Gliding "paused"


How many cadets places have been allocated by the VGS across the quarter?


466 across the year. That is against the current aircraft allocation, each follow on aircraft allocated increases it by 100%


@tingger you seem to be the man in the know!

How many aircraft does this VGS have?
How many will they have at the end of the recovery period?
How many cadets are associated to this VGS (estimated numbers based on Wing/CCF affiliation)?

If we expect the VGS to deliver 466 cadet slots in 2018, how does this translate as a % of associated cadets, that’s less than 50% of my wing alone?

What expectation should we be setting for cadets to get to go to a VGS, once a year/once every 3 years, once if they are lucky?


As there are 3.5VGSs flying cadets you could argue that there are 10,000 to fly at each site obviously rapidly diminishing as the others come online.

There are 3 aircraft at each VGS as they stand up with an end number of either 5/6 dependant on location.

Each site will be in a state of rebuild even after being cleared so not all aircraft would be ATP tasked but on SGS flying and staff continuation flying but any new aircraft above the three would be ATP tasked


I think we will officially be once in a lifetime as a cadet to go to an AEF or VGS.
Even with the VGS figures mentioned (which still doesn’t have a timescale for being fully operational), aren’t good reading, when you consider the number of aircraft we had and VGS operating, it was still difficult for cadets to go more than once every 18 months. But then we (as a customer of 5 AEF) still had AEF.

I still think and I know there are detractors for a pure civilian flying set up in the Corps, where cadets can get a fuller aviation experience.
Rather than sitting around and or doing something to fill time.

This has to be the way forward for the long term, so we aren’t at the whim of the MOD bean counters delete key. Who is to say which sites we are set to use for the VGS are still going to be there in 2,5,10 years time? So loads of investment of taxpayers money, effectively flushed down the drain. As these sites disappear it puts more and more strain on those remaining, until you get to a tipping point and it just effectively gets removed.

We only need to lose 2 or 3 VGS and AEF sites to make flying essentially a thing spoken about with misty eyes of days gone by.


To be fair, in my experience as a cadet, that hasn’t changed in 20 years or so!


Is that because the time spent as a cadet has reduced to 2 years in that time.

My longest serving cadet has just done 3 years since intial joinng and due to going into FE is likely to leave by October next year. So they will probably not have experienced gliding (like many thousands who have left and joined and left since Apr 14) and only been flying at camp and that was the day that the weather and aeroplane Gods were onside.


that is a shame.

i look back at my F3822 with fondness having 5x flights in 5 years as a Cadet - one of those a 2hr flight on a summer camp.
I was happy with my 1x flight per year ratio - I was neither pushy for flying or avoided it.

that is without the 8hrs Gliding scholarship i had too.

thinking about the “once in a lifetime” statement of @Teflon is a worry.

A quick look on Redletterdays or Groupon indicates a VGS/AEF equavalient experience (by 20-30 duration if nothing else) can be purchased for £100-150
with our subs at £96/year it does question why anyone would join the RAFAC for “cheap” flying experiences.

Based on my AEF experience i certainly feel i got my Mum’s money’s worth out of the organisation, add to this the 8hrs gliding time and flying solo i did well.

it is a shame that a youth organisation sponsored by the UK’s largest “flying club” (RAF) who promote flying to the youth appear to fail to get the youth in the air.

Ignoring the previous 3.5 years (as difficult as it may be) of lack of VGS, I wait with interest what the outcome will be two years from now when the VGSs should be up to speed and the increased AEF places have been created what the rate of experiences per year stands at.


In my 6 years as a Cadet, I had 13 AEF flights, 2 VGS visits (one on Summer Camp) and a GS at a Vigilant VGS.

In the next 10 years I can’t see many cadets even coming close to this, which is disappointing as I’m not a massive fly boy, I just took the opportunities I was presented with.


So what level of service would you be happy with?
Are you saying that a cadet should AEF fly and glide at least once? Not every cadet wants to do that.
The alternatives are an unproven concept and may leave cadets with fewer flying/gliding opportunities?
Some cadets may be in a position to pay for Flying, but what about those that can’t?
If Cadets (or their parents) were expected to pay, you’d be creating a two tier system?


This “not every cadet wants to” applies to every single thing that we do. I’ve had cadets join not really into the aviation thing, so they joined the ACF and I’ve had kids come from the ACF as they had an aviation bent.

The problem is that we don’t tout the other things to make us stand out.

