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F35 pilots -

Old 3rd Nov 2022, 11:23
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Originally Posted by muppetofthenorth View Post
The RAAF doesn't fly -35Bs, so how useful is that actually?
They are training them to fly, they are being trained on PC-21 and hawks. They will then probably go to the US for actual F-35 training

They could also train them on A's at 2nd OCU, then they get B specific training in the UK or US. But not sure RAAF would want flight hours being put on our F-35's with out be compensated. There is already at least 1 USAF and 1 RAAF flying B models in RAF so theres obviously training between the models

Last edited by rattman; 3rd Nov 2022 at 11:38.
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Old 3rd Nov 2022, 12:18
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Originally Posted by tarantonight View Post
From my understanding the whole system is completely screwed.

40 - 60 years ago, from Day 1 (Civvie Street) to Front Line Aircrew, 20 - 24 months.

Now 7 - 8 years in some cases??.

What on earth has it come to??.

Disgraceful,

TN.
IMHO, it all stems from outsourcing training to private companies whose only remit is to extract maximum profit for minimum investment and minimum effort and who have no real idea of anything else. To them, delays of pilots reching the pointy end is not an issue.
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Old 3rd Nov 2022, 12:26
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Originally Posted by muppetofthenorth View Post
The RAAF doesn't fly -35Bs, so how useful is that actually?
I imagine it will be priceless when selection people for exchange postings with the USAF!
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Old 3rd Nov 2022, 12:35
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I read with interest that there are 3 RAF pilots training in Oz. The Gov't confirmed a few weeks ago that are looking at 'overseas' options to train pilots due to the abject failure of MFTS. My question is this - does anyone know if MFTS/Ascent are being fined or otherwise sanctioned for failing to meet their contractual obligations? Personally I believe the entire board of Ascent should resign after squandering tens of millions of taxpayers money on delivering...nothing.

As an aside, the RCAF has recently given it's pilots a HUGE payrise to try to improve retention (pilots bumped from 125k 'ish to 180k'ish). I am waiting with baited breath to see if has any effect. The pay that UK Mil pilots receive is simply derisory, and before anyone shouts, I know that someone does not dream of becoming an RAF pilot to get rich - I get it (I was one for almost 3 decades). However, when I joined I was young, stupid, keen as mustard, single, and had no commitments. Slew forward 10 years and I was married with 2 kids and believe me, money was a very real issue. Money does not recruit RAF pilots, but it absolutely retains them. I left for money, and for no other reason - not housing, not 'quality of life' etc..just money. For me at least, money was the answer and I know I am not alone.

I now get my pension paid to my UK bank account, and I live in North America working for a well known defence company (not in a flying role). My salary is roughly 4 times what I earned as a PA pilot, and that is before my annual bonus which last year was more than a years RAF salary. Guys staying in should do it for the love of the job, as the money to be made outside is almost obscene, particularly if you are prepared to leave the cockpit - staying in a flying role severely limits what you can earn, even as a long haul Captain at a major carrier. The money is in management and decision making.

Money most certainly is the answer, and as long as the MoD refuse to accept that and act on it, they are guaranteed to fail.
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Old 3rd Nov 2022, 12:48
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Originally Posted by Baldeep Inminj View Post
Money does not recruit RAF pilots, but it absolutely retains them.
From this side of the pond.
The USAF and USN discovered in the 1980's that (with a platform by platform review every few years) a retention bonus targeted at key points (after first tour or second tour) kept people around.
Those programs are still in existence, though they morph a bit from year to year.
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Old 3rd Nov 2022, 14:00
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Zero turn Circuit

Originally Posted by Mogwi View Post
I could get some hovering practice in with the Tiger Moth with todayís wind!

Mog
Mog, never mind hovering. I used to do zero turn circuits in a Grunau Baby at AngliaGC (Wattisham) Winch to 1200' Speed back to 21kts 1/4 spoilers and at 300' full spoilers and land ahead.
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Old 3rd Nov 2022, 14:55
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I’m no supporter of MFTS but I believe the leaked briefing that brought all this to light showed that MFTS was more or less doing it’s job. The bottle neck was entry to RAF run OCUs which were unable to process students because of lack of resources / other commitments. The other significant problem is Hawk T2 engines which was also a government, not industry, procurement.
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Old 3rd Nov 2022, 15:17
  #48 (permalink)  
 
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Well the military is struggling on the whole, look at the Army, they will take people back who were medically discharged in certain categories or even thrown out of the service, again in certain categories!!!
Just do not join as a dog handler.
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Old 3rd Nov 2022, 18:09
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Originally Posted by Frank W. Abagnale View Post
Putin might be right:

The West is decadent.

