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-   -   Ageing air transport aircraft.... (https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/362741-ageing-air-transport-aircraft.html)

BEagle 18th Feb 2009 13:19

Ageing air transport aircraft....
From the Witney Gazette:

Troops stuck at Brize
9:28am Wednesday 18th February 2009

By Matt Wilkinson

Hundreds of troops are stuck at an airbase in Oxfordshire following “technical malfunctions” on two RAF planes.

Soldiers and Marines heading out to Helmand Province, in Afghanistan, on board a Tristar troop carrier returned to base at RAF Brize Norton twice yesterday, only hours into their flight.

Hundreds more hoping for a return trip are stuck in Kandahar in Afghanistan because of an aircraft fault.

Investigations into both Tristar plans have begun and Press Association is reporting up to 1,000 troops may be affected.

Flt Lt ( ), duty air movements officer at Brize Norton, said: “The aircraft suffered a technical malfunction that is under investigation.

“An aircraft going out and returning on this schedule is very unusual."

“We do problems but generally speaking the air bridge is a success.”

He said the Tristar grounded at Kandahar was also being investigated for a fault but was available for “tasking”.

It is believed a flights are due to restart later today.

The Ministry of Defence was unavailable to comment

“An aircraft going out and returning on this schedule is very unusual." Did he really mean to say that nowadays it is 'very unusual' for RAF AT aircraft to depart or arrive on schedule? Because that's how it reads.....:uhoh:

Good luck to the aircrews and groundcrews keeping these aged jets flying - I'm sure you're doing the best you can with the resource available and I just hope that the passengers realise that.

gijoe 18th Feb 2009 13:49

Ditto BEagle.

As a regular commuter over the last 2 years it has become more and more evident that the jets are past their 'best before', let alone 'use before', date. The crews do a very good job given the tools.

If the government follows Obama's lead and up the no of players what is the plan?


microlight AV8R 18th Feb 2009 16:34

Six BA 757s available very soon. Lease them for troping and keep AAR Tristars for AAR only. Non AAR Tristars for spares, retire VC-10.

Buy more C130J and don't fart about trying to resurrect the older C130s.

When A400M comes along, adapt some C130Js as tankers, retire Tristar.

In the meantime, ask allies to help with AAR when we have shortfall. Likewise for heavy lift.

If they don't want to help, that defines our limitations and we should not deploy toops in hot places beyond that point of capability.

Oh yes, cancel that stupid PFI AAR/AT nonsense.

Summarise: Cut suit according to cloth. The purse is empty.

Data-Lynx 18th Feb 2009 16:56

Local Radio
BBC Oxford local radio reported this afternoon that the two returns to BZZ were particulalry unfortunate because this outbound T* had onboard the spare for the bird in theatre.

gar170 18th Feb 2009 17:01


Good luck to the aircrews and groundcrews keeping these aged jets flying - I'm sure you're doing the best you can with the resource available and I just hope that the passengers realise that.
And good luck to the Movers who have to face the ones that don't.Some might think that we have a modern Airforce.

hello1 18th Feb 2009 19:31

cancel that stupid PFI AAR/AT nonsense
Pity about the little matter of the contract with Air Tanker!:ok:

brit bus driver 18th Feb 2009 19:40

Sadly BA needs good hard cash, not an IOU from the one-eyed idiot from north of the border. I think they already have a home for the 757s.

What is needed is a reliable interim solution, ideally with an Airbus or three on which the crews can cut their teethe prior to FSTA. I assume that UK plc is now legally bound by the PFI? If not, can it and buy the hardware.

Any interim solution has to be cheaper than keeping the VC10 in the air for the next 5 years.

collbar 18th Feb 2009 20:34

The RAF should stop cocking about with the T* and use the Charter/C-17 option.

Redcarpet 18th Feb 2009 20:43


How many C-17s to transport 250 pax and how many charter Jets have DASS ? Simple fact is that the AT fleet and Brit Mil in general are under resourced, under funded and under manned.

brit bus driver 18th Feb 2009 20:52

But the C-17s are working their t!ts off as it is, without picking up the pax loads as well. There's no easy/cheap answer but the decision makers in their ivory towers need to pull their finger out sharpish. FSTA was being 'planned' over 10 years ago and it's still 5 years away. C17 was what, 12 (18?) months flash to bang? Dry lease some Airbus now, train the crews (plenty of spare sim time out there at the moment, plus a bit of Airbus experience who may have a little spare time on their hands?), stick the T*s in Akronelli and run a hub & spoke.

Pay for it with the money saved by retiring the VC10, with the Tri* and A.N.Other solution picking up the towlines. AAR shortfall? Who cares in the short term.


brit bus driver 18th Feb 2009 21:30

Just watching this on the local news. Once again, it's not the 'ageing TriStar' that's failed, but the DAS - again! Another well thought out UOR....support, what support.

rolandpull 19th Feb 2009 06:20

I hear the standard answer to how long left in theater is ' xx days and a Tristar' The Tristar being the variable.

