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inews - 'RAF admits ‘urgent’ need to solve shortage of trained pilots''

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inews - 'RAF admits ‘urgent’ need to solve shortage of trained pilots''

Old 14th Jan 2023, 07:43
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inews - 'RAF admits ‘urgent’ need to solve shortage of trained pilots''

Here we go again:

i-news - RAF admits 'urgent' need to solve shortage of trained pilots
Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, has revealed that at one point last year that the UK had more F35 Lightning II stealth fighter jets than it had pilots to fly them and that “the pilot pipeline was not where I wanted it to be”.

By November, the situation had improved with 27 F35s and 33 pilots, but that included Australian and US pilots over on exchange and was “not a staggering amount”, Mr Wallace admitted to MPs.
Nothing said about losing pilots to China then?

How about tempting them back? I'm sure they have their price!

EXCLUSIVE
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14th Jan 2023, 08:46
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Easy money

The RAF have paid Ł480,000 to a US consultancy firm to tell them how they can fix the problem. I could have given them a few nuggets for a lot less. In fact, instead of doing what the MOD always do (pay a bunch of money to a civilian company for ‘advice’, most of which comes from recently retired military personnel) they could just do a better job of listening to the people they already have. You know, those uniformed SQEP that turn up for work every day and tell their chain of command when things aren’t right. Those same people that get ignored and fed up and then leave. Those same people that may even end up working for consultancy firms.

On balance, maybe let’s just leave the RAF to it and allow those people to rake it in as consultants. The RAF hierarchy will never learn.

Remember: money is not the answer.

BV
Old 14th Jan 2023, 08:46
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Easy money

The RAF have paid Ł480,000 to a US consultancy firm to tell them how they can fix the problem. I could have given them a few nuggets for a lot less. In fact, instead of doing what the MOD always do (pay a bunch of money to a civilian company for ‘advice’, most of which comes from recently retired military personnel) they could just do a better job of listening to the people they already have. You know, those uniformed SQEP that turn up for work every day and tell their chain of command when things aren’t right. Those same people that get ignored and fed up and then leave. Those same people that may even end up working for consultancy firms.

On balance, maybe let’s just leave the RAF to it and allow those people to rake it in as consultants. The RAF hierarchy will never learn.

Remember: money is not the answer.

BV
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Old 14th Jan 2023, 08:58
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Quite right, BV. There is plenty of internal intellectual horsepower available and always has been.

This is old news, wrapped up as some sort of scoop, using docs leaked in May/June. As for the contribution from Lord West, his willingness to take any and every opportunity to have a pop at the RAF would embarrass the bearded bullsh***er himself.
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Old 14th Jan 2023, 09:51
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Plus ca change……..
The age old problem. If it is any consolation, the same situation applies in the civilian world. Even where the consultants aren’t employing your former staff, the first thing they usually do is interview your existing staff who almost invariably tell them the answer to whatever the problem is.
It is a hallmark of weak management that they can’t implement difficult choices without paying someone external to tell them to do it. It allows the option of scapegoating the consultants if it all goes wrong, but horribly undermines organisational self confidence, and introduces often fatal delay to remedial action being taken.
I can only imagine how it feels to serve in the RAF at the moment with insufficient aircraft and even then, insufficient pilots to fly them. I suppose we will be in to a new recruitment year shortly, so at least they will soon be able to recruit all shapes sizes and colours again….
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Old 14th Jan 2023, 09:55
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Ermm.......train and employ more pilots?

If the government and/or the RAF really need to pay consultants to work out how many pilots they need for a given fleet; we really are lost !
I could lend them my calculator, or my pen and piece of paper if need be.

I would offer to be an F35 pilot, but I suspect I am not capable enough to pass fast-jet selection........
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Old 14th Jan 2023, 09:59
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Total tripe woven into a MSM story again. The Boston Consulting Group contract is for RAF Digital and is not ‘advising’ on how to recruit, train and career manage Aircrew. They might help provide digital tools and suggest tweaks to management processes, but they certainly aren’t doing what iNews infers.

You’ll find the contract here: https://bidstats.uk/tenders/2022/W45/786301120 - linked within it is the SUR document: https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=h...f-ee61d917f267

It clearly states this is to deliver a modelling tool to help the RAF personnel better understand the problems and to be able to model various scenarios in advance - like a forecasting model. Here is a snippet from the above link:



So, yet again, this is more slack research by an editorial team who couldn’t even be bothered to do a 2 minute search on Google and read the links. More wrapping for next Friday’s fish and chips, I guess…
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Old 14th Jan 2023, 10:12
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Its not just a shortage of pilots though. They need to be flying too.

To be the best, you have to train seriously and that means hours. On the ground and in the air.

