Flying suit servicing

Continuing the discussion from Flight Staff Cadets and the routine wearing of Flying Clothing:

I just wanted to check: in my couple of decades of service, have I meant to be getting my flying suits (that I wear on a daily basis) serviced?:wink::slightly_smiling_face:

Squipper’s usually do a visual check before you go flying but not every time.

I would imagine that pilots are deemed grown up enough to notice an issue and raise it with the Squipper’s for repair or replacement.

Grown ups or not, they aren’t above the HSE.

Dependant on the material and the fire proofing, they may well need a PPE logbook and be logged for repairs and washing.

But again, RAF pilots are different to mini biggles cutting about the mess think they are “ally”.

It won’t be long before the UAV pilots start wearing their campaign ribbons on their flying suits, despite not having set foot in theatre.

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Where’s this mess where all these mini biggles are cutting about?

Do you live in this mess?

Not anymore.

Flight suits aren’t regularly serviced in the way that helmets are. Despite affecting the fire protectiveness we still wash and iron them which makes no sense in my opinion. I expect that for glider pilots common sense should prevail and worn or damaged suits are replaced as required, in the same way we do.


I recall being told a few years ago at a Vigilant VGS that the local squippers were quite stringent in their control of flying equipment, but I have no direct experience of it.

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Not my experience. Prior to the pause, many VGS had to beg/borrow/steal survival equipment servicing.

AEFs have squippers on site. Part of the Babcock contract.

This was on an active RAF airfield so that probably bled over onto VGS ops.

My last VGS was on an active RAF airfield, but there was no arrangement for safety equipment servicing.
Some VGS never had an arrangement in place.
I’m not sure if there are contracts in place now, but hopefully there are?
Maybe somebody still active at a VGS can comment?

There is nothing concrete in place at the moment, but 2FTS are in discussions with Babcocks to explore the possibilities of utilising their services. The challenge of course is contractual. Babcocks are, quite rightly, reluctant to accept any more work which has not been officially contracted.

In an ideal world, yes, we should have our flying clothing serviced, but for flying suits specifically, this just isn’t practical. So a common sense approach is exercised. Items like parachutes and life vest must be serviced before use, documented and returned to the squippers when the service tag expires.

Aircrew cutters will most likely be the only task for Babcocks, if the contract is a agreed. All the new FACS flying suits are not coming supplied with the cutter pouch fitted to the leg. So there will be a need for all clothing to be sent for this item to be fitted - apparently my Granny doesn’t have the appropriate qualification, so her sewing machine will need to back in the cupboard.

FACS is a good product however, the Velcro comes already fitted and iirc you can’t add any especially to the new jackets.

Also the suits come left or right handed. Right handers have the pen pocket on the left arm and vice versa.

Genuine questions for the VGS types: why do you need a flying suit in a Viking?

We used to send cadets flying even in Vigilant in general purpose coveralls - the wearing of flying clothing only came in ?10 years ago.

Military aircraft. Therefore compliance with MAA
Don’t know, but that’s probably reinforced in the Viking TGO’s?

So, one size fits all risk assessment, I guess, for simplicity.

RA’s = Regulatory Articles.

If you can’t sleep, go onto the MAA website and read a few!

Flying kit is classed as survival equipment, it is mandated with the MAA Regulatory Articles (RAs). The 2FTS or any subordinate rules can not be any less restrictive (only more). Hence the wearing of flying kit. It is classed as the PPE for all airfield activities.

It is supplied, maintained and returned through the regular RAF survival equipment system and does not cost the RAFAC any additional (it is a scaled entitlement). It is supported by the VGS’ parent station. Unlike previously, the VGS’ have to go through this route and very few can order directly hence the additional control of flying equipment.

Flying clothing, on initial issue is serviced by a survival equipment fitter, its serviceability is then based “on condition” (I,e the aircrew will report if they suspect there is an issue with it), the squipper will then repair, replace or advise its continued use.

So, the only stumbling block for VGS staff (including staff cadets) is getting their flying suits serviced if required.

Funnily enough, this is how it was when I was part of a VGS. Nothing’s changed.

A lot of it will be parent station dependant, for my VGS they will bend over backwards and have even come out at a weekend to get us measured up and fitted. The support post-pause seems to be much better, although that may be as there are a dwindling amount of flying units across the RAF!