Gliding "paused"


Perhaps it is time for a history lesson. Air Cadet Gliding used to be administered by HQAC. It ran very well and was basically safe with the odd incident that has to be expected in a flying training organisation.

AEF was administered by the RAF and a decade or so ago they managed to kill three cadets in a fairly short time in totally avoidable accidents. For some bizarre reason this was taken as a reason to remove control of gliding from the organisation that had successfully run it for about 7 decades and was quite expert at it (HQAC) and give control to an organisation that had little or no experience of gliders for over half a century (RAF).

At about the same time the RAF killed 14 servicemen in a badly maintained Nimrod that caught fire which set in train the events leading up to the gliding “pause”.

Just saying.


I wonder if we could go back to the old ‘grasshopper’ gliders?


I remember those !! One lived in a nice asbestos clad garage on the edge of one of the school playing fields.
We all hauled like mad on the ‘elastic’ to give the thing a bit of lift. Master i/c used to yell at us!!


Maybe not a primary (More physical effort than flying), but I have always thought the Mk3 was an excellent device for the ACO. It was just an aerial toboggan that was never designed for soaring - a winch launch gave it just enough height to fly a circuit and land. It was maybe a bit fragile and the spoilers were vicious, but a “Mk4” with a few improvements would still be a viable machine for the job.

The trouble was that the-powers-that-be never understood that the operation was mainly about getting lot of young men (in those days) fully occupied in all the jobs that a Gliding School needed to be done (holding wingtips, signaling, retrieving, driving trucks, driving winches, keeping the log, making the tea) and the flying was almost a by product.

They very wisely rejected the awful T53, but then thought a British built Falke was the answer. Interestingly, the civil clubs never thought that motor gliders were anything more than a way to teach rope breaks and field landings more safely; training was always in gliders. When the Ventures were being bought I worked out the same money would have bought two Ka13s and a Super Cub tug.

No-one ever explained to me why it was thought necessary to fit an artificial horizon in a Vigilant.

Sorry nostalgia over.


People have also been killed in air cadet gliders during the Vikings service


I am fully aware of the history, but have a slightly different perspective of it.


But, that didn’t cause the RAF to take over air cadet gliding. That was my point.


So tell us, we have nothing to do till the gliding improves.


You have thought they’d keep it in 3fts if the RAF wanted to control it under a regular Groupie. Rather than pass it back to an RAFR groupie who is subordinate to CRAFAC.

However you cut it though they always were subordinate to 22 group and controlled by the RAF


A lot was lost when Mike Douglas retired. There were actually a lot of cultural issues that weren’t dealt with. This allowed bad practice to continue because it was easier to leave it alone than deal with the issues…
At least when the RAF began focusing on VGS operations, some of those issues were dealt with. Personally when 3FTS were managing VGS operations I felt that at least they understood aviation. Post Mike Douglas, nobody at HQAC understood the VGS world.
If the VGS were still managed by HQAC directly, I’m not sure how the gliding pause would’ve been dealt with? It may well have folded completely??


HQAC (RAFAC) run by blunties for blunties.


[quote=“Farriersaxe, post:1866, topic:1152, full:true”] It might even inspire more cadets to actually do practical flying than happens now, as it would be local, rather than miles and miles away and no correlation to say PPL.

It is Air Experience Flying not Flying Training. If you want a PPL go to a flying school and give them your cash. AEF flying is designed to provide the opportunity to do something different (and hence the AEF fleet isn’t a bunch of aged Cessna 152s) in a relatively limited timeframe and expose them a little more to a military type operation. With a few thousand flying hours under my belt I’m glad I took the opportunity to do a variety of flying (a bit of aeros, some sightseeing) on my cadet AEF sorties, not half of Effects of Controls 2 and Straight and Level 1 each time.


Mmm, the problem being finding someone to take over the job. That’s the perfect recipe for an extension.


And, that is the problem, anybody looking at the situation as an applicant would a) ask themselves do I want to take on such a shambles as 2FTS and by default the AOC RAFAC within HQAC, b) can I do anything with it in the short to medium term and what skeletons will fall out of the cupboards or dare I lift any carpets up c) do I want to work for such an organisation?

Simple questions any applicant for the job has to ask themselves, if they can have 2FTS placed directly under the command OC 22 Gp rather than AOC RAFAC and HQAC then an applicant may emerge but nobody should hold their breath.


if you contract flying schools to give AEF then is that not an income stream for the school in these straitened times and as we both know an aircraft on the ground makes no money, just look at loco airlines and their opertions regieme of very fast turnrounds. .


Another extension you mean? There’s already been one


The point I was trying to get across is that AEF doesn’t give that inspiration to maybe take your flying to the next level, because the people doing it are not from the civilian world and only see the military angle, as such there is no real progression or training to inspire you to take it further. That and dishing out FS is and always has been a points accrued scheme based on how many badges, what rank you are and exams passed. How many bog standard non ranked, non badge encrusted cadets have got a FS? How many of them are “Wing Darlings”?

By doing the flying at a local school, if you feel you have the aptitude you have broken the ice at the local school and if you were interested you could ask or go back and ask about taking it further and not be restricted to the military view of the flying world. We have had two cadets get an FS, but we have had 7 others over the years get their PPL which they had started before or just after starting in the ATC and went to the AEF after. Two of them basically took control after take off and took the instructor for a flight until it was time to land, but they both said they could have done that as well.
What is it “promote a practical interest in aviation”, what more practical interest could you promote than making something thought inaccessible, accessible, ie some kid off the estate cajoling parents and family to buy them lessons and getting their PPL, rather than never getting a look in for a FS as they probably won’t stay in long enough to get enough points and yet there they opening up a potential career. Which is what happened 3 of the 7 I mentioned. They do flying as a job and one of them is now a flying instructor themselves at a flying school near to where he lives.


That quote is sooooo wrong. 95% of our chaps are civilian airline pilots with a previous military background.

We have 3 with no previous military flying experience and 1 who is currently an instructor at a civilian flying school.


Do they encourage cadets or speak to them about potential careers?

With military is becoming increasingly reduced and more selective, the non military path has to be spoken about more and more across all aspects of aviation.


I’m sure they do