Lack of AEF for NI and NW England


A thought came into my head. Since there are currently no RAF stations in Northern Ireland that offer Air Experience Flight(1), though there are plans to start at JHS Aldergrove, does that mean cadets in Northern Ireland fly over to Great Britain to do their AEF? Does this mean some squadrons are at a disadvantage because they cannot afford flights. Is AEF actually even common for cadets in Northern Ireland?


Cadets from northern Oreland were flying at Leuchars this week, Until the weather closed in.

I think they travelled over on a coach and stayed on base


We typically fly over to Liverpool for a day and head to 10 AEF at Woodvale but since all flying is currently a no go this month the cadets are travelling to Leuchars via coach for two days. There has been a lot of problems with this as nearly half the cadets weren’t allowed to fly but can’t go into the details as to why. Our Wing is allocated extra money every year for flying or boating us over to the mainland. Not sure how it will work now until Woodvale is back up and running but each sqn is allocated one slot per year and if lucky may get a second during the year


How does one drive a coach across the Irish Sea? :joy:


With big water wings and an even bigger rubber ring…

And all the cadets pass some RYA course :+1:


If they’re going on a ferry do they need to have a swimming proficiency certificate?


They just need to wear a buoyancy aid and helmet for the journey.


Why not? Admin issue? AEF issue? Learning point to be made?


Probably had the wrong kind of socks on.


Funnily enough I heard of that for the first time last week. Never come across it before.


Nice they redirect you, as everyone else under 10 AEF has been sidelined with no date of funding becoming available for a full resurface. No gliding, no flying, RAC riddled with more viruses than a Guatemalan street worker.


'Tis true sadly. As far as I’m aware, command has said that it’s 22Gp that need to fund the resurface of the runway as it’s not in the command budget until 2020/21. I can see OC 22Gp’s face now :thinking: We are hoping that funding will be found sooner rather than later as the only runway left is getting battered and is starting to fail in some areas.

If we can get the main repaired, we don’t need the short as there are more EFATO options on the main and we can fly cadets again.

Fingers crossed that we get the go ahead before October otherwise the weather becomes too bad to lay tarmac.

We are looking at options but none are favourable at this time. As far as I’m aware.

I’ve spoken to the RFGLOs who will be sending out an email to the Wing Commanders in their regions. I have asked them to pass it up the chain as well as down.

Not great news I know but that’s all I have right now.


Considering the width and length, a rough back of the fag packet estimation puts the cost at removal, disposal of chippings, resurface, re-install lights, lining at circa £1.5M. Maybe a cool Mil. Then depending if the contractors can fit it into their schedule.

So, first, someone has to stump up the cash. Sorry, no cash, that attracts those who lay your drivaeway cheaply.
Second, contractor scheduling. There’s not many approved contractors on the MoD list for runway surfacing. And given the cost it may have to go to OJEU for tending.

I’ll place my bet now, as for return to cadet flying, around middle-late 2018.


I think that is optimistic. Given the current economic climate, who is going to sign off on a several million pound contract to resurface a runway which is used mainly for UAS and Cadets? I do hope I’m wrong!


What’s a RFGLO?

Have RGLOs had ‘flying’ added to the job description?


There are runways in Cosford and Linton. Move there until they close.

Or is that to easy


I assume we are talking about the Region Aviation Officers (Wg Cdr) RAvnO for short previously the GO (when gliding had no go :joy:)


I think you need to minimise travelling given the meteorological and other frailties associated with flying. I really am not looking forward to the new model for gliding, which has the potential to waste a lot of time and money, without the guarantee of getting airborne. Don’t give any of playing on a flight sim BS as being a substitute.

It’s bad enough travelling 2-3 hours and not getting a go, after being told come up. Travel further and get that and you wouldn’t be a happy puppy.


Can they not decamp to another airfield in the locality?

Why not transit to Blackpool each day, and operate from there?


Not too sure what you mean? If it Sqn’s moving, I don’t think that’s viable due to transport times. If it’s pilots, most of our pilots live in the Manchester area and Cosford is a little too far for them to travel.

I’m sure that everyone is trying as hard as they can to find a solution.