When it comes to flying, even the Brownies are ahead of the ACO

Hopefully have the potential 200,000 girls started on this in the first year sponsered by Easyjet.

There is a huge potential in this programme for the whole Guiding movement through all ages to offer something that we struggle to.

It’s bad enough that Cubs get more shooting than cadets do, now it seems that at not too much of a stretch we will have our USP stolen, as we rely far too much on the military to deliver and bound too much to imposed military rules/regs.


‘USP stolen’ I think not, more let go by a lack of lateral thinking and an unwillingness of the ACO to think’out of the box’. I raised this idea at a meeting and the usual thing, it’s not thought about, safety etc. If the civil industry was unsafe there would many daily aircraft incidents. When you consider the numbr of aircraft flown in the UK each day, the major risk is getting to the airport and that includes getting cadets to the AEF site…

initiative, thinking out of the box, blue sky thinking, cutting mum’s apron strings, taking a chance and all the other things required for an organisation / business to develop and remain relevant are sadly lacking in the Air Cadets hierarchy. Look around at the business world and it is littered with names that haven’t taken a chance or ignored developments in their industry. Take mobile phones Nokia and Motorola once big names, didn’t invest, develop etc and now are bit players. The leader of cadet forces are lucky because they don’t need to show one iota of initiative, doing so would mean jeopardising a gong.
This example by the Brownies although it seems they are tapping into something that already exists and it is aimed at girls, where is the little bit of a spark in the ACO to maybe tap into it for female cadets and sell it that way. But and here is the fatberg blocking our drain, military influence. To make this work, it would mean loosening the military grip purely on the premise that the military are the font of all knowledge. As Bob says commercial operators are safe, how long would it take just the main operators to fly more journeys than the RAF, Army and Navy combined? They probably train more pilots than the MOD do in the same period and these will be charged with flying thousands of paying customers, which will include many service personnel for business and pleasure, yet we are stuck to military flying because they are more professional, safer and all others are supposedly the equivalent of putting your head in the mouth of lion.


Nothing new, scouts have had Aviation badges for years. Just looking at my 1993 copy of the proficiency badges handbook and they had the following

Junior Airman
Leading Airman
Master Airman
Air Researcher
Air Spotter


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Maplins and Toys r Us folded because they did not evolve and look at the competition. I know two specialist shops where I live, one sells model railways and one a scuba dive shop. The model railway shop last year moved premsis to a large industrial unit with a showroom and last year had a £5.5 million turnover and the dive shop thrives, why, because they play to their strengths, have excellent customer service and a very big on-line presence. If you orderon line in the morning, despatched the same day.

The ACO has lost its way and in particular its USP, in the words of Lord sugar ‘your fired’.

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That’s as maybe, but the Guides are tapping into something that could be advantageous to us.
Carol V made a noise about getting girls interested in aviation when she was brought in to ocassionally flounce around in a uniform and here is effectively an opportunity missed for something with the potential to benefit at the practical level, we are currently missing in many parts of the country. The ACMB should be using our honorary ranked people to open doors and then go for the kill. I’m pretty certain having Carol V turn up at Easy Jet in uniform with some cadets in tow for a few choice phrases and photos, would have been a good in. But it needs someone with a bit in initiative and not just anxious to up their FB and Twit count.
Anything like this has to be regarded as an opportunity missed and just shows what can be tapped into, in the commercial world, ie no expense to the tax-payer.
A few ‘super camps’ don’t cut it afaic.

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Teflon: the main problem as I see it, is that many at the top of the ACO have never ‘been outside the fence’ into the commercial big wide world, in a word they are institutionalised. They have served a full career in the RAF then gone onto FTRS within the ACO, many have, for many years if at all not lived in the inner cities except London. They have I’m afraid to say little idea of the streets in our inner cities and in fact the ACO through the ATC appears to be withdrawing into the ‘nice areas’, look at the map atthe top of this site. just having the CCF in the inner cities just does not fill the gap (no disrespect to the CCF).

Having Carol Vorderman is all very well, but unless you have a far wider exposure outside having celebrities is immaterial to the future.

I raised the suggestion of contacting the civil aviation world and I have many contacts there and was told it wasn’t possible due to insurance etc.

The ACO has to evolve or die.

Fixed that.

I get the feeling that a lot of the hold ups are due to what the RAF / MoD / Gov will allow those higher ups to decide.

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If the question is never asked then how can a decision be made. The ACO in the ‘modern’ world has to evolve or it will die. Young people now have far more things in their lives and the USP is slowly or not so slowly degrading.

From what I’ve seen and heard the ACO is unwilling to communicate with the commercial world.

It’s not just cities it’s all towns with their diverse and many fold problems, they’ve had no contact with.

The shameful aspect of having people like Carol V is they don’t get used. We live in a world of celebrity and people respond to these, I’m not sure CAC cuts the mustard. Some old geezer from a big business getting the chance to stand next to CV in a grip and grin would go down well.

The underlying problem with communicating with the commercial world is it cuts their mates still in the bubble out of the equation. As said with our USP degrading unless someone develops some kahunas and says to 22 Gp or whoever you are not providing us with what we need, we are going to seek this outside the MOD, nothing will happen. Not that, that conversation would ever happen as too many chances to be taken off the good boy/girl gong list. We live in a world where choice and opportunity to choose it at everyone’s fingertips and if you don’t as a business deliver, you won’t be in business. Why should we be from as I see it keeping people in the RAF in jobs, when they aren’t delivering for the young people who join.


you missed Sir Chris Hoy in that…

You’re fired for grammar! :stuck_out_tongue:

Don’t the MOD self-insure? Like the NHS do?

yes they do…

…but would they insure Cadets flying with the BGA?
not without an inspection first by 2FTS anyway!

they self insure having trained those they are insuring, on vehicles they maintain themself.

going down the civil aviation route removes any “ownership” by the MOD and thus assurance everything is above board to then offer insurance…

But you can operate under the suppliers insurance.
We do it when using AT providers. If we want to use one of these we get their documentation, stick it on SMS and the cadets have a bloody good time.
The question that needs to be answered is what are the real reasons for not going down the commercial route for flying if insurance is there and they tick the technical boxes required.

Looking at this, would the MOD really let Easy Jet offer and run training for cadets, given they aren’t keen on using commercial operators for flying?

Commercial operators used for AT and training and other work, why are the ACO not willing to look at alternatives.

Remember many cadets in the holidays flyon the same commercial operators

I can understand some areas of concerns for Joe Bloggs offering to take cadets flying in his ancient C150, that’s held together with speed tape…

However, to invoke MAA requirements, on whatever grounds they are trying to use, for CAA-approved flying clubs is (to say the least) “sub-optimal.” Such clubs have to regularly update the CAA with related details for aircraft / airworthiness / insurance / instructors / supervisory aspects, etc, or risk losing their approval. They are audited by the CAA too.

To me, it seems to be an element of protectionism.



The civil commercial aviation sector is very highly regulated if not greater than the MoD sector. As you say is there an elelment of protectionism, if there is, who is being protected?

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Both valid points and a big part of the argument for for units wanting to use BGA clubs…yet HQRAFAC still says no…go figure!