Panem et circenses.

Apparently our society has no problem to pay people multiple hundred thousand £ PER WEEK for kicking a ball but is not willing to pay adequately for defense.

Haaland is on 900.000£ per week, which would be sufficient to fund 468 combat pilots with a salary of 100.000£ per year.
Don't think Man City needs 468 combat pilots !!

Society doesn't pay footballers salary, the clubs do so a somewhat silly comparison.
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Old 3rd Nov 2022, 18:13
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Originally Posted by Geordie_Expat View Post
Don't think Man City needs 468 combat pilots !!

Society doesn't pay footballers salary, the clubs do so a somewhat silly comparison.
Silly .. perhaps. But a reflection of the distorted values we put in place these days.
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Old 3rd Nov 2022, 18:17
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MPN11

I agree that it is silly. However, Iíd struggle to find a better example of how a business (Man City) pays the going rate for someone with a niche set of skills. Maybe the military can learn something from the Premier League. Iíd have been more than happy with just one of Haalandís weekly wages as an annual salary though.

BV
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Old 3rd Nov 2022, 19:02
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A complicated parallel to draw, of course. Mr. F-35 doesn’t draw paying/baying crowds to watch his skills in potentially lethal combat.
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Old 3rd Nov 2022, 21:41
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Originally Posted by Timelord View Post
Iím no supporter of MFTS but I believe the leaked briefing that brought all this to light showed that MFTS was more or less doing itís job. The bottle neck was entry to RAF run OCUs which were unable to process students because of lack of resources / other commitments. The other significant problem is Hawk T2 engines which was also a government, not industry, procurement.
Haven't seen the report in question, but I have been seeing the that it is at all levels, even EF squadrons are having pilot shortages, worst effected are F-35, but all squadrons and all types are facing shortages
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Old 3rd Nov 2022, 21:50
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Originally Posted by MPN11 View Post
Silly .. perhaps. But a reflection of the distorted values we put in place these days.
Originally Posted by Bob Viking View Post
I agree that it is silly. However, Iíd struggle to find a better example of how a business (Man City) pays the going rate for someone with a niche set of skills. Maybe the military can learn something from the Premier League. Iíd have been more than happy with just one of Haalandís weekly wages as an annual salary though.

BV
Originally Posted by MPN11 View Post
A complicated parallel to draw, of course. Mr. F-35 doesnít draw paying/baying crowds to watch his skills in potentially lethal combat.
Absolutely to all of the above, but.....

What value do you place on the "niche skills" of a Doctor or a nurse who has also spent many years in training and has the responsibility of the lives of many other people in their hands.
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Old 3rd Nov 2022, 22:43
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Originally Posted by pr00ne View Post
Something Is rotten in the state of High Wycombe/Main Building.
This!
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Old 3rd Nov 2022, 22:58
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Originally Posted by Bob Viking View Post
I agree that it is silly. However, Iíd struggle to find a better example of how a business (Man City) pays the going rate for someone with a niche set of skills. Maybe the military can learn something from the Premier League. Iíd have been more than happy with just one of Haalandís weekly wages as an annual salary though.

BV
This is a silly comparison. There may be a few hundred in the country that could perform to the standard you set in football. I hate footballers by the way.. but there are literally hundreds of thousands that would pass the standard tests to be a pilot, and a fair few of them would make the cut.

The challenge is to get people to apply in the first place, and then to retain them.

Nobody goes into the military to become well off. They may go into it to get a skill that they can use in the private sector , but who blames them. There is only so many air marshals, a good few are expected to leave.

You canít have pay that is good enough to retain everyone as there is no room for everyone. You need turnover. In times of war you can call on these to return.

The challenge is to make the salary good enough to bring people in, but not good enough to keep them. Except for the few that go on to the top.
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Old 3rd Nov 2022, 23:27
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Originally Posted by Flyhighfirst View Post

You can’t have pay that is good enough to retain everyone as there is no room for everyone. You need turnover. In times of war you can call on these to return.

.
Unfortunately, For turnover to work you need a functioning training system!

Last edited by Timelord; 4th Nov 2022 at 00:05.
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Old 4th Nov 2022, 02:10
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This was all so predictable.
(I only refer to fighter pilots but acknowledge the acute retention problems in other pilot streams, RAF specialist branches and trades).

