Lack of AEF for NI and NW England


Either way, considering the “uplift” in AEF numbers would come from the draw down of the EFT fleet, which hadn’t started when the Finnish deal occurred, they wouldn’t necessarily have been being economical with the truth.


Assuming that a Minister is lying to the house is always a good starting point - it saves time…


Given we are now in the new financial year is there any word on the Woodvale runway repair ?


Did hear approx £3 million. If the UAS can operate and they able to use helicopters from the airfield, are they going to pay the cost just for RAFAC?


excuse the ignorance…but how does the UAS flight operations differ to that of the RAFAC? ok so once in the air the elements change but are they not both required X distance of runway to land and take off from?


The suggestion is that only having one runway means that there is no return option in the event of an Engine Failure After Take Off.

The available runway (06/24) has an approach/ climbout the sea (hence the need for life jackets at Woodvale), and is considerably shorter, therefore offering little option to land in a field etc in the event of an EFATO.

Apparently this risk is acceptable to the RAF (including UAS), but not in the risk appetite for AEF flying with cadets.

I believe that 10AEF is soon to have a new OC - let’s hope some pressure can be brought to bear on the situation.

(All above second hand information but from a reliable source)

I sincerely hope that we see AEF in the North West in 2018 - If Woodvale not viable then an alternative needs to be found and any contractual issues overcome to facilitate.


RAF Cosford is not to far away, this would be a great alternative and already has a AEF based there.

Shame it is being sold off and the AEF closed. :roll_eyes:


Designated Duty Holder will not sign it iff and take responsibility for RAFAC cadets.


Having a new OC will not change the current situation. The current Station Commander was also the OC of the AEF and is aware of how important having the runway repaired is.

UAS students are VR and classed as pilots in training therefore less risk. As mentioned before, the DDH will not take the risk of having cadets fly on a runway with less favourable EFATO options which is totally understandable.

Cosford is about an hour and a half away from Woodvale. Some of the units to the south of Woodvale have been serviced by Cosford (many thanks to them) however for some the distance is too far.

We are hoping that normal Ops will resume but please understand that it is at Command level and we are waiting on their decision to release funding.

Once I know more, I will post on here and on our Twitter account @10AEF

Thats the first I’ve heard!!


Incorrect. Roughly half that to have it repaired.


The UAS operate as per my previous post. Visiting helicopters dont need a runway! Its not just the RAFAC that will benefit from a new runway. The UAS’s will benefit, visiting ac will benefit, the Woodvale Owners Group will benefit.

As Woodvale is the only ‘blue’ footprint in the NW, I have it on good assurance that WDV will not be closed. It is well and truly on the keep list.

Please remember that the infrastructure is over 70 years old. Our raging hangar doors are being replaced during the stand down (yes the main hangar is 70 years old!)

The runway has not had a full resurface since the 50’s. It has been slurried several times since then and its the slurry that is failing. The subsurface is perfectly sound.

We are keeping our pilots current and up to speed with training so that when the resurface is complete we can resume as normal.


The airfield side to the south is going, the north training and accommodation is staying.


Surely the risk is the same? An aircraft will stand an equal risk of an EFATO regardless of whether a UAS student is onboard or a cadet ! Do you mean that the risk to UAS cadets is accepted because they are attested and therefore military ?


Are you not getting confused with Colerne where the airfield will close before 2020 (with the UAS possibly merging or relocating with Oxford UAS at Benson or relocating to Kemble and 3 AEF merging with 6AEF also at Benson ?


I have a tendency to agree with you there.

There is no intention to close Cosford at this time.


Essentially yes. An attested UAS student (an adult) undergoing training on a formal syllabus (or even as a pax) is less of a reputational risk should the worst happen (the actual physical risk is obviously - as you point out - no different).


Interesting that 10AEF have tweeted that they are looking for new Flight Staff Cadets - is this a sign that ops are about to restart, or will there be no flights for cadets to staff ?


The pilots brews won’t make themselves, you know…


Babcock can sort that out.


There is always a change of Staffies at this time of year. Some age out as cadets and some go off to Uni.

The intention is to have a new, trained set of staffies in place for when we re-open rather than have a skeleton crew on the first day.