Gliding "paused"


What a good idea!

Errrr. Actually I was running something identical for new entrant cadets to get the through the entire 1st Class Cadet Airmanship syllabus, including exams, in one day with the active help of 613 VGS at RAF Halton. Sadly, the day I am running in a month’s time will not be on the airfield (because 613 VGS is no more) and will not have the benefit of anything practical (like a training parachute, or a cockpit exit trainer) because the OC 2FTS has decided they are all needed by his unit!

And, Yes, I am happy to continue.


I guess cadets from the Halton area won’t be flying Vigilants unless they are going to travel to Topcliffe in 2017 ? The highland cadets looked to be loving some gliding last week, at long last


I was never really impressed with the Vigilant (or the Venture) as a replacement for conventional gliders. The point often missed is that conventional gliding offers more than just a flight, the cadets get involved in the whole activity (holding wings, signalling, retrieving etc.). Perhaps the one good thing about all this will be consigning the SLMG to history, albeit at the cost of far fewer airframes.


From elsewhere, so take it with a pinch of salt, or maybe not…

Vigilant fleet - the deal is like this chaps…all 65 will be returned to Grob, and 15 will be re-furbished to the original Vigilant specification, whilst the other 50 will be stripped and convexed to Mk II standard ( i.e., what we WERE going to have under original plans before the cock up ) incl Glass cockpit, New donk etc., and then sold by Grob to the Swedish Air Force as virtually brand new aircraft. Our 15 will be given a quick gel coat polish, a couple of re-furbished seats, some new spark plugs and at no cost to the RAF - brilliant deal - really.

Trotter could not have done a better deal ! Well done Rodney !

And …when we have got them, we will operate them until engine life expired, expected life three years, then get rid and be totally reliant on conventional gliders, by which time we may have a couple of dozen back in service if they get a wriggle on !

By then defence estates will have closed some of the nominated VGS Viking sites where we have invested lots of taxpayer cash into residential Cadet accommodation needed because Cadets would have to travel large distances.

And, under the new regime no limited Eng authority for DI and OOPS checks by VGS staff - as we were too good at that, we never missed a thing - it will now be done by …An ENGINEER ! Completely overlooking the fact that the big Eng problem was not at VGS level, it was at Command level !!!

Cadet Wings come with 10 Corn flake packet tops or a couple of Part Task Trainer rides, and as a final nail in the coffin, the VRT Queens Commission will be discontinued in favour of a lower grade plastic version. I think we definitely had the best years !


So the Swedish AF will obviously be quite happy with the integrity of the aircraft? What a shame that we couldn’t have had the same deal.

For those of you who believe in conspiracy theory, can I quote you a sentence from a reply I received from Mr. Mark Lancaster MP who I believe is something in the MOD.

“There is no evidence to suggest that the destruction [of a number of vital engineering documents] was anything other than an error”

Now, the strange thing is that it had never occurred to me until now that it could be anything other than a cock-up. The phrase “no evidence to suggest” reminds me of statements made about all sorts of things in the past. Anyone else remember a certain minister’s 6 year old daughter being force fed a hamburger?


Depends on the contracted requirement? Or, the type of documents concerned?

Considering the “pause,” if no-one put an immediate hold on any time-based destruction of documents, a little admin person somewhere could easily have carried on doing a routine monthly purge of documents that were no longer required… That would drastically limit the time span for availability. Bet ya that could be the “error.”

Even under EASA rules, aircraft maintenance organisations only have to keep engineering documents for a specified time limit (according to my company engineering organisation, it is now 2 yrs - used to be 3 - for major items), then no need to keep them.

If the intention was to get the gliders “back to birth” with regards to paperwork, then that would probably have been impossible for the outset. However, let’s go with the conspiracy theory, much more fun! :slight_smile:


Would it not have been easier to have stripped them back to the last nut and bolt in batches, if completely knackered bin it, if not ‘do up’ and release them with shiny new paperwork. I remember going to St Athan as a cadet and seeing planes in lots of bits and all manner of tests carried out on components, which I found extremely fascinating.

It seems pratting around with an admin exercise of looking at documents to see where it went wrong to find some to blame has and was a waste of time, money and effort, when they could have just got on with it. Or am I looking at this too simply?

Whenever we’ve bought a car I give to my mate who runs his own garage to go over it and see what if anything needs doing, aside from an oil, water and filter changes, which happens anyway. I disregard service histories and MOTs. I then know that it should be OK, apart from things (mainly electronic nonsense in modern cars) breaking.


If anyone fancies a laugh, check out the latest “2FTS Aviation Update” on the announcements page of Sharepoint. Looks like a contestant from The Apprentice was given the task of writing it :joy:


Is that the publisher file that I can’t open??? What’s it say???


Can’t see it at all…

However, revisions to ACTO 31 & ACTO 32 promulgated… Lots of new stuff in ACTO 32.


So ACTO 32 now says that Tutor flights can be used towards Blue and Bronze ATP resulting in the award of (A) Badges. Are we allowed to deliver the ground school on squadron and complete the PTT element on the squadron sim, or can this only be done by authorised personnel on VGS using the official PTT? I’ve had a look at the Blue and Bronze ground school slides and sim tasks and it seems simple enough to teach. Do they now have PTTs at the AEFs too?



Oh great. So (with a large compulsory enrolment every September) I now can’t send any of my new cadets flying in the first term.

Deep joy.


Also I see ‘1 sortie every 7 days’ - meaning no repeat flights if there are more slots than cadets.

What about the pilots? Or does H&S only apply to cadets?

And para 16 contradicts para 4 (the magic word in para 4 is ‘previously’)

The standard of staff work these days is very unimpressive.


That simply will be launched out of the window. When an AEF has a unit allocation drop out, on the day/day before, they will rely on those close by (e.g. Those on a camp who may have flown already)


I doubt it, since the limitation is based on exposure to the high noise levels (at certain frequencies) in a tutor cockpit. Regular crews have custom-fitted helmets so their limits are more relaxed than cadets using rent-a-hat.

They could manage an eventual relaxation of that limitation if there is a desire to do so but it will need more than just ignoring it.


They ignore it now. Or has the RA changed?


Regular crews were ear-plug like comms devices in their ears which, as they go into the ear canal, have to(should) be sized and initially fitted by a suitably qualified doctor. The Alpha helmets are just as securely fitting, albeit being quickly adjustable, but it would be impracticable to equip each cadet with a set of ear-pieces (supply, cost, hygiene).

They won’t relax the overall limit on the Tutor without the earpieces. It’s been tightened at least once already and is based not on flight time but on engine running time. It certainly couldn’t go above 2 sorties per week.


But in all seriousness, GA pilots exceed those limits all the time wearing less good hearing protection. Are cadets so delicate?


It is seen that GA pilots are doing it to themselves with their own equipment, whereas with AEF, we are inviting people to join our organisation and use our equipment; we therefore have to abide with the regulations on noise in a ‘workplace’. This means that due to the levels of noise recorded following an assessment that cadets delicate ears have to be protected (I’m assuming that there has been a proper assessment).


GA pilots tend not to be subject to suing themselves. The MOD are very worried about the volume of health related cases they are and maybe subject to in the future. The Tutor is a workplace as PN says, hence this has to be taken seriously. Sadly the “they’re only cadets flying once a year/month” etc isn’t a legal argument, however much it may seem to be common sense.

As for assessments: there’s been more than one (imagine aircrew with microphones strapped to them). Hence the change in limits and, at one point, different limits for left and right hand seats.