I remember 14 years ago the whole MFTS proposal was doomed to fail in terms of delivering fighter pilots to the frontline (quality and numbers). Concerns fell on deaf ears. Our masters told us "it must work, whatever it takes". Well, this mantra continues and the golden eggs that had kept the fast jet pilot training system flowing - 208 squadron and 100 squadron (in part) - were culled prematurely. They were killed off to a. free up cash to plough in to MFTS "to make it work, whatever it takes" b. free up experienced IPs and c. draw-down the Hawk T1 which, despite producing world-class talent, was seen as getting progressively less airworthy in comparison to the T2. Unbelievably, the RAF now sends pilots to the USA to fly a more risky aged trainer, at a much lower output standard (as evidenced by a CFS report) and at a higher cost.

Predictably, the closure of these squadrons saw most of the IPs walk while the productivity and quality from MFTS (in the most part, not the fault of Ascent) worsen. Even backfilling IPs from the frontline and OCUs (hence, one reason for the deficiencies here on this thread).

In terms of retention, some western air forces recognise the value of these precious (!) fighter pilots and thus give them a superior 'package': pay and conditions. The RAF on the other hand, penalised their best talent. I know this view of fighter pilots rubs people the wrong way but these really are the 'best of the best' by being continually selected from the top of all their training courses. These courses are massively stressful too - they require years of high tariff study and every flight could be their last in terms of performance ("every flight is a chop ride"). So, what does the RAF actually do? It pays these pilots much less than those that didn't quite achieve the top assessments. This is down to flying pay (nb this used to be paid due to the dangerous nature of the job, in both training and war, but now, apparently, it is solely said to be for retention) which is now only paid once a pilot passes the OCU. 7-8 years for a fighter pilot in the RAF due to a much longer (broken) training system. Where as ME and rotary pilots will pass their OCU within 2-3 years. So fighter pilots are 5 years behind in flying pay which works out as £100,000s over a medium career due lagging behind all the increments. That isn't a great way to treat your best people. Add to that, F35 pilots don't fly much (foreign air forces mock the RAF for this nowadays), with endless long deployments (8 months on a ship for F35 pilots), a crap base location in Norfolk, a jet that actually isn't that great to fly, endless days of nugatory duties, spending the majority of 'flying' in the synthetic environment, hassled by lack or resource, support and allowances (thus a constant fight against the system), revolving door OCs with no stability in leadership...the list goes on.....

....this was all so predictable
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Old 4th Nov 2022, 06:05
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Originally Posted by Flyhighfirst View Post
This is a silly comparison. There may be a few hundred in the country that could perform to the standard you set in football. I hate footballers by the way.. but there are literally hundreds of thousands that would pass the standard tests to be a pilot, and a fair few of them would make the cut.

The challenge is to get people to apply in the first place, and then to retain them.

Nobody goes into the military to become well off. They may go into it to get a skill that they can use in the private sector , but who blames them. There is only so many air marshals, a good few are expected to leave.

You canít have pay that is good enough to retain everyone as there is no room for everyone. You need turnover. In times of war you can call on these to return.

The challenge is to make the salary good enough to bring people in, but not good enough to keep them. Except for the few that go on to the top.
​​​​​​
don't necessarily disagree with the point about footballer pay. However - the rest of your argument is pretty flawed here.

A) if you have a training system capable of outputting 12 pilots a year, and your system insists on having a fairly broad * rank structure, who exactly is going to fill those posts if 3/4 of your cohort leave? (Debate whether this is a bad thing!)

B) pilot training is *really* expensive. If you have a choice of retaining a trained pilot for 6 years (i.e. to end of return of service) or keeping them slightly happier and retaining them for 9, you've just saved quite a lot of money, whilst still retaining a sensible demographic. Your turnover argument is more valid in areas where training cost is lower. If you want evidence for this the USAF commissioned a study on recruitment Vs retention relatively recently and was told in no uncertain terms that they were smoking crack to not be paying money to retain aircrew in general.

C) No one goes into the military to be well off, but no one goes into the military to live in a house with asbestos ceilings collapsing into their children's bedrooms either... If you fail to deliver in some areas (infrastructure, QoL etc) then you have to over-deliver in others (i.e. pay). As a simple example, if you can't deliver decent quarters, you have to pay enough for folks to afford decent accommodation on the outside.
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Old 4th Nov 2022, 07:32
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Perhaps it is no suprise the majority of F-35 flights in the UK are from these:
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