Still in development, but planning certification to CS-23 aerobatic category. Ballistic recovery system eliminates the need for individual parachutes. Endurance will be the key but hopefully they can achieve a 50 minute GH sortie with 30 minute reserve. The batteries can then be swapped for a freshly charged set.
The issue I foresee with this is them wanting an aircraft capable of performing both EFT and AEF duties. I suspect the sortie time would not be sufficient for EFT duties, and therefore may write this a/c out of the equation?
The EFT and AEF mix hasn’t been a good combination since 1996/7 when the Chippie was removed and we always play 8th fiddle to EFT’s lead fiddle. I do not recall any of the problems that we seem to have with delivery of AEF until that point.
In the modern Corps restrictions for AEF based on age/ weight / height are BS and the right kit should be purchased so that Yr 8s who join in Sep/Oct/Nov and maybe later are OK to fly in the summer. Last year there was a number of younger cadets who went to camp, couldn’t fly just down to age and apparently a few annoyed parents gave their OCs a chewing.
The Prefect will never be used for the AEF task. The capital and operating costs of an aircraft like the efusion (or the piston engine fusion 212) would be a tiny fraction of the Prefect.
When I was a cadet the AEF was just for air experience with no formal training role, whilst the UAS followed the EFT syllabus.
Now the AEF are expected to deliver limited formal training (effects of controls, straight and level, medium turns) for blue and bronze wings as well as ACAEFS and ACPNTS. The UAS no longer follow the EFT syllabus and their flying task is more aligned with the AEF than it use to be.
This argues for a common type and progressive syllabus optimised for the AEF and UAS role. For those AEF pilots who are not already QFIs we could have a progressive instructional “career path” similar to the VGS, i.e. all would be qualified to deliver the blue and bronze wings training. Some would be qualified to deliver flying training up to first solo, some would be qualified to deliver ACPNTS and some would progress to full RAF QFI status.
We could then eliminate the civilian ACPS and have the AEFs offer flying scholarships up to first solo (minimum age 17). The UAS cadets would have a similar offer, so those who complete an AEF flying scholarship and subsequently join a UAS could progress further without having to duplicate their ab initio training.
From someone who flies Fixed Wing Microlights (IKarus C42) I have often wondered whether this type of aircraft could be used for future AEF.
While I appreciate that there are differences within the cockpit compared to a Grob, i.e. the cockpit is very basic, the idea of the AEF and cadets going flying is to give them some experience in the air and having a go with the controls.
Fixed Wing Microlights give you an experience of flying in its most basic form, and these days the performance of these aircraft are staggeringly good. I have flown many different aircraft over the years and the Ikarus is my favourtie by far. Not to mention that they are much cheaper to maintain and purchase so surely this could be an option for the future?! Though maybe there is a reason why this couldn’t or wouldn’t be an option.
If the AEFs operated more on the lines of the VGS with low operating cost aircraft and volunteer ground staff I think there is no reason they should be much more costly than a civilian flying school. The VGS have costs associated with staff continuation training flights and instructor standardisation, but that is part of the quality assurance process. VGS and AEF pilots are volunteers whereas I presume the Tayside instructors have to be paid.
It would be better to have say a string of dedicated AEF that deliver AEF and FS and have as Incubus suggests a non military flying set up and the military concentrate on proper military not faux military like us.
The cadets could then get proper continuation training and would go to that AEF for their FS and do away with the computer game aspect that’s crept in as a cheap option.
There are many small airfields all over the UK and I am sure that suitably located ones could be found that would better service the Corps than the AEFs on military establishments do currently. This would also remove the spectre of the MoD’s selling off estate / change of use that has sodded up cadet flying and gliding over the years.
Since the infernal fiddling of the military in shooting it has declined as an activity and since flying and gliding have moved more into the military fold they have declined or effectively disappeared, as “we” aren’t important, regardless of the spin emanating from ivory towers. They’re like those pesky meddling kids in Scooby Doo, but they don’t have a scooby.