A lot more than they do now.

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Old 14th Jan 2023, 10:35
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Originally Posted by Lima Juliet View Post
Total tripe woven into a MSM story again. The Boston Consulting Group contract is for RAF Digital and is not ‘advising’ on how to recruit, train and career manage Aircrew. They might help provide digital tools and suggest tweaks to management processes, but they certainly aren’t doing what iNews infers.

You’ll find the contract here: https://bidstats.uk/tenders/2022/W45/786301120 - linked within it is the SUR document: https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=h...f-ee61d917f267

It clearly states this is to deliver a modelling tool to help the RAF personnel better understand the problems and to be able to model various scenarios in advance - like a forecasting model. Here is a snippet from the above link:



So, yet again, this is more slack research by an editorial team who couldn’t even be bothered to do a 2 minute search on Google and read the links. More wrapping for next Friday’s fish and chips, I guess…
Seriously? “ an interactive conceptual model to simulate outcomes for different interventions on the recruitment-training-deployment process ( not linked to source data) “ ??
Just how big an airforce do we think we have? How have we managed up to now? This sounds even worse than I had feared, and I am struggling to understand how you would differentiate it from “advising”. Even if you can differentiate it from advising, it is surely a distinction without a difference. We are paying to have someone tell us something we should and do already know. ( The old joke about the consultant borrowing your watch to tell you the time springs to mind…) Sounds like we have used consultants to write the brief for the consultants. We will be held hostage for ever!
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Old 14th Jan 2023, 10:52
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The system has been broken for over a decade and yet it seems as this has only just been realised. The only answer to an inadequate training pipeline was (and is) high levels of retention. I did my very best to argue that fast jet pilots should get paid the same or more than other RAF pilots, not less due to the farcical flying pay amendment (saving) of the noughties, but to no avail. Trainees then, as now, were far more financially astute, lifestyle aware and career savvy then back in the day of the RAF's senior leadership (80s and 90s), so these talented pilots are quite happy to do a tour or two and then explore another career opportunity. Opportunities that are far more lucrative, rewarding, with better work-life balance and far less risky.
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Old 14th Jan 2023, 11:11
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“None so blind…..”
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Old 14th Jan 2023, 11:26
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The shortage of pilots could be helped greatly by taking their training back "in house" and not wasting money on poorly performing money making machines such as are the current trainers.

Last edited by Doctor Cruces; 14th Jan 2023 at 19:36.
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Old 14th Jan 2023, 11:26
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Falcon 900

I am a confirmed civilian but agree completely with your remarks. The problem is UK management attitude across the board not just the Services. The words they used here are completely cringeworthy adding up to sweet Fox Alpha.


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Old 14th Jan 2023, 11:55
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Could do with another training base like Linton on Ouse. We don't seem to have learnt from Mrs Thatcher's cuts and the near embarrassment that caused.
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Old 14th Jan 2023, 12:02
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Originally Posted by Doctor Cruces View Post
The shortage of pilots could be helped greatly by taking their training back "in house" and not wasting money on poorly performing money making machines such are the current trainers.
Which by its very means will increase pilot availability by having service instructor's over civilian, I could never understand how farming it all out was cheaper. I could understand it with the odd specialised trades that may have the odd task to do every now and then, such as aerial erectors, chippies etc, but the core tasks, no.


I do wonder, have they looked at the Civilian system of bonding pilots? Ie, you have to give back so many years of service to cover the training costs, a bond becoming payable if you leave early.
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Old 14th Jan 2023, 12:10
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
Which by its very means will increase pilot availability by having service instructor's over civilian, I could never understand how farming it all out was cheaper. I could understand it with the odd specialised trades that may have the odd task to do every now and then, such as aerial erectors, chippies etc, but the core tasks, no.


I do wonder, have they looked at the Civilian system of bonding pilots? Ie, you have to give back so many years of service to cover the training costs, a bond becoming payable if you leave early.
Military pilots are generally "bonded" by the length of their commission - so if you train them promptly and effectively then you get a decent length of service out of them.

However - if your training system is so crap that people who join as pilots are held for several years in make-work posts before they get onto a flying course and that course itself then takes much longer than it should then you've got people who have already served half of their commissioned periods before they get onto the front line. That's not the candidate's fault at all.
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Old 14th Jan 2023, 12:15
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I've heard of The Few but this is kicking the backside out of it.
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Old 14th Jan 2023, 12:42
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Different Country and different branch of the military but a large military aviation training program graduate and later Instructor Pilot in that same system.

The US Army in the 1960's was confronted by a need to ramp up Helicopter Flight Training due to a small bit of unpleasantness in Southeast Asia.

