Gliding "paused"


Are we? We’ve established that cadets can be on board a civilian aircraft on duty, in flight and that the MAA is not involved. Presumably there is a dividing line somewhere, where precisely is it?


although i accept that - the rules in question (ACTO035) are our own. not industry recognised, not accepted internationally. our own. (as in the organisation’s - it is “our” choice to have ACTO035 written the way it is).

It is frustrating that a NGB isn’t trusted, and even with a waiver being signed the RAF are not responsible, the RAF still don’t want to take responsibility.

it is the same as saying no one can drive a Minibus unless they have gone through Leconsfield as the RAF doesn’t trust the DVLA unless its part of its own set up


I agree. Rules shouldn’t hinder a core function. The problem is we are sometimes bound by an individuals decision. This appears, from what people are saying on here, to be the case with opportunity Flying?
What’s happened with gliding is history and however much we might express our feelings about it on here it won’t change. I’m not defending anything about the way it was dealt with. It affected me directly.
It’s not clear on this thread, but has anybody approached the individual decision makers and asked them to explain why…? They have to have a reason for making a negative decision and it’s only fair for them to explain their rationale.


Write to the DDH. Ask him to explain his rationale? His email address is on Bader.
If it annoys you, ask the source of the annoyance.!


So do I.

I was a flight safety officer in the RAF, then in my previous company, & subsequently in my current job.

The gliding scholarship & flying scholarship (the 30 hrs package - yes, a long time ago!) undoubtedly got me into the RAF as a pilot -> which helped me move into commercial aviation -> & my current employment. I am very grateful for my ATC “flying” background & how it helped me. I am equally in despair at how the gliding situation (& locally with 5AEF) has been detrimental to current cadets being able to achieve the same aim. We have managed one cadet for a flying scholarship, which I am very pleased about; my target was for several more.

Risk is always there, with varying levels. As I see it, the upper echelons are far too risk adverse, & penalising the cadet activity factors. Couple this with poor or non-existent (formal, not via Twit Face or whatever!) communication & guess what, the peasants are revolting! :wink:

Similar topic - risk - air rifle shooting - I have had to submit a RAM / Risk assessment for ONE cadet to shoot a competition (they were not available for the main team shoot); That is a significant imbalance of paperwork versus the risk / activity - “repetitive” RAMs (or valid for a set period, say several months) are not permitted. Scout air rifle shooting = one “standard” page (albeit with reference to basic qualifications, etc). Put unreasonable obstacles in the way of a suitable cadet experience, you penalise the staff - & possibly the cadets when the staff decide that the nausea of doing the paperwork is too much.

ACTO35 is just one example, but, I will fight tooth & tail to get cadets flying by whatever means - even if that upsets the higher echelons! :wink:


[quote=“109115, post:1629, topic:1152, full:true”]The problem is we are sometimes bound by an individuals decision.
It’s not clear on this thread, but has anybody approached the individual decision makers and asked them to explain why…? They have to have a reason for making a negative decision and it’s only fair for them to explain their rationale.[/quote]
It would be pointless as they can up with things to make it sound rational and if you debated it, it wouldn’t be too long before you got “I’m a x* and I say that’s what goes, so yah boo sucks’ and we don’t give a stuff about a few cadets getting what they should, when it could mean me and or my mates losing our jobs”. AFAIC it’s self-protectioist centred on an RAF set up that is / was diminishing and to lose any additional flying function no matter how small wouldn’t look good.


Don’t think there’s much point to be honest. As you’ve said what’s done is done and history can’t be changed. The RAF is not a democracy, a superior makes a decision and the rest of us obey.

The “recovery” still isn’t happening for the vast majority of us, from both a VGS and cadet point of view. Nothing will change this. Despite what was promised “more AEF” has not materialised, as I knew it would, although some of my cadets got their Blue Wings last weekend which was good, but none have sat in a glider from day one. The VGS I was in was 10-15 miles away, now the closest one is nearer 200 (and still no aircraft). The South of England still has an incredible VGS coverage (assuming any of them have aircraft), whereas Scotland, NI and Wales are stuffed.

I hate to be cynical but I fully agree with Teflon’s final sentence.

Also, how many of us wrote to our MPs (in my case very supportive) only to get the standard form-letter from Julian Brazier about “the plan” which basically said “What’s happened has happened and that’s it”. So yes, some of us did ask questions… sweep, sweep, nothing to see here, move along.


Fully aware of what happened with gliding. I was in the thick of it…!
What I’m getting at is the ACTO35 stuff where individuals have attempted to arrange Flying at Flying clubs for cadets etc. If that’s refused, are they providing a rationale? If not then why not ask?


[quote=“Gunner, post:1609, topic:1152, full:true”]
We have descended into being a cake and organisation.[/quote]

Not even any cake in this organisation any more (apart from at various garden parties) just…


However, there should have been open & honest feedback about the decision(s) & reasons / factors behind them - I don’t think that there was - & / or the option to accept proposals or solutions from t’coalface to move things forward. Equally, the paucity of information about the “pause” & remedial action was often intermittent or exceptionally limited. Mushroom syndrome.


The overall problem seems to be a lack of information, justification and an unwillingness to make things work. Nothing has changed since Easter 2014.

A bit like that character in Stoppit and Tidyup… “I Said No” (showing my age now)


[controversial statement caption]

Yeah, but when you’ve got the rosy viewpoint of seeing those who’ve gone on to fly professionally in the civilian world when the services wouldn’t have touched them with a barge pole.:wink: Let’s face it, if you’ve got a reasonable ability to learn and pass exams and can do some fairly basic flying, you can find yourself in the RHS of a tin tube in fairly short order. :slightly_smiling_face:


[quote=“MikeJenvey, post:1636, topic:1152, full:true”]I don’t think that there was - & / or the option to accept proposals or solutions from t’coalface to move things forward.
This approach isn’t limited to flying / gliding.
I don’t think it’s so much mushroom syndrome as an over confidence that people who haven’t been anywhere near the ATC for their RAF careers, suddenly see it as something to do in their retirement and immediately know better than people who have spent in many instances more years in the ATC than they have in the RAF, because they have risen to say Gp Capt.


Well that’s no real criteria to hang anything on, given that the services will turn people down as all they are doing at selection in putting bums on seats and if they haven’t got enough seats they’ll bin people. Those people who if returned later, would probably get in, but will have moved on in their lives, finding they can do what they wanted to do without any of nonsense being in the services can bring.
The only advantage learning to fly in the services has is no financial cost to the individual.
I think we need to get the notion that the services provide some sort of excellent training that makes people somehow superior and the experience is something amazing, outside of fast jet, I doubt there’s much difference to what can be done in the real world. But if that’s the case why do so many service pilots leave?


I don’t know about that Chaz. One of the worst pilots I ever flew with was ex-RAF. Dreadful attitude towards ATC, very lax safety-wise and almost killed me. I didn’t fly with him again. The best IMO was my CFI when I did my PPL who had been flying SEPs forever and nothing else, 5000+ hrs and a brilliant instructor. Many of the VGS guys were brilliant as well. I’ve met plenty of PPLs, FIs, glider pilots etc. who would make better professionals than many others.

There are plenty Children Of The Magenta Line up the pointy end of the tin tubes but most I have met are good pilots, the bad ones tend to get weeded out before they prang something.


[quote=“HeuchterTeuchter, post:1641, topic:1152, full:true”]
I don’t know about that Chaz. One of the worst pilots I ever flew with was ex-RAF. Dreadful attitude towards ATC, very lax safety-wise and almost killed me. I didn’t fly with him again.[/quote]

I don’t disagree. There are always going to be some bad apples and those whose actual ability doesn’t match their expected potential.

My point was mainly on selection (both computer based aptitude and flying ability) and the other minor point that a military pilot doesn’t just have the option of throwing more funds (if they are lucky enough to have them, which not all do) at the “problem”.

Really? I admit, service flying training does have its pitfalls in some areas (“groundschool” qualifications for example are well below what should be expected today), but the standard of instruction and the breadth of the flying syllabi and emphasis on pure handling would be hard to fault.

But if that’s the case why do so many service pilots leave?[/quote]


I didn’t say that. They are more selective on who gets the opportunity though.


Without wishing to stray too far off topic, it has to be said that anyone who thinks that self-sponsored civilian pilots of poor ability “get through” by flinging more money at training is sorely misguided. The bad ones either don’t get through due to the demands of multi-engine IR or will get found out very early on if they do land a job and get chopped by airline management before they prang an airframe (too big a profit hit). It’s not just about passing some exams and buying your way into a job, despite what popular perception is.

RAF flight training is excellent, I will agree. I learned a lot more about flying from my time on a VGS. I’d like to think it made me a better pilot in the end.

Service selection can’t really be compared to civilian selection IMO because there are hardly any pilot jobs per year that come up in the forces compared to the civilian world. The forces can (and do) afford to be choosy, so more restrictive medical requirements etc. Also it’s a different type of flying. The ATPL syllabus doesn’t have to cover navigation at 400kts <500’AGL whilst firing missiles at people. You’d think that the latter types would be better pilots (naturally) however that isn’t always the case.


…Anyway, to bring things back on track.

Has anyone who has had a refusal under ACTO35 had a justification, out of interest? I do know there are a lot of hoops to jump through which is enough to put many off sadly.

It seems the easiest way to get cadets flying is to still tell them to save their pocket money and go to a BGA club at the weekends.


I’ve spoke to several colleagues from across the Corps since April all of whom were pursing ACTO35 based flights (as were we - hence the discussions about just how to evidence it all!). I don’t know anybody who actually had a successful application (although I’m told there are 2 BGA sites in the South who’ve been authorised (but we don’t know how, who or which Sqn/Wg organized it to contact and use). The collective reasons included:

“We’re too busy to authorize every applications”
“Sorry - we didn’t receive your application” (always a tough one to swallow when it doesn’t actually leave the MOD server farm!)
“We can’t authorize this you need to give us 6-8 weeks notice” (perhaps related to the top ones?)
“We’re only authorizing X applications per year”
“We’re paused until the new version of ACTO35 is released” (I didn’t know there was a new one coming out?)
“Didn’t meet our criteria” (no indication as to which criteria wasn’t met - nor whether this is a legacy of a previous application to that club, or that specific application)

Our squadron were told 2FTS is only able to vet so many BGA sites per year and are only willing to sanction X BGA clubs as a result (I think the number was about 18?) - ours wasn’t one of them as we’ve got a VGS nearby (nearby being a very relative term!). Oh, and said VGS is still non-operational. So we missed an entire summer of gliding because we have a non-functioning VGS 90minutes away from us.


I was told that AOC 22 Grp and OC 2FTS had a meeting of SQEP who brought up the idea of potential risks of letting other providers fly cadets. To ensure safety they therefore had to inspect every site approved under ACTO35. OC2FTS felt that as he uses to have 26 VGS and now has 10, he had space to inspect 16 sites nationally. Because we have VGS within 2 hours (non operational and won’t be for a while) he was unwilling to inspect the site (we had already used them at that point, so they’d suddenly become dangerous overnight).