If we are as an organisation, going to grow we need a stand out experience (which flying was) and that needs to fully funded and supported by the organisation and not dicked to squadrons or wings to do.

We can’t get fewer opportunities than we have currently and the objections to other suggestions seem to be purely protectionist (with made up rules) and not from a practical perspective.

Cadets shouldn’t need to pay for flying / gliding, the money earmarked for places where it’s not being provided should be diverted. It would be no different to say a manufacturer replacing a defective part on a goodwill basis.


Most cadets, in my experience, want to fly, therefore most should have the opportunity to do so on as regular a basis as possible.

I hated shooting when I was a cadet, however by logic that doesn’t mean that everyone else should have their opportunity to do so restricted.

I am completely against cadets having to pay for flying, any teenager (or their parents) able to afford SEP hourly rates even at a discount would be in a very narrow minority. Especially considering that the ATC still “sells” flying as a core and unique activity that kids can do if they join up.


1 flight per cadet per annum.

As stated in a previous versions of ACTO 031, by CAC and in the 2012 flying and gliding study (made available via FOI request which was shared to ACC)

(see para 11.a)

I am not expecting for anything the RAF haven’t already stated they would provide in the past.

One or other - yes

which I accept, but the provision should be available. Not every Cadet goes shooting…

If someone wants to go flying once a year they should be able to do so. If they don’t it allows someone else to have a go sooner or perhaps get a second flight.

I am unsure what the alternatives are you speak of

I am not suggesting Cadets should be paying for flying, they don’t for anything else other than camps. It should be part of the experience

I am not expecting anyone to pay for flying or gliding,

the point i was trying to raise with the redletterday and Groupon options is you could take the same £96 paid on annual subscription to the Cadets and put it towards flying.

Depending on the location and type of flying you are after you’d be better off not being a Cadet and spending £100 on private experiences than sticking with the Cadets for flying/gliding that doesn’t materialise.

Yes there is more to the Cadets than flying, i readily accept that, and that ~£100/year is good value for money given what other experiences are available in addition to (not instead of) Flying.
but if lets say someone aged 13-14 saw the literature which shows flying is available and joined up to do just that…only to find after the first year they haven’t had chance, and after the second they got a place but missed out because of a lack of pilots or a/c.
two years in ~£200 spent and no flying.
while they could have gone out with that £200 and had a fantastic flying experience.

that is exactly what I told a work colleague to do. During the “pause” he approached me knowing what i do and asked on behalf of his son who was interested in going gliding - he, quite rightly, saw the Air Cadets as a straightforward route into it.

I told him he was better off going down the private route. and he did and his son loves it, got his licences and entered competitions the lot.
Had he joined the Cadets on the basis of the flying, he’d be left sorely disappointed and I doubt would have

this is it.
All the recruitment materials have Cadets in flying suits and helmets, in a aircraft…or perhaps a shot of a parade, maybe a classroom shot learning about aircraft you don’t see Cadets in No3s with rifles, or out in the field on exercise, nor on DofE Expedition…

“we” (the organisation) by recruitment material, PR and by the nature of our very name and Sponsor has an implied “flying” capability yet we don’t in reality have that - but what we do isn’t seen


The report goes back to pre ‘gliding pause’ so what was said needs balancing with what we have now and what we may have in the future?
Perhaps we all need to accept that what we will end up with will be less than we had in terms of quantity.
That will probably be the same however we source our Flying/ gliding?
With regards the quality of what is provided, i think you’ll struggle to find anything better?
Sometimes less is more…?


I accept that the report was prior to the pause but it discusses the future of gliding unaware the pause would occur…there is no mention in the document that quantity should go down

Why post pause should we expected (accept?) that quantity should go down

indeed listen to CAC and these “super VGSs” will provide as much if not more than the previous system because they will be more “efficient” being larger schools.

If we end up with less what is the acceptable measure of what this should be?
a target of one flight per Cadet per year seems reasonable, are we now saying we should accept places for only 80%? 60%? maybe 40%

what happens for the remaining 20%, 40%, 60% who miss out?? stuck it up and wait their turn??


When you go from 26 VGS sites to 10, quantity will be affected. You simply won’t be able to achieve the same output with less than half the number of gliders?


I am not disagreeing with you…but listen to CAC and it seems we’ll not be affected…if anything we’ll see a better solution

fewer aircraft can operate more hours…


Guess we’ll see about that one then…??


They’re not larger is probably going to be some of the problem.


yes exactly which is why i said this…