Gliding "paused"


#1

And off the bus again. All ACO gliding “paused” until after the Easter weekend! :mad:


#2

A UTI is needed on the propeller hub assembly, should be completed within 7 days


#3

If only that were it. With the viking having no propeller it isn’t.

Lucky it isn’t the middle of the easter GS season…oh wait.


#4

I’m sure there is a good reason, it hasn’t been done to mess people around for no reason!


#5

It would always be beneficial to know the reason and the resolution timescale though


#6

I am starting to lean towards the growing body of opinion that we are wasting our money providing VGS & AEF. Would we not be better contracting an outside supplier? That way at least when they fail to provide they don’t get paid for.


#7

Ok its understandable to be annoyed if flying/gliding is cancelled the weekend you have a slot but would you rather fly in unsafe aircraft?? no you wouldn’t. It’s be like fire rifles without an qualified RCO about, you wouldnt would you so why complain when their isnt serviceable aircraft.
The engineers are contracted to fix the aircraft but there was a shortage of them this week which was unfortunate but again whats the difference between this and an NCO coming down with flu and so you cant run a range that weekend?

And if we contract out flying to civvi clubs you wouldnt get the same experience as VGS and AEFs are mainly run by Ex -cadets wanting to give something back and so put more energy into. If civvis did it you’d get a boring, repetitive service that many would find not good value for money/


#8

Depends if the Corps wants the same level of service, to contract just the GS out is going to cost around the £2M mark, more if it were to maintain the mix of motorglider and conventional.

It would appear at the moment the problems of no one wanting to take responsibility for investing in the infrastructure and back ground activities are coming home to roost and that is where most of the failings sit. most of the VGS are maybe hit and miss depending on the time of the year and which way the wind is blowing, fix the infrastructure mostly accommodation issues and service level agreements with stations and they would increase their output 50-100% and become much better value for money.


#9

[quote=“Tricky” post=17496]Ok its understandable to be annoyed if flying/gliding is cancelled the weekend you have a slot but would you rather fly in unsafe aircraft?? no you wouldn’t. It’s be like fire rifles without an qualified RCO about, you wouldnt would you so why complain when their isnt serviceable aircraft.
The engineers are contracted to fix the aircraft but there was a shortage of them this week which was unfortunate but again whats the difference between this and an NCO coming down with flu and so you cant run a range that weekend?

And if we contract out flying to civvi clubs you wouldnt get the same experience as VGS and AEFs are mainly run by Ex -cadets wanting to give something back and so put more energy into. If civvis did it you’d get a boring, repetitive service that many would find not good value for money/[/quote]

I’d quite happily fly the Viking or any Vigi (that’s had its hub looked at)they aren’t unservicable


#10

[quote=“Tricky” post=17496]Ok its understandable to be annoyed if flying/gliding is cancelled the weekend you have a slot but would you rather fly in unsafe aircraft?? no you wouldn’t. It’s be like fire rifles without an qualified RCO about, you wouldnt would you so why complain when their isnt serviceable aircraft.
The engineers are contracted to fix the aircraft but there was a shortage of them this week which was unfortunate but again whats the difference between this and an NCO coming down with flu and so you cant run a range that weekend?

And if we contract out flying to civvi clubs you wouldnt get the same experience as VGS and AEFs are mainly run by Ex -cadets wanting to give something back and so put more energy into. If civvis did it you’d get a boring, repetitive service that many would find not good value for money/[/quote]

In the past 2 and a half year of the flying/gliding details we’ve been allocated 1 in 3 has taken place. That doesn’t include when you get there and the weather is rubbish. That is details cancelled in advance due to, lack of aircraft, lack of pilots, unserviceable/waterlogged airfields. Despite putting 6 candidates forward with medicalised etc we haven’t had a single GS allocation as the VGS’s aren’t getting enough cadets through. I haven’t cancelled a single other activity from Shooting through Adventure Training.

Civvi Flying Clubs are staffed by Flying Instructors, they might not be ex-cadets but in my experience they are passionate about flying. If you contracted it properly and set them a national syllabus there is no reason it would be boring. We already contract out our Flying Scholarships and I don’t hear anyone who has had one complaining about that!


#11

The things you mention there are pretty much to do with noone taking responsibility for sorting the background infrastructure for years. If noone had maintained ranges for years you’d be cancelling shooting and adventure training if going to a centre where the roof hadn’t been fixed for years.

