Flying

#1
Does the TA still operate active AAC units? Just wondered.
 
C

cloudbuster

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#2
You might be better off asking on the Aviation board. Someone there may have current info, although you'll probably have to wade through some other crap too.
 
#4
They're still advertising on ArmyNet. They're listing 655 at Middle Wallop and 677 at Bury St Edmunds.

655 Sqn says, "The squadron recently celebrated its first birthday, having formed on 4 August 2009...All in all, a very positive first year for the Squadron. Here's to the next 12 months!"

It seems a clue that 4 months ago they weren't expecting to be disbanded...

No flying, though. It's a groundcrew role.
 
#5
But ex regular aicrcrew can still fly? Is there (or was there) an AAC(V) unit with regular/ex regular aircrew and TA maintainers/ground crew?
 
#6
But ex regular aicrcrew can still fly? Is there (or was there) an AAC(V) unit with regular/ex regular aircrew and TA maintainers/ground crew?
Not any more (a couple of special cases of NRPS). Since the demise of 7 Regt(V) and the indep Flights, we do not have any TA pilots. As puttee mentions, 655 and 677 are groundcrew only AAC TA units.
 
#7
Groundcrew roles only at 6 Regt in support of the Regular AAC - no LSNs/PIDs for aircrew, though we have a couple of ex-Regular pilots on the books.

We went through the same squeeze as the rest of the TA last year. Whether we survive the review of the Reserves is debatable...
FP
 
#8
The reason I asked was because I remember an unofficial comment from a senior RN bod last March, suggesting that it was possible post SDSR that the Reserve forces could take over capabilities not needed right now, since than we've had the SDSR and the loss of our current fixed wing naval aviation. There was/is a proposal that the RNR Air Branch could take some of these aircraft personnel - as they're all ex WAFU types and include aircrew.

From the Telegraph, 15 December 2010:

Navy Chiefs’ plan to save jump jets

A last-ditch attempt has been made by the Royal Navy to save Harriers from the axe, with a proposal to allow reservist pilots to fly them.

As the last flight of the jump jets takes place at RAF Cottesmore today a plan, said to be backed by the First Sea Lord, has been put forward to preserve a rump of 20 Harriers.

Navy chiefs have warned of an “unbridgeable skills gap” for pilots needed to fly the Joint Strike Fighter off the new aircraft carriers that will come into service in 2020 if carrier training is stopped. Without the ability to fly off carriers for the next 10 years, Navy pilots will lose the skill of landing on rolling decks in bad weather and deck crews will not get the practice they needed to safely launch and recover aircraft.

The decision to scrap the Harrier in favour of the RAF’s Tornados in the strategic defence review infuriated the Navy.

But hopes of saving the Harrier, of which there are 65 serviceable aircraft in total, will be raised at a meeting of the defence board in January.

A proposal will be made to allow Royal Navy Reserve pilots to continue flying the planes at weekends from Yeovilton, Somerset.

Senior naval officers say the RAF is rushing to retire the Harriers to make the defence review decision a “fait accompli” before alternatives are put in place.
See also here: Decision to axe Harrier is "bonkers". - Page 9 - PPRuNe Forums
 
#9
That's given me a money-saving idea. MoD could save a fortune on helicopter aircrew training by doing the theoretical stuff midweek using civilian instructors. Civvy instructors always cost peanuts when compared to their military counterparts. The practical stuff could be taught at weekends by TA instructors. Obviously, they'd have to have increased MTDs but it'll still be cheaper to pay 2 days per week instead of 7.

The instructors would necessarily have to be suitably experienced - initially they'd be drawn from the ranks of the existing training staff (might have to create some redundancies to make up the numbers) and later from a TA instructor course using a core of ex-Regular aircrew.

Considering the savings that would be made (accommodation, medical, welfare, salaries, etc), what's not to like? ^_~
 
#10
Or we could send them to the USN/USMC Bug squadrons, like we have been doing so, thus remaining operationally current in a big deck environment. Hell, we could send some chockheads as well, so the FDO and CotFD know what they're doing.

Hang on, what's that, we are already doing this....?!
 
#11
I think the proposal was less to do with Pilots or deck personnel high up the food chain such as FDO or CFD as it was to do with everyone else who will suffer skill fade, both on the flight deck and elsewhere (ME watchkeepers in the SCO for example).

My personal view is that any capability is better than none, and Reservists could be mobilised for exercises or war.

BTW here is a link to the RNR Air Branch Magazine 2010 (PDF). Also in HTML format.

With the review of the Reserve Forces coming up, is maintaining capabilities not currently utilised on operations a possible selling point?
 
#12
Not any more (a couple of special cases of NRPS). Since the demise of 7 Regt(V) and the indep Flights, we do not have any TA pilots. As puttee mentions, 655 and 677 are groundcrew only AAC TA units.
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but "TA pilots" is a bit of a misnomer, isn't it ? I thought the only way to fly in 7 Regt was to be an ex-regular pilot. I must admit to being puzzled as to why the AAC binned this pool of talent, I don't get the impression that they're heaving with experienced pilots at the moment. Maybe they don't need any reserves ?
 
#13
Maybe they've got more pilots than the number of helicopters we can afford? And, unlike fixed wing aircraft, the pilots don't wear parachutes...
 
#14
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but "TA pilots" is a bit of a misnomer, isn't it ? I thought the only way to fly in 7 Regt was to be an ex-regular pilot. I must admit to being puzzled as to why the AAC binned this pool of talent, I don't get the impression that they're heaving with experienced pilots at the moment. Maybe they don't need any reserves ?
S'funny you should say that binning (what was) 7 Regt(V) is puzzling cos most of us thought exactly the same too. Their role was far from what most imagined. Certainly not just the Generals taxi as is often presumed but they had a vital role. They were responsible for most UK mainland tasking and quite often support the Bdes and Divs in Germany.

One of the other roles they fulfilled was carrying out NVG day time recces for JHC. Our rules state that we have to carry out a day time recce of a night time route within a certain time period prior to the NVG sortie. More often than not, the route is one that is flown regularly but for safetys sake just in case someone has stuck up a wind farm or other obstacle on the route, it needs to be recced. A time consuming activity and doesn't really give the crews too much in the way of quality training. Not to mention burning airframe hours off too.

7 Regt would conduct these recces for JHC (CH47, Merlin, Puma, Lynx and AH) in their Gazelles. Made financial sense if nowt else. As for the crews. Yep, all ex reg AAC pilots under a TA contract. Cheap as chips. Most if not all only needed to maintain day currency so the actual airframe hours they were flying off the Gazelles wasn't that much chasