Air Cadet glid­ing

Pilot - - AIRMAIL -

Dave Unwin is right to high­light the lack of pow­ered fly­ing and glid­ing cur­rently pro­vided to air cadets. Whether it is the fault of HQ Air Cadets or the Min­istry of De­fence is a moot point. I sus­pect it was the bean-coun­ters at the MOD who took the de­ci­sion to out­source the ser­vic­ing of the air­craft; it ap­pears that ser­vic­ing record-keep­ing was very poor, so who­ever had to sign to say the fleets were air­wor­thy would not do so, re­sult­ing in the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion. It is ironic that Dave should sug­gest as so­lu­tion the out­sourc­ing of the pro­vi­sion of glid­ing to the BGA and the RAF Glid­ing and Soar­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, when it was the out­sourc­ing of ser­vic­ing which led to the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion.

It must be re­mem­bered the Ven­ture Glid­ing Schools are part of the RAF and there­fore are po­liced by the RAF. Why would the RAF set lower stan­dards for glid­ing in­struc­tors than for its reg­u­lar pi­lots? One cadet killed or in­jured in a fly­ing ac­ci­dent is one cadet too many, hence the reg­u­lar checks of per­son­nel in­volved in fly­ing cadets.

In 1987 I was taught to fly at an RAFaf­fil­i­ated fly­ing club which was run then on a fairly in­for­mal ba­sis. Re­cently I re­joined the same club to find that it had be­come quite bu­reau­cratic with a for­mal out- and in-brief sys­tem for each flight. Af­ter many years of pretty in­for­mal GA fly­ing, this came as quite a shock. How­ever, I have come to ap­pre­ci­ate that this bu­reau­cracy adds to flight safety. I now make fewer mistakes than I did in the in­for­mal GA en­vi­ron­ment. Maybe af­ter a cen­tury of fly­ing, the RAF has de­vel­oped the right ap­proach to flight safety? I cer­tainly be­lieve so.

RAF Sy­er­ston might be ‘gold plat­ing’ but if it avoids a sin­gle fly­ing ac­ci­dent I would sug­gest it rep­re­sents value for money. The pro­vi­sion of Typhoonqua­l­ity fly­ing kit does seem a lit­tle OTT but I won­der if it is PWS (part-worn ser­vice­able) handed down from failed trainee pi­lots. Dave will be pleased that the Sy­er­ston staff are not is­sued with anti-g suits!

As a for­mer air cadet who ex­pe­ri­enced three flights within six months of join­ing, I re­ally feel sorry for to­day’s cadets who might not get a sin­gle flight within a year or so of join­ing what is the best youth or­gan­i­sa­tion in the world. I was for­tu­nate as my first flight in a Chip­munk was with Group Cap­tain Wil­lie Tait of the Tir­pitz fame and the sec­ond, just six weeks later, was with the CO of the Black Arrows aer­o­batic team, who in­tro­duced me to aer­o­bat­ics in a flight last­ing nearly an hour. When we landed I was well and truly hooked on fly­ing. Ian Lind­sey, by email

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