Waterlogged airfields - noone invested in the sla to sort it out.
Lack of staff - no accommodation block so staff don’t give up as much time.
lack of aircraft - grp bay not up and running for years so lots of aircraft in the repair queue.

With it all coming back under one roof it might get sorted but it will take a fair amount of time to do.


#12

I’m not convinced that we are providing it!


#13

[quote=“tingger” post=17502]The things you mention there are pretty much to do with noone taking responsibility for sorting the background infrastructure for years. If noone had maintained ranges for years you’d be cancelling shooting and adventure training if going to a centre where the roof hadn’t been fixed for years.

Waterlogged airfields - noone invested in the sla to sort it out.
Lack of staff - no accommodation block so staff don’t give up as much time.
lack of aircraft - grp bay not up and running for years so lots of aircraft in the repair queue.

With it all coming back under one roof it might get sorted but it will take a fair amount of time to do.[/quote]

With that in mind surely a serious look needs to be taken at how much money and how long it will take to fix. Then they need to look at alternatives and whether they will be quicker and or cheaper and a decision taken as to what’s the best solution for the cadets and with consultations from the coal face.

We are forever being told by the chain of command that the average cadet lifespan nationally is 18 months, when you only get 6 AEF/VGS details in that time frame is it any wonder that cadets aren’t hanging about?


#14

Not necessarily the case; these days, it is a hard-nosed commercial basis through & through, with less of the “passionate” pilots. A lot are doing instructing as a stepping stone to hours building (as they spent £££ to get a "frozen CPL) on the way to a better job.

You also have to consider the links between RAF/cadets/VGS/AEF. Some are very back & white, such as a lot of AEF pilots are volunteers = little or salary to be paid. Other links are a bit more tenuous, such as having the relevant AEF/VGS operating on a military base rather than a civilian airport = additional exposure to the RAF. What about the numbers game - would a civilian flying club be able to have 6-8 aircraft available all day (on a regular basis) for cadet activities? I doubt it very much, as even with a contract, the staff/infra-structure/maintenance requirement would be quite unwieldy.

Oh for the good old days when an AEF would potter down to summer camp & operate locally for a couple of days!

Showing my age, cadet gliding was always winch-launched, none of these hybrid beasties with a whirly thing on the front! Would it it better to move towards “proper” gliders only? Much less maintenance & associated costs - but on the down side, perhaps less airborne time than in a Vigilant? For a typical winch-launched glider, you might get 4 launches/landings in the time that a Vigilante would be airborne for 30 mins? However, that’s 4 take-offs/landing for a cadet to have a go at (if suitable!). Then make advanced gliding towed for greater duration.


#15

I’m not convinced that we are providing it![/quote]

35816 conventional launches (£250,000 worth + club fees + accommodation) and 14051:30 SLMG Hrs (£1,110,000 worth + club fees + accommodation) someone is certainly being provided it. :?


#16

I’m not convinced that we are providing it![/quote]

35816 conventional launches (£250,000 worth + club fees + accommodation) and 14051:30 SLMG Hrs (£1,110,000 worth + club fees + accommodation) someone is certainly being provided it. :?[/quote]

36000 (rounded up launches), so less than 1 launch per cadet in the whole of the ACO.

Most AEG will give you 4-6 launches, so we’re basically flying about 1/5 of the ACO every year… (in other words it’ll take 5 years to do the whole lot).

And then take into Gliding Scholarships eating into this, with cadets getting much more than 4-6 launches and the figure drops.

It isn’t the VGS that’s at fault, its the funding of gliding - we need more aircraft/glider pilots/VGSs…


#17

Absent any further word from upon high, my best estimate is that this is a procedural snag, rather than a technical one: the reason being that the Viking and Vigilant are very different platforms and you’d be hard pressed to think of any fault that might be common to both types. The possible size of the snag is what has me truly troubled. Remember that air cadet gliding has been the ginger stepchild of 1 EFTS and 3 FTS who, quite frankly, were never really quite sure what to do with 27 squadrons of volunteers who only ever received the bare minimum of support. 2 FTS was formed with the express aim of changing that and it’s still getting its ducks in a row. OC 2 FTS (the Delivery Duty Holder) now knows that he could face jail time if something goes drastically wrong, and is probably rather eager to make sure everything is done to RAF and, more importantly, MAA standards so he wouldn’t be left without a chair if the music stopped.