We were pumped through in one year from initial entry beginning with Basic Infantry Training, followed by Pre-Flight Training, Primary Flight Training, Advanced Flight Training, Instrument Flight Training, and finally Tactical Training.....in one year.

Primary Flight Training was a mix of Civilian Flight Instructors and Military in a 3:1 ration (Civvie/Military), with the other phases being done by Military Flight Instructors.

Conversion training following graduation from Flight School was determined by Class Standing and all Conversion Flight Training was done by Military Flight Instructors with a few very minor exceptions.

The one corner that cut in that training was the Army in its infinite wisdom elected to do only sufficient instrument flight training to meet the requirements of what it called the "Tactical Instrument Rating"....only real difference being no ILS Approaches were taught thus no "Standard Instrument Rating" was issued.

That was based primarily on the inability to conduct those approaches due to the sheer numbers of students being pipe lined and came back to haunt the Army post Vietnam.

I later did the Standard Instrument Flying Course which was taught by all Civilian Flight Instructors....mine being former USAF before his retirement from the military.

There is no reason the RAF cannot get the job done if sufficient resources and management priority is given to the task.

Or the US Air Force for that matter....but both the RAF and the USAF have very similar problems today.....and yes even the US Army. has forgotten how to get it done.

I would suggest a proper focus on the root causes of the problems would yield some common results in all of the services.

Politics and Funding with ever constantly changing priorities being the most serious culprits.

Sort those out and with some effort to secure effective managers to oversee the entire process and the hiccups down the line would soon be fixable.

One note.....our service commitment BEGINS the day one receives those Wings and in my situation should I have failed Flight School at any point or for any reason I would have had a Two Year commitment from initial entry with the rank of Private.



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Old 14th Jan 2023, 12:54
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Originally Posted by SASless View Post

The one corner that cut in that training was the Army in its infinite wisdom elected to do only sufficient instrument flight training to meet the requirements of what it called the "Tactical Instrument Rating"....only real difference being no ILS Approaches were taught thus no "Standard Instrument Rating" was issued.
entry with the rank of Private.
I'm so glad they didn't curtail your Diversity and Inclusion training. That must have been a great relief all round!

YS
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Old 14th Jan 2023, 13:04
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I do wonder, have they looked at the Civilian system of bonding pilots? Ie, you have to give back so many years of service to cover the training costs, a bond becoming payable if you leave early.
All Aircrew, Officer and SNCO, are bonded by a 6 year initial training return of service which starts on the first day of flying training and finishes 6 years after finishing your first OCU. It was the same many moons ago when I started on a short service commission, where you couldn’t leave until you had done 6 years on the front line post OCU. Then, if you do another OCU (the equivalent of an OCU) then it comes with another 3-5 year training return of service depending on type - Voyager and Lightning have 5 years for sure.

So that’s a long winded way of saying “yes”!
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Old 14th Jan 2023, 13:17
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Originally Posted by falcon900 View Post
Seriously? “ an interactive conceptual model to simulate outcomes for different interventions on the recruitment-training-deployment process ( not linked to source data) “ ??
Just how big an airforce do we think we have? How have we managed up to now? This sounds even worse than I had feared, and I am struggling to understand how you would differentiate it from “advising”. Even if you can differentiate it from advising, it is surely a distinction without a difference. We are paying to have someone tell us something we should and do already know. ( The old joke about the consultant borrowing your watch to tell you the time springs to mind…) Sounds like we have used consultants to write the brief for the consultants. We will be held hostage for ever!
How do you know it doesn’t link into STARs, JPA, TAFMIS, etc…? Also, how do you know what it actually does when the tool, to the best of my knowledge, hasn’t been rolled out for use? How many IT gurus do the 3 Services have laying around to run a project like this - to plan, develop, code, deliver and then support a software tool like the one proposed in the link?

I would offer that part of the problem is that for years we have used whiteboards, spreadsheets and magnetic tiles to plan stuff like this. Is it any wonder that all 3 Services end up going feast-famine-feast with their training pipelines if we continue to allow a bunch of mates huddled around a planning board/computer trying to cuff it? (I know how pants that is as I’ve been there).

I, for one, think that having an ‘end to end’ planning tool that looks at a through life pipeline of individuals - recruiting, basic training (Cranwell or Halton), flying training (and the various pipelines), the myriad of extra courses (SERE, RAFCAM, HF&CRM training, centrifuge, etc…), then OCU. But it doesn’t need to stop there either - what about all of the Phase 3 training - IODs, IMLC/AMLC, ASWS and MAA courses. Wouldn’t it be neat to have a singular planning resource for everyone to use and for everyone to see where they and what is coming up?

I would have loved to have had that instead of a whiteboard, some coloured pens and tiles and a bottle of meths! (Which, at times I felt like drinking!)
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