Seems to me part of the burden is the R&R bridge back to blighty. What might be useful is a Pontin's/beach in Oman that is Herkable. Maybe......

Pete268 19th Feb 2009 07:26

As someone who was serving when the 'new' Tri* entered service way back in the 1980's, I had a very pleasant flight home as an indulgee on one, still resplendent in BA colours with a BA crew. Unfortunately I later had to be aeromedded back to the UK on one, by then in shiny RAF colours (there was a surprising amount of leg room on a stretcher). Hence, twenty something years later I am somewhat surprised to find these aircraft are still flying with the RAF.

I, even then, remember that the VC10 was regarded as 'old' and am even more surprised to find they are still in use. It wouldn't be a surprise to find we still have the Belfast in service at this rate.

Anyway, if it is not a military secret, how many of the nine Tri* have we still left in service?. Any how many VC10's still fly the pax backwards to their destinations?.

I really do feel sorry for those still serving in that they have to rely on what are now surely museum pieces, in order to travel to/from operational theatres. I feel a letter to my MP will shortly be dispatched (again).


SirToppamHat 19th Feb 2009 08:50

Extracts from an item in the current issue of Private Eye (1230 dated 2 Feb-5 Mar 2009):

Transport of no delight

The pisspoor state of the RAF's air transport aircraft has long been a major complaint for service personnel deployed on ops...

...the ancient Tristars of 216 Squadron are grounded so often they have been nicknamed the "Brize Norton Static Display Team" by irate squaddies.

...return flights...regularly delayed by 36-48 hours...those coming back to the UK for some precious leave often find that 25 percent of their time off is spent on the ground at airports.


BEagle 19th Feb 2009 11:00

How we chortled when the civil serpent talking about FSTA announced "This programme will NOT slip to the right!"

That was sometime last century.

Not long after the time we were told that 'FLA' (which became A400M) was to have an in-service date of 2004....and that the RAF would replace all TriStars and VC10s with '25-30 Multi-role tanker transports'. At a rate of around 4 a/c per year with a 50% fleet achieved in around 2007-8.....

I think there's an old Comet which still runs up at Bruntingthorpe - perhaps that could be refurbished?

There are around 8 A310-300s for sale around the world. Someone should take a serious look at them as interim tanker-transports, now that A400M has been delayed until heaven knows when......

Doctor Cruces 19th Feb 2009 11:25

We're broke, Beags, and the relatively invisible spend on keeping old crocks flying is more politically acceptable to Broon and his ilk (and predecessors)than an announcement in the press that we've spent millions on buying new aeroplanes instead of sticking it in the pockets of the great unwashed (and bankers). Won't buy as many votes either.


Doc C

Miles Magister 19th Feb 2009 11:28

There are a few more old comets up at Kinloss that desparately need refurbishing.

Biggles225 19th Feb 2009 11:31

My God Beags, don't you realise that to buy the A310s would take actual folding money? The b :mad: s lent it all to the banks and can't even borrow it back!
I can remember when the mighty moonship was queen of the skies, never mind the T*!!

Roadster280 19th Feb 2009 12:18

It's often quoted that to keep the VC10s in the air is MASSIVELY expensive.

What exactly (if not classified) is the source of this? Of course there's direct (such as fuel) and indirect (crew training & pay etc) costs.

I know the engines are old and thirsty, but how much more fuel efficient is an A330 vs the same lift in a VC10? Say moving 650 men 4000 miles.

Are the spares having to be specially manufactured? Tyres? I can't imagine RR have 50 x Conways in the stores, so I'm thinking they have to be rebuilt, but is that much more expensive than rebuilding a Trent? Much more frequent?

I'm not advocating keeping the 10s, just trying to understand what the costs (comparatively) are.

brit bus driver 19th Feb 2009 13:58

Using Calgary as a representative destination (3760nm):

You need (conservatively) 6 x VC10 to move 650 troops; 2 x A330s would do it (with room to spare).

The VC10 would needs to do it in 2 legs.

Thus, 12 x VC10 cycles vs 4 x A330 cycles. There is a cost associated with that.

Fuel costs. VC10 circa 7 tonnes an hour; A330 about 6 tonnes an hour.

So, 2 x A330 @ 6 tonnes/hour, times 8 hrs (3760nm @ M0.80 still air) = 96 tonnes.

6 x VC10 @ 7 tonnes/hour x 9 hrs (extra time to go via Goose) = 378 tonnes.

At today's fuel prices
http://www.iata.org/whatwedo/economics/fuel_monitor/index.htm that works out at just over $40,000 for the 330 solution and just shy of $165,000 for the VC10.

This is without factoring in the HOTAC for the delayed pax, spares provision, additional T&S for the multitude of crew etc etc.

It is a no-brainer.:ugh:

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