Old equipment and pay for volunteers

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The cadets, a voluntary youth group supported by the Army but not part of it, were praised by Defence Minister Dr Andrew Murrison. Speaking in the Commons, he said: “It is a wonderful thing for our communities to have cadets. I have seen them in my own constituency and they are an important part of the local fabric, supporting occasions from Remembrance Sunday to armed forces day and beyond, and we are very lucky to have them indeed.”

However, Dr Murrison admitted his own time in the cadets was less enjoyable than that of Mr Sunderland. He recalled: "I remember joining the Air Cadets briefly. I was told I was going to fly aircraft.

“After about two months it dawned on me that wasn’t going to happen, and it was going to be marching up and down for as long as I could put up with it, which wasn’t very long.”

“So I have to say I departed company from cadets much sooner than he did, but there it is.”

Embarrassing, but realistically true.

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If only he was in a position to influence things and change it so that flying happens


Accurate for today, less so for when he would have been a cadet, I would say.

His cadet days would have been during the height of the cold war, when defence spending was fairly decent, and we had 13 AEFs flying Chipmunks every day of the week. They even went on detachments to service annual camps etc

I joined in the 90’s and I managed to rack up quite a few AEF sorties, as well as gliding, and a load of Back seat sorties in C130’s, Nimrods, etc on annual camps. And I would consider my Sqn to be absolutely average with regards to flying.


Yeah, good point that I hadn’t actually considered.

Maybe someone should let him know that if he thought it was bad ‘back in the day’ that it’s 10(0?)x worse now.


I left in 2011 having joined in ~'07 ish. No flights in anything other than a Tutor, but I did manage to rack up around 8 hours of time in the seat. And I was far from a model cadet.
Absolute apples and oranges for squadrons for flying allocations even that recently. My missus was a cadet from '09ish to about '14 and i don’t think she got as many hours as me. Although she did get more flight time in a Chinook than i didn’t until about August last year, which is odd considering I’ve worked them since 2013…
In hindsight, squadrons I was a part of might have been unusual for the amount of hours.


FTFY :wink:

I joined in 2001, left in 2006.

Flying and gliding were regular for me; multiple times per year. I ended up with 2 gliding scholarships (the first one consisted of only 1 flight because it snowed all week) and a flying scholarship in a microlight from RAF Halton - where I also managed to blag a flight in someone’s private Chipmunk.

Our squadron used to assist with a show at a local airfield, and the members would take us all up for flights in whichever aircraft happened to be there on the day.

So even the few years between you & I seem to have led to massive differences which have only exacerbated with time.


Ditto - joined in 98. Bulldog flights and later Tutor flights a couple of times a year at the local AEF, plus pretty much a guarenteed flight AEF at camp - soaround 3/4 flights a year. Gliding was also big, with around 4/5 slots a year and it being unusual for a senior cadet not to have a gliding scholarship to Blue Wings. Most cadets got Silver (solo) wings. I was also lucky enough to do an AEF Flying Scholarship.

Plus - I think, apart from fast jets, I had flow in every RAF aircraft going - Herc, Nimrod, TriStar, Chinook, Seaking, Griffin, Squirrel, Jetstream, Dominie. Certainly was better back then.


Sounds like he didn’t even give it long enough to get through recruit training. Whether its on the staff that didn’t explain or his own attitude/perception but it reads a bit like he was on of those kids who expected to turn up one night and be flying the next weekend.

When I joined in the late 80s it was common to join at 13y 3m knowing you couldn’t do a lot of stuff, including flying and gliding before 13y 9m, and there were minimum requirements eg first class, though being a kid at the time do not know if that was local rules, he gave it 2 months and back then every sqn I knew spent most of that time getting drill to a good standard so seems fair he was doing a lot of it


Which one…?

Given they’re the same Wing; All of the above? :laughing:


I joined in 2000 for 7 years managed 13 AEF tutor flights, a solo GS with the Vigilant with several flights with them and a flight in a Sea King on my 1st camp. Its crazy how much that number has dropped


Lost count of the number of trips to Abingdon for AEF in the early 80s…
Although since we always got the AM slots more than 50% of them ended with us leaving at lunchtime as the fog lifted and the PM crews got airborne…

But we had fun in the crew room playing uckers and making the staff lots of tea with laxative tea bags

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The annual allocation of powered flights for Air Cadets has always been one a year per cadet since the first AEF flying Airspeed Oxfords was founded in WWII: the ATC was an enormous organisation then: even now, with 40,000 cadets and 12 AEFs (or thereabouts) the chances of flying any more than that is limited.

It’s gliding that’s died as we knew it: I was a cadet in Kent Wing, and we could do a Gliding Scholarship at West Malling or RAF Manston. I’m in Scotland and N Ireland Region now, which has just one place - Kirknewton - to cover the entire region, or two whole countries, to put it another way.

I think this suggestion from the MP will swiftly be consigned to File 13 along with the other recent suggestion of the UK forming a ‘Citizens’ Army.’ All these great ideas cost pots of money which we don’t have. Also, for the latter suggestion, the British Army no longer has the training resources to do such a thing: when I was in the army in the 1980s, each Regiment and Corps (or ‘Cap Badge,’ to use the modern phrase) had its own training depot. All of them were working long days every day of the week to produce thousands of trained soldiers. Now there’s only one depot - the Army Training Regiment - training all the ‘Cap Badges’ in mixed troops of recruits before they go off to trade training.

What we as CFAV have to consider, were we in a parallel universe where the UK Government did want to invest more money and military equipment into its cadet forces, is what is the Aim of this venture? All of the UK’s cadet forces are muddling along as well as can be expected as things stand: there’s no improvement which can made just by throwing money and gear at us. It’s increased time put in by volunteers that would be needed to get the best out of such largesse, and we are all putting in as much as we would like to right now.

The Aim in this case would most likely be to encourage more cadets to join the UK Armed Forces, through each cadet corps stated aims, in our case being developing the practical interest in aviation, training useful for service & civvy life, leadership & adventure etc. This could also tie in the cadet corps to national defence and emergency resilience.

Well, I’d be quite happy to serve more days per year as an instructor in some sort of ‘Maggie Youth’ (which my old man called us back in the deepest, darkest 3 million unemployed/Sink the Belgrano/neunundneunzig Luftballons early 1980s), but they’d have to pay me a competitive 21st century going rate for that. :uk::v::nerd_face:

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Joined in 2019, and still an older cadet SNCO. One 20 min in a tutor. Errr, and that’s it.

Edit. And one short up and down in a Juno.
But I have been able to sit in a few cockpits…

Well, as discussed elsewhere, the gliding footprint could easily be enlarged by looking at options that offer better value for money (in most geographical areas?) - scrap VGS & apportion £XXXX per cadet to local BGS sites.

I wonder if there are other activities that might benefit in a similar way?


TBH at the moment there is no kit to give us…

Have you noticed the complete absence of MTP smocks on most Kit Shops and Field Textiles web site has disappeared!!

What little there is seems to be going elsewhere

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Similar experiences here. Also joined in 2019 and so far have 19 minutes glider flight time and a Chinook flight.

Disbandment of half of our VGS in 2016 was an utter disaster for the RAFAC. Another warning today that Britain needs to prepare for war with someone or other. Preparation needs to start with the youth. There has to be a massive government recruitment drive for both cadets and adult volunteers, as well as for regular and reserve forces. As things stand, blogs and his kids would be mad to join the RAFAC without significant taxpayer investment in the UK’s cadet forces. WW3 warning as defence chief warns UK 'must start preparing army now' | UK | News | Express.co.uk

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