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Red Arrows - toxic culture

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Red Arrows - toxic culture

Old 3rd Nov 2023, 15:17
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Originally Posted by [email protected]
A short sighted vision of the RAF/RN future by ambitious senior officers - .
Isn't this true of every branch of the Forces, since Noah was a lad - Rinse / Repeat
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Old 3rd Nov 2023, 15:28
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Originally Posted by dctyke
The one man that doesn’t seem to come up in all the chat is the Squadron Warrant Officer. On the four front line squadrons I served on he was the man who directed what could, and what could not be deemed acceptable from the groundcrew and at times the junior officers. He was answerable only to the squadron boss who quite frequently would have known him previously as he himself climbed the aircrew ladder.
In Germany the Sqn boss, had a red and yellow card he used to carry with him, if one of his officers was getting a bit "rowdy" etc he was shown a yellow as a warning to calm it down and if it continued a red would mean in my office tomorrow hat off for a chat.
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Old 3rd Nov 2023, 15:33
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Originally Posted by [email protected]
We used to have an excellent way of representing the RAF (and the RN) in the military SAR Force but this was moved out of the military and into commercial aviation.

Most people recognised either the yellow RAF aircraft or the grey RN ones and knew that the crews were military and spent 98% of their time rescuing civilians from life and health threatening situations, some very high profile.

We were sacrificed on the altar of Defence spending cuts because we weren't a 'core-military capability' despite a constant presence in the Falklands and providing our paramedic winchmen to MERT crews in Afghanistan.

Now the commercial operator is running out of rearcrew because they can't poach them from the military, where they used to be excellently trained.

A short sighted vision of the RAF/RN future by ambitious senior officers - if they had defended the SAR Force even half as much as the Reds, military crews would still be training and delivering top drawer SAR.

Those military crews who moved to the contractor have ensured the high standards remained but it would have been so much better to have kept those skills and personnel in house.
RAF SAR effectively became, in all but uniform, a civilian force over time. Rotating rear crew through deployed non-SAR operational roles was too little too late. The RN were better at rotating crews through SAR to give them a break from front-line ops and then take those skills back with them. As for military SAR being an advert for the military, I met many of the public who couldn't distinguish between the Coastguard, RAF SAR and RN SAR. Mostly, they just saw a rescue helicopter. All they cared about is that some highly trained people were there to do the business come the day, not what badge they wore.

Those of us who migrated from SH to SAR in the latter days could see the writing on the wall long before it happened. The move across to a civilian service has been a success despite the naysayers. They will solve the rearcrew challenges, the commercial world is very good at that.

Military SAR is long gone, it's time to move on. I have a feeling the reds may be in their last throes too. Time will tell.
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Old 3rd Nov 2023, 16:02
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Originally Posted by melmothtw
They transitioned over the Hawk not long after it replaced the Gnat, most likely for that very reason.
Gap of something like 12-15 months at most, I think? Last Gnat withdrawn from an FTS in late 1978; RAFAT certainly had Hawks by May 1980, since that was when the Hawk/Yacht mast interface occurred at Brighton.
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Old 3rd Nov 2023, 20:26
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Funding more displays by a solo Typhoon and a solo F-35B - including at venues not necessarily air shows - would be much more inspirational than a repetitive display using a bunch of clapped out trainers that first entered service over 47 years ago!
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Old 3rd Nov 2023, 21:05
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Originally Posted by RAFEngO74to09
Funding more displays by a solo Typhoon and a solo F-35B - including at venues not necessarily air shows - would be much more inspirational than a repetitive display using a bunch of clapped out trainers that first entered service over 47 years ago!
I agree. There must be a fair number of interested folk in the UK who have never seen an F 35 ........... myself included. [OK I know we don't have many, but I suspect my taxes have payed for the odd engine blank or two].

Please.
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Old 3rd Nov 2023, 21:22
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While I'm sure that you're right, neither the F35 nor Ty Force have the capacity to absorb any extra tasking for display without an increase in resource (never going to happen) or a reduction in other tasking (never going to happen). The Ty display is great but comes out of OCU resource and the wider force is strapped so there's no easy way to draw in extra to support more. I would want my taxpayer cash going to get more Ty on ops rather than more air shows.

While closing the RAFAT may seem like a way to get more pilots / TG1 to the FL I suspect that the shop floor would see it as a removal of another good deal at a time where they're leaving faster than we can replace them and we lack the rewards structure to pay them appropriately....if only we could have bespoke pay scales for our pilots and TG1 as we do for dentists/doctors/nurses/padres/SF etc....or indeed have HR support/MT/C4I etc....
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Old 3rd Nov 2023, 21:34
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Originally Posted by RAFEngO74to09
Funding more displays by a solo Typhoon and a solo F-35B - including at venues not necessarily air shows - would be much more inspirational than a repetitive display using a bunch of clapped out trainers that first entered service over 47 years ago!
THIS!
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Old 3rd Nov 2023, 22:04
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Originally Posted by RAFEngO74to09
Funding more displays by a solo Typhoon and a solo F-35B - including at venues not necessarily air shows - would be much more inspirational than a repetitive display using a bunch of clapped out trainers that first entered service over 47 years ago!
Well! They could use the Reds budget to fund it, I would also like to see a proper A400 display, the times I have gone to the likes of Cosford to only see, either a no show or a single boring Flypast at height. Even a C17 or A300 would be nice too.
Considering Cosford is the only show the RAF does you would think they could show the tax payers the aircraft they have funded.
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Old 3rd Nov 2023, 22:55
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Originally Posted by stickstirrer
Why not put them back into service uniform and flying suits: ‘The RAF Arrows’ anyone?
But they would just look like any other members of the RAF then….and perhaps begin to behave in a more disciplined and less entitled manner.
Then you'd have to do the same to BBMF, who to the best of my knowledge, have not suffered the same issues? Why should they lose their identity for the actions of RAFAT personnel?

The difference is that one organisation is all about the mission and not about elitism. The other is all about a select group and absolutely all about elitism. Which one had the issues?
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Old 4th Nov 2023, 00:37
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Originally Posted by Jobza Guddun
Then you'd have to do the same to BBMF, who to the best of my knowledge, have not suffered the same issues? Why should they lose their identity for the actions of RAFAT personnel?

The difference is that one organisation is all about the mission and not about elitism. The other is all about a select group and absolutely all about elitism. Which one had the issues?
I disagree with your first point Jobza, but wholeheartedly agree with your second.

BBMF and RAFAT are fundamentally different in form and function.
BBMF aircrew (not just pilots) are taken from other Sqns and are volunteering their spare time to display their glorious old birds in flights of respect and remembrance. The aircrew generally have full time jobs on other RAF sqns. Having operated with quite a few of them (although I’ve never been anywhere near BBMF), I was often told how they wished they could be given a proper, full tour on BBMF like the Reds do.

However the way I see it now, it is to BBMF’s credit that the aircrew are not separated and cocooned from the wider RAF and allowed to foster an identity of elitism.

They wear green growbags during the week and black at the weekend. The stars of the show are the aircraft and what they represent, not the pilots.
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Old 4th Nov 2023, 09:07
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Is it not time for a reality check on both BBMF and RAFAT?
BBMF isn’t actually just about BB at all, and only partly commemorates important WW2 aircraft. I am all for a memorial flight, but why not get the name right or even contemplate including significant RAF aircraft more widely. There is a very active historic aircraft “scene” which could be harnessed to the task of presenting a meaningful historical perspective for current and future generations.
RAFAT is a more difficult argument to make in the current environment, but persisting with the reds in their current format seems wrong, and does the RAF a disservice in my view by duping the public as to the scale and wellbeing of the current service. Added to which I think we have all been somewhat numbed to the impact of the reds as a result of their displays essentially being “the same” to layman’s eyes for so long. I wouldn’t go very far out of my way to see the reds and don’t think I am alone. Loud fast jets on the other hand……
Intended as a supportive reality check rather than a criticism of anyone involved in the respective teams.
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Old 4th Nov 2023, 10:01
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Originally Posted by mmitch
Now the Hawk T1 is obsolete elsewhere, it's hard to justify the Reds as representing British industry.
A flypast over the Mall ending with a Typhoon formation once a year will remind the public what the RAF is now.
mmitch.
A single ship DH-82A would then be more appropriate, surely?

Placing the team on a pedestal is asking for normalisation of deviation. In many airforces, the demonstration team is operational and do additional demo duties. That may not be ideal, but placing the crew in a position of privilege is asking for consequences.

The other top tier teams have less bad PR, but it is not certain they also don't have issues underneath.
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Old 4th Nov 2023, 11:46
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Bin BBMF?