As for the idea that Air Cadet flying and gliding can be passed out to contractors, it’s ludicrous. For one thing, it’d cost too much. VGS and AEF pilots and instructors cost motor mileage and the cost of feeding them. Also, as I’ve said before, the scale of the operation is staggering and there is nothing, repeat nothing, in this country that can even think of matching it. The aircraft are well maintained (some say over-maintained) the standards are strict and oversight is heavy. Go to your local airfield and see the state of most club aircraft- then listen to them as they sound like cement mixers starting up. It’s no exaggeration to say that I’d rather walk than fly in most of them. If you want competent instructors to fly with them, you’re going to have to pay them. Most PPLs don’t go through another flying test after they gain their licenses, and I dare say the ones willing to jump through the myriad of hoops that the RAF would make them go through are already with us in the system because “free” flying.

As for going to an all-conventional fleet… where are you going to base the squadrons? If you go to Syerston you’ll see that they’re packed to the rafters with spare Vikings. Squadrons like 626 in Predannack used to have an establishment of 2 aircraft. I now believe they have 5- and that has nothing to do with any ATC recruitment explosion in Devon and Cornwall. Greenfield sites are hard to come by these days. You’ll have to pay for maintenance of the ground too. Sharing airfields with powered aircraft is now pretty much out of the question. My VGS traded Vikings for Vigilants over a decade ago because it was pointed out, quite rightly, that teaching 16yr olds to fly solo on an opposing circuit to powered aircraft before flying parallel approaches with only 5-10m lateral separation, while certainly character building, was just ever so slightly mental.


#18

I’m not convinced that we are providing it![/quote]

35816 conventional launches (£250,000 worth + club fees + accommodation) and 14051:30 SLMG Hrs (£1,110,000 worth + club fees + accommodation) someone is certainly being provided it. :?[/quote]

36000 (rounded up launches), so less than 1 launch per cadet in the whole of the ACO.

Most AEG will give you 4-6 launches, so we’re basically flying about 1/5 of the ACO every year… (in other words it’ll take 5 years to do the whole lot).

And then take into Gliding Scholarships eating into this, with cadets getting much more than 4-6 launches and the figure drops.

It isn’t the VGS that’s at fault, its the funding of gliding - we need more aircraft/glider pilots/VGSs…[/quote]

For the 7 remainng conventional VGS that does average around 5000 launches each not too shabby, so add in the :40min vigi trip each year per cadet its not going to take 5 years to get every cadet flown.

As I was trying to allude to if they have the infrastructure in place and the support so its not the VGS staff constantly chasing up rooms, kit being fixed on time and access to facilities the productivity would increase by a sizeable percentage.


#19

I’m not convinced that we are providing it![/quote]

35816 conventional launches (£250,000 worth + club fees + accommodation) and 14051:30 SLMG Hrs (£1,110,000 worth + club fees + accommodation) someone is certainly being provided it. :?[/quote]

36000 (rounded up launches), so less than 1 launch per cadet in the whole of the ACO.

Most AEG will give you 4-6 launches, so we’re basically flying about 1/5 of the ACO every year… (in other words it’ll take 5 years to do the whole lot).

And then take into Gliding Scholarships eating into this, with cadets getting much more than 4-6 launches and the figure drops.

It isn’t the VGS that’s at fault, its the funding of gliding - we need more aircraft/glider pilots/VGSs…[/quote]

For the 7 remainng conventional VGS that does average around 5000 launches each not too shabby, so add in the :40min vigi trip each year per cadet its not going to take 5 years to get every cadet flown.

As I was trying to allude to if they have the infrastructure in place and the support so its not the VGS staff constantly chasing up rooms, kit being fixed on time and access to facilities the productivity would increase by a sizeable percentage.[/quote]

We haven’t seen a conventional glider in our parts in 20 years,. The average Vigi or AEF flight for my cadets is 20 minutes and often our details are being cut down to only 3 cadets due to lack of pilots/aircraft. (I haven’t seen our local AEF have more than 4 aircraft available on a given day since we stopped flying from Cambridge.)

Another option we have batted around the mess from time to time is to bin the Vigi’s & bin GIC. Take the money you save and pump it into AEF and use the Vikings purely for GS’s.


#20

There aren’t enough vikings to cover the whole country with 1/4 sat in the repair queue, even when they get fixed the sites suitable for conventional launch are limited as SHTR says.

Of all the conventional site very few have sufficient accommodation to provide GS courses having to beg borrow and steal rooms to put trainees in. Now if instead of spending a large amount of cash on expensive simulators it was splashed on a new (second hand) aircraft for each vgs or rooms to house the trainees there might be some benifit for cadets.