Gliding "paused"


The problem is how many cadets does 4 years represent?

How many cadets have joined and left the ATC and never flown in an aircraft on the ATC/RAF inventory, compared to the 12 months prior to that. Restrict it to 12 months as the numbers would be even more embarrassing.

We had cadets go on a mass flying day and shortly after I spoke to the Wg Cdr and they were gushing about it, I was dumfounded and walked out of the office, I reckoned they were going for an award/honour. A handful of cadets from across the Wing in a once off effort and it was seen as something to get excited about.

I find it incredulous to think at CAC and OC 2FTS’ boss(es) think they have been doing more than an extremely mediocre job and getting paid much more than many of the staff in the ATC, who will by comparison be working much harder and then giving time up for ATC.


Woodvale is still being used I believe for the UAS as they have a different DDH regieme and helicopters as required. It’s also one of the few places there is an RAF presence on the west coast of the UK.

The hanger doors are, I also believe, being replaced.


None of which is any consolation to those cadets on my squadron who are desperate to fly.

When the gliding “Pause” was announced, we had AEF to fall back on. Then the AEF went offline, but 645 had started to get cadets into the air. Now we have nothing.


In my personal opinion, comparisons with volume of flying of past years is just wasted effort. Times have changed for many reasons, just look at the reduction in frontline military units and flying. Personally, I think the real challenge for ACO flying is geography. I’ve already personally flown some cadets more than once this year, and only last week I had cadets that had been in a few years on their 6th and 7th trip. The beauty of the combined AEF and VGS system was that it had wide geographical coverage and a wide spread of operating days/hours - that is really hard to regain.


Depends which passed years you are talking about. Since we haven’t had a single successful AEF in 2 years if we get zero again this year as appears likely we will continue to hold steady with our comparisons for the last 2 years.


Not the best timing / quote:

The weather is superb for AEF…



Geography is correct.
This has always been a problem. We used to get last minute cancellation notices for flying and gliding, but being 1½ hours from the VGS and c.3 from the AEF, never practical for a number of reasons. So the squadrons close got more.

This is why we should be accessing local flying schools and ditching the AEF system and leave it just for UAS. Rather than spending 2-3 hours driving each way, many squadrons can be at a flying school within an hour. An hour isn’t outside the realm of asking parents to take them or for some places, public transport.

This is for 10-15 years into the future. Too many of us remember how it was and even with the reductions in military flying, the impact on AEF was never that great.
Again if it the case that the reductions in military flying is adversely affecting AEF, then the AEF system is preventing cadets from getting the flying experience, along with the best efforts of HQAC and RAF combined mismanagement.


There are now only 5 VGS left, mathematically speaking 8.5k cadets per school and about 3 serviceable a/c per day if lucky.


I’m not certain that it is all down to the RAF mismanaging the situation as they’ve got a lot bigger fish to fry. Operational flying comes first and we’re faced with multiple issues all over the globe - Russia and Syria to name but two. AOC 22GP has an input, certainly, but budgetary delegation and delegation of authority has been passed to CRAFAC.

IMHO, It’s HQ Cake and Bottom party that’s not managing it particularly well. As we’re an aviation-themed organisation, I would have thought that devoting oneself to the issue of flying and gliding might be a priority that transcends the myriad social media utterances, countless selfies and gluing oneself to a minor celebrity like a Siamese twin.

It’s easy for me to say: 'if I were her, I’d do this and that’ but if I WERE her, one of the first things I would do is place a - metaphorical - firm hand on OC 2FTS squishies and put a time limit on the recovery programme, as 4 years is completely unacceptable.

One can almost hear that Countdown clock…


Haddon-Cave is killing us.


His FTRS contract would surely be up soon?


Has OC 2 FTS two masters, CRAFAC and AOC 22 Group?


And no lateral thinking either.


I get the safety angle. I really do but isn’t our current predicament a little bit of overkill? Surely it would be better to spend the budget wisely and buy a new fleet as opposed to spending the majority of the money trying to recover an aged one that will - fairly shortly - be OOS and at the same time, severely limiting flying opportunities for the kids?

I am the budget holder for my business and I’ve always - ALWAYS - forbidden false economy practices because in the long run, you end up spending way more on something that inevitably, won’t work.

Either get a grip of whoever is frittering away the money, put flying and gliding out to suitable qualified civilian clubs without putting unnecessary hurdles in the way or end flying and gliding altogether.

I read a FoI request relating to the whole flying and gliding fiasco and the message that was coming through loud and clear was an avoidance of risk on the part of the DDH. FGS, civilian gliding clubs have to adhere to stringent safety regulations so why all this slavver about how OC 2FTS wants ‘alignment with military regulations and qualifications’?

Venture Adventure? I think the motto needs changing to: ‘Cotton-wool and Bubblewrap’.


As AEF piggy backs UAS surely it comes under the broader RAF flying training remit and this where I see the mismanagement occurring. While the focus may be on UAS as some of them will invariably join the RAF, the ATC seems to have become a poor cousin and the cadets are neglected. You would have thought only having to do compliance checks would be better than managing the whole thing. The MOD contracts out a lot of things and has done for years, as doing it in house has become more expensive. So why not cadet flying?

WRT budgetary responsibility I’ve not seen very much evidence of HQAC showing budgetary nous. Is CAC given an amount of money each year to run the ATC and its activities, or, is it as suspect, not, and other people pay for us to do things and if they are short of cash, we slip down or off the priority list.
Our HOD has an amount of money and soon we will be asked what our wants and desires are for next year as he will have to submit this by the end of Q3. We don’t get the all the money and then comes the what’s urgent and what’s not. He keeps a 10% contingency budget for the unexpected, which gets spent between January and March. Those of us with budgets to look after have an amount and if we need more, it’s a case of seeing if some can be moved around. I’m not sure that our leaders have this experience through their RAF careers.


just because I can and find it interesting: based on those numbers

that is a requirement of 2833 sorties per aircraft per year to allow each Cadet a flight
otherwise described as 54 flights a week (52 weeks in the year)
or 27 flights a day (on the basis of Saturday and Sunday flying)

I am no VGS veteran to know the score but 27 flights a day sounds a lot - the equivalent of 9 hours flying time* based on each flight = 20 minutes - not possible on the Sunniest of days in June I would guess

reduce this to 50% of the population getting a slot, and reduced to 48 weekends operational taking into account various breaks/holidays etc

=> 14 flights a day = 5 hours flying time*

seems even 50% allocation on a 90% operational success on the weekends is vastly optimistic.

What is not taken into account is how many of those weekends are canx due to weather, unforeseen U/S aircraft/winch, pilot shortage or other factor.

I welcome VGS input into realistic number of flights per day for comparison

Time will tell how “super” these “super VGSs” will be in the expectation they are operating more than 3 a/c a day!

*flying time = time in the air


Don’t forget that The Tutors are managed and owned by a contractor…What you’re asking for is to a degree already happening. The AEFs are predominantly staffed by volunteers.


Pre-Haddon Cave the RAF was killing us, figuratively.


You haven’t factored in the fact that on some days it will take 3-4 launches to complete 20 minutes Flying. To achieve 30 mins airborne time could take 30-40 minutes?


They’re probably going to limit the number of launches perairframe per week as well at a guess?