Gliding "paused"


The comments here are positively restrained compared to some on


Oh I can’t wait for the FOI asking for the comms that involve OC 2FTS and this utter farce.
AOC 22 should be getting rid of him now, his posting is a joke too far.

Kudos to 635 and the other VGS bods for trying to stay positive in the last few years…


Out here in the real world, if someone in OC 2FTS’ position had performed that badly the minimum would be some sort of competency process (about 3 years ago) if not a “I think you will be better off working somewhere else”. Probably the latter as I’ve never heard of senior management being put through competency.

If you did take this on part of the interview would be “I’m going to outsource gliding to the private sector and the facilities we’ve built can be used by cadets for camps etc”. If this wasn’t acceptable, you’d walk away.


The Vigilant was never a great training aircraft (a poor powered aeroplane and an even worse glider), but it did allow flying (both Air Experience and training to solo) from within the ACO, staffed and run by CIs, VR(T) officers and best of all STAFF CADETS; all gone now.

The administration of the whole"Pause" has been appalling. If that is the standard of management from the RAF I hope we never have to fight a war. I speak as an ex cadet who went solo in 1966 and has spent my life in aviation including three years as the paid Assistant CFI of a civilian club, 25 years as an active gliding instructor and in excess of 21,000 hours flying. This lot even make BA look quite well run.

AEF is a joke. Cadets spend a day in a windowless room to be taken one at a time (by paid civilian staff) and loaded into a Tutor for a short passenger flight. There is no cadet involvement in any part of the aircraft operation and the pilots rarely bother to even come and talk to the cadets. The last four AEF visits that I have been involved it have all been cancelled (only two because of weather) and one I only discovered was cancelled the day before when I phoned up to ask and was told every one was away on holiday!

The result is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to interest cadets in going.

The ATC is rapidly becoming an organisation of boot stamping and saluting and has very little to do with aviation. The Powerpoint based training is full of major errors and goes in all sorts of bizarre directions that I for one don’t understand.

So why am I writing all this? Finally it has got to me and I am retiring as a CI. I see no future in gliding until the RAF hands it back to the ACO to run, or whatever it is called this month.

The Commandant should be ashamed that gliding has effectively disappeared on her watch without a fight and in return we have a lot of new names and badges and a minor TV celebrity dressed in a Group Captain’s uniform.

I wish the ATC well, but I fear the decline is terminal.


Removed off-topic posts.


I wonder how long before we get similar news about the Viking?

This will probably be just before OC 2FTS does the decent thing and disappears and leaves a note saying “there’s no aircraft left”. We’ll all be revelling in his departure that the bad news gets buried.

It’s worth remembering OC 2FTS in a previous job bought us Ultilearn another lash up of complete incompetence and the idea of the RACs another waste of public money. Although according to sources, North region’s one was nice and others little more than garden sheds.


Unless there is a radical re-think about the provision of AEF, flying training and aviation in general the ACO may as well close up shop and join the ACF as the difference is minimal, so why have two organisations in these fiscally difficult times.


Cadets arrive at either 0830 or 1230 and are back on the road about 4 hours later. Once flown they get the opportunity to do escorting duties to and from the flightline (at my unit anyway). As a pilot, we will brief at 0830-0900, then signing out and flying 4 cadets back to back. We then need a mandatory lunch rest before same again in the afternoon. Around that we have to fit in admin, flight safety reporting, ground training currencies etc… saying we ‘don’t bother to talk to cadets’ is unfair in my opinion.

If staff go around with attitudes like ‘AEF is a joke’ then it is hardly any wonder cadets will be difficult to motivate :confused: Luckily the 25 cadets we flew on my day last week all had a great time and went away happy.


What you describe hasn’t changed in over 40 years and cadets will by and large enjoy it.

However with AEFs moving around. causing a break in service, and like us not getting any AEF bar some scraps it’s no wonder, people feel like they do.

Let’s not forget the number of times people have had a call or email saying flying is cancelled, which we have to then relate to cadets, whose families may have arranged to do things based around dropping their little one off, then having to change what they intended doing. Sometimes it’s the service we get that creates the thinking and cadets are not stupid and neither more over are their parents. If I was a parent of a cadet and they came home saying we’ve got flying can I go, remembering the last time I had a phone call or other contact Friday PM or later, or, a phone call an hour or so later after dropping them off, as it had been cancelled, there would be a doubt and thought of well I’d better not plan anything. This isn’t fair on anyone. Even as staff you feel reluctant to commit for the same reasons. So it’s no wonder that staff feel like they do and as a parent you would want to plan your weekend, without that doubt.

Your AEF seems like it works, but not are all like that.


Um… Escorting duties hardly compares with all the things that cadets were involved in at a VGS. As for the enormous number of extra items you have to do as well, you are, of course, aware that the VGS instructors had the same things to do as well. As to “unfair”, I speak as I find.

As for my attitude, you clearly didn’t read all my post. I am not staff any more.


My own limited experience with AEF was very positive, however, I’m really excited to hear when the planned replacements are being unveiled. Forward planning and all that!!


You clearly haven’t been in the Corps very long…


I sometimes wonder what the Cmdt’s fascination is with royalty and minor celebs. You see her with Kate and William; and Carol a fair bit. Maybe she’s got an eye to the future and is gearing herself up for a career as a gameshow host.

“I’ll have a consonant please Dawn. A vowel, please. Another consonant please Dawn and another. Another consonant, a vowel and a final consonant please Dawn”.


Sounds about right.

I agree.


i’m afraid, like many, my attitude to AEF is coloured by my experience.

i would reckon that perhaps only 1 in 5 times the OC tells the kids on final parade that theres an AEF slot it actually ends in a cadet flying. we live 3 hours drive from our AEF, i’d say that perhaps 2 in 5 of those times the day ends somewhere between me checking my email at 4am and me arriving at the airfield - at which point i may have wasted a 6 hour return trip.

this may shock you, but this does not engender a feeling of ‘well, i’ll be sure to volunteer for that again…’.


Personally, I would love to get back to the days where swarms of cdts spent all day chasing gliders around an airfield. Far more relevant than 20 mins in a Tutor.

My ‘local’ VGS has just re-equipped to winch launch but, of course, the cdts have to jump through additional hoops before they get their hands on a cold, greasy, wet winch cable.


Thank you.


The only gliders to chase are very few and far between.
With the early demise of the Vigilant, the Tutor is now the only Air Cadet powered flying option.


Realistically it has been for the last 4/5 years though.

This is sad, but ultimately will the loss of a few aircraft we knew were going anyway be that bad? The situation as a whole is deplorable but losing 9 aircraft isn’t as significant as the initial grounding, or the protracted farce of a clean up operation.


It’s really a shame, especially with the amazing weather as of recent that cadets can’t see as much flying as they’d expect. Last time I went flying was June 2016, where I was one of the only to get flytime before they closed it off due to weather. I’m grateful as hell that I got the chance but it’s way too scarce. We went to a VGS and spent the morning in a flight sim, and surprisingly, that doesn’t come up that often either. I honestly question what it is that sets us apart from the ACF except from the same old aviation powerpoints and the air recognition competitions.

The sad truth is that a large portion of cadets are seriously missing out on an amazing experience, especially those, who like myself, want to become pilots. Having the chance to control the aircraft is amazing and I sincerely wished that it’d happen more often.


That depends on your location. To the wings that are served by 645 sqn and 10 AEF, it’s pretty catastrophic.

645 Sqn was the slightest crumb of hope that their cadets might get up in the air this year. Call me a cynic, but I doubt either the runway at Woodvale will be repaired, or the VGS will convert to the viking in time to fly cadets this year.