there are (or at least, not in my time) badges, flashes etc in the Army that define one's role or specialisation.
As for red tunics, black tunics etc, that comes about as a result of tradition. Centuries of it. And on that basis, the RAF don't come into it. At least, in the Army, nobody went to work dressed like a refugee from a Vaudeville act with gaily coloured badges showing various scenes of aeroplanes in full "whoosh" mode.
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Old 31st Oct 2019, 14:39
  #70 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by KelvinD View Post
I shall reiterate: there are (or at least, not in my time) badges, flashes etc in the Army that define one's role or specialisation.
As for red tunics, black tunics etc, that comes about as a result of tradition. Centuries of it. And on that basis, the RAF don't come into it. At least, in the Army, nobody went to work dressed like a refugee from a Vaudeville act with gaily coloured badges showing various scenes of aeroplanes in full "whoosh" mode.
well, I'm afraid to break it to you...
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Old 31st Oct 2019, 14:40
  #71 (permalink)  
 
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Kelvin

Would you like some ketchup with that chip?

BV

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Old 31st Oct 2019, 14:45
  #72 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Easy Street View Post
Chug,

How much respect do you think a young acting sgt cabin crew member would get from a planeload of squaddies? I suspect even less than acting cpl PTIs get from their RAF colleagues, and that ain’t much. Heck, senior members on here have even written about the credibility issues faced by transport captains when they held acting sqn led rank.

But frankly I don’t see the relevance of rank for cabin crew. Saving lives is no reason. Where does that leave firefighters and medics? Many of the crew on RAF Voyagers are civilians employed by AirTanker; can their instructions be safely ignored? No, but there will always be idiots who try it on, and that would remain the case even if all cabin crew were commissioned officers. In fact that would probably make it worse! More generally, abuse of rank has declined massively during my time in service and the minority who try it from time to time are viewed with disdain. ‘Standing’ is needed as well as ‘seniority’ before orders can given and our youngsters are very well attuned to that, a sign of the times no less.
I did wonder how long it would be before the old saw, "Are you a real squadron leader or a VC10 captain?, would be raised.....

On a more positive side, good to see two of the cabin cabin crew on the BBC One O'Clock news, quietly getting on with collecting for the RBL Poppy Appeal.

Jack
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Old 31st Oct 2019, 16:43
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How on earth can a soldier tell "acting" corporal or "acting" sergeant from substantive?
The badges are very similar ..........................

We read that the new 1940 sergeant aircrew, LAC armourer one day, sergeant the next, were not well received in the Mess. I am fairly sure that when the casualties mounted, even a hairy [email protected] SWO formed a better opinion.
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Old 31st Oct 2019, 23:21
  #74 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by langleybaston View Post
How on earth can a soldier tell "acting" corporal or "acting" sergeant from substantive?
The badges are very similar ..........................
Any sergeant looking under 25 years of age would obviously be taken as ‘acting’. That would undermine the rank of their older substantive colleagues unless a scheme similar to NCA was adopted, with higher entry standards and an enhanced initial training package to justify the rank being worn. Which would be total overkill for a role which is perfectly adequately carried out by junior ranks under the supervision of a NCO (in the form of the purser).
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Old 1st Nov 2019, 00:04
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Originally Posted by Easy Street View Post


Any sergeant looking under 25 years of age would obviously be taken as ‘acting’. That would undermine the rank of their older substantive colleagues unless a scheme similar to NCA was adopted, with higher entry standards and an enhanced initial training package to justify the rank being worn. Which would be total overkill for a role which is perfectly adequately carried out by junior ranks under the supervision of a NCO (in the form of the purser).
That may be true but fails to address the issue of the acting corporal, and fails to address the acting sergeant older than 25 years.
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Old 1st Nov 2019, 10:57
  #76 (permalink)  
 
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Why is it set in stone that aircrew must have a minimum rank of Sgt?
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Old 1st Nov 2019, 11:43
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The role, skill sets, entry requirements and depth/length of training for NCA and RAF Cabin Crew are entirely different. It’s completely inappropriate to compare rank between the two trades.

RAF Cabin Crew do not attend OASC nor do they complete MAGS. In addition, Voyager cabin crew training is only 3 weeks, does this make them “aircrew”? Especially given that it’s still a ground trade with an airborne role however, this is slowly changing as the ground role is phased out. That said, the vast majority are professionals and are good in the role, I don't think people will be serious in calling them aircrew until its a pure aviation role without the ground element.

The wearing of their CC “trade” badge is iaw dress regs and worn on their arm, I personally don’t have a problem with it being worn on their left shoulder in the form of a name badge on a flying suit.

The captain has ultimate authority over all pax and the Senior Cabin Crew Member is a SNCO, having all further 7 cabin crew hold SNCO tank is inappropriate, unnecessary and overkill. Squaddies get on a Voyager (as they have done for 7 years or so) eat, sleep and get off. Passengers are well aware of the fact they are to follow all commands given by the crew, if they don’t the SCCM will step in, I’m not sure why some people think that passengers require three strips and a big stick to keep them in line.
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Old 1st Nov 2019, 17:42
  #78 (permalink)  
 
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DS, could you spell out for me the significance of "A ground trade with an airborne role"? What does that mean? What ground trade do they practice? It seems to me all this is a way of having cabin crew who aren't really aircrew. Well I'm afraid that they are, and if the tick boxes require that RAF aircrew attend OASC, complete MAGS, and have more than 3 weeks training for Voyager CC (sounds like a good idea!) then so be it. While that is being tweaked, perhaps the requirement for RAF aircrew to be SNCOs/WOs/Commissioned Officers might be looked at again, so that CC can be aircrew with junior ranks, if Sgt stripes are a chevron too far. I certainly don't have a problem with that. What I have a problem with is this concept that they are crew but not aircrew. They are aircrew, and I don't think that the MAA will be changing their mind about that anytime soon.

I agree that pax know they are to carry out all crew instructions, the issue rather for RAF CCs is with the patronising attitudes expressed by their fellow aircrew as within this very thread. They are not there to feed and water you (though no doubt will willingly do so). They are there to save your life, and in doing so will no doubt risk theirs. You should get away swiftly from the foot of the slide (unless instructed otherwise). They stay behind onboard until every other pax is accounted for.

Time now for the RAF to acknowledge unambiguously that its cabin crew are indeed aircrew and award them an aircrew brevet accordingly!
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Old 1st Nov 2019, 18:19
  #79 (permalink)  
 
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They are a ground trade because they work in service messes behind the bar and whatnot.
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Old 1st Nov 2019, 19:20
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Originally Posted by downsizer View Post
They are a ground trade because they work in service messes behind the bar and whatnot.
That's an appalling use of Cabin Crew.
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