My apologies for any egg sucking. The flight is named for the RAFs most famous air battle and was originally only equipped with fighters that represent some of the types that fought in the Battle (Hurricane, Spitfire, we can quibble on Marks). The bomber was a later addition and represents the huge losses (55,573, a 44.4% death rate) faced by bomber command aircrew.
The Dakota replaced the Dove/Devon for multi engined training and then she became a display item in her own right and not only represents the RAFs cargo, troop and aeromed operation, but is also a visible symbol of the UKs airborne forces.
Chipmunks? Tail dragger training tools. Yes, the name could change to more acurately reflect the current aircraft mix, just 'memorial flight' might be better, but BBMF is fine imho. The inclusion of civilian 'warbirds' has been done, and BBMF aircraft have flown many times in mixed formations (Duxford, RIAT, Waddington), however the recent inclusion of a Typhoon and Spitfire/F-35 and Lancaster display not only 'steps things up' but also display the vast change in the RAFs combat airpower.

Behaviour was mentioned, I don't know about RAFAT, but for BBMF I would put this down to the veterans who visit the flight (or the flight visting them) both at home and at various events in the UK and abroad. A few minutes in their presence is more than enough to check the ego at the door and to remain level headed/sensible.

All gave some, some gave all. Lest we forget.
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Old 4th Nov 2023, 11:53
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Originally Posted by dctyke
The one man that doesn’t seem to come up in all the chat is the Squadron Warrant Officer. On the four front line squadrons I served on he was the man who directed what could, and what could not be deemed acceptable from the groundcrew and at times the junior officers. He was answerable only to the squadron boss who quite frequently would have known him previously as he himself climbed the aircrew ladder.
I know the WO who was there for at least part of the time in question and he is an outstanding bloke.

He wasn't the one "they" (reds management) wanted at interview but manning gave him the job. He tried to intervene in many issues (both engineering and unacceptable behaviour) but was never supported by the Sqn Execs. It got so bad he PVR'd and left the service over what was going on and still has an effect on him to this day.
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Old 4th Nov 2023, 12:13
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Someone raised the point around T1 - delete in 2029, replace with T2 and allow the flying training system to operate a jet that has a) high availability and b) representative of 5th Gen trg needs.
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Old 4th Nov 2023, 13:55
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In the same way that "Red Arrows" is just a nickname for the properly-styled Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, so "Battle of Britain Memorial Flight" is also a misnomer; its actual title is just "Royal Air Force Memorial Flight" (check out the Unit's emblem).

I'd agree with most of the sentiments expressed here regarding the apparent relevance of the Red Arrows. The problem with our collective viewpoint however is that, as most of the posters here comprise Roger Bacon's Total Aviation Persons, we are probably the least representative panel to discern its perception by the person on the Clapham omnibus.

The Reds do at least serve a useful purpose for all attendees at air shows; as a finale, they ensure that Joe Public is obliged to sit through the boring Chinook, Typhoon and F-35 displays in order to enjoy the pretty smoke at the end. And whilst they stand transfixed, the rest of us can make a sharp dash for the exits.

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Old 4th Nov 2023, 14:25
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According to the RAF website the Red Arrows “…is the public face of the service. They assist in recruiting to the Armed Forces, act as ambassadors for the United Kingdom at home and overseas and promote the best of British.”

In contrast - Predatory sexual behaviour, a toxic ego culture and misplaced elitism in the modern world. That is what the Reds now signifies to me whatever is done to try and rehabilitate them in the public eye. They are pretty when they zoom past Buckingham Palace but so is a Typhoon or Spitfire. And that’s before we even get into the cost, the decline of airshows, and the modern day relevance of an ancient jet showcasing 21st Century Industry and Air Force. They have had their day. Time for them to go.

I’d personally build a future model around a single organisation centred on BBMF linking heritage to future. Add a few heritage jets. The current types can still be managed within their respective structures.
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Old 4th Nov 2023, 15:15
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Half page article re all this in todays THE TIMES (page 15)
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Old 4th Nov 2023, 15:45
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Originally Posted by Archimedes
Gap of something like 12-15 months at most, I think? Last Gnat withdrawn from an FTS in late 1978; RAFAT certainly had Hawks by May 1980, since that was when the Hawk/Yacht mast interface occurred at Brighton.
Reds changed over to Hawk in late '79, right after last displays on Gnat at end of '79 season, so pretty much just the 12 months after Gnat was retired from FTS.
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