I agree with Teflon. AEF at civilian airfields could still be run by uniformed CFAV instructors just as the VGS are. They would need civilian licences with FI(A) and be standardised by CFS as the flying scholarship instructors were. The AEF organisation would need ATO approval from the CAA.
There is the issue with AEF needing to operate under Traffic Service from a radar equipped airfield, but that does not apply to the VGS and with FLARM, ADS-B etc I think the collision risk can be adequately mitigated without a radar Traffic Service (and there’s BRS as a last resort).
UAS flying could come under the same system with mostly volunteer instructors. When I was with ULAS we went to Abingdon for flying and thought it was a long way to drive from London. Today’s ULAS students have to go all the way to Wittering. I am sure they would be happier flying from one of the London GA airfields.
The equipment fit and maintenance upkeep of the Tutor fleet is leagues ahead of anything equivalent in your average civilian school.
Running a flying training organisation to any decent standard and decent levels of output with volunteers is totally unsustainable.
The ground crew and survival equipment support to an AEF operation is world leading.
The whole point of an AEF is to give cadets a safe and enjoyable exposure to military flying and ethos; things like the survival equipment, aerobatics, a military airfield, military pilots etc are all key parts of that. UAS the same to a more developed level.
The standardisation of procedures and supervision across the organisation is way better than most civilian clubs.
A Traffic Service is still vital - the amount of non transponding traffic is still significant in most areas
Mmmm, not really. Although the UAS syllabus is detached from the (Tutor) EFT syllabus in terms of structure, it still contains all the same lessons (just not necessarily in the right order, as a famous comedian on a piano once said).
The progressive instructional “career path” for AEF pilots to become QFIs is a bit tricky too. Most AEF pilots do it to bring a bit of relief from everyday jobs and many are QFIs already. The resources required to train a pilot to QFI, or even the newer “QUI” qualification (introduced because there weren’t the resources to produce “full” QFIs for the UAS system) would absorb too many resources. To even give a basic instructional qualification would take approximately 10x the flying task of producing an AEF pilot (~40-50hrs vice 5-6hrs convex).
There are many small airfields all over the UK and I am sure that suitably located ones could be found that would better service the Corps than the AEFs on military establishments do currently.[/quote]
There are many small airfields which also have crash cover far below the minimum that the MoD would ever routinely accept for AEF, UAS or even EFT flying.
There is the issue with AEF needing to operate under Traffic Service from a radar equipped airfield, but that does not apply to the VGS and with FLARM, ADS-B etc I think the collision risk can be adequately mitigated without a radar Traffic Service (and there’s BRS as a last resort).[/quote]
The Tutor may have TAS, FLARM etc but they are not cast iron in preventing a collision. A Traffic Service provided by a well trained ATCO will offer you some hope, particularly against non transponding or FLARM equipped gliders and traffic. It is very unlikely this will even change for powered flying. The Basic Service is very rarely used for any military flying.
Finally, BRS doesn’t save you if your aeroplane has just split into two or more pieces. Or the collision has knocked one or more of the occupants unconcious or rendered them incapable. Also, unless you buy a BRS equipped aircraft “off the shelf” (are there many available?) then the options to retrofit would be a) very expensive and b) mean that although you could take a micro cadet (yay!) you’d probably stuggle to take any cadet of above average size over the age of 16 due to the weight increase!
Anyway, what’ll actually happen is that sometime in the next 10-15 years, the Tutor will be replaced with something cheaper, lighter, non aerobatic and a bit less fun.
That’s why I think the Magnus Fusion (either piston or electric version) has potential. The piston version has BRS as standard, is aerobatic (+6 -3 g), payload 235 kg with full fuel. Engine is 107 hp (with inverted oil system) so direct operating costs in the same ball park as an Ikarus C42. Canopy head space might perhaps be an issue for taller pilots wearing a helmet.
Possibly. I’ll have to have a look. Immediate thoughts is that it might need an engine and whether it would be robust enough for AEF type ops. It’s not horrendously dissimilar to an aircraft that was suggested 3 or 4 years ago for a future UAS/AEF platform. At the moment though the Tutor’s still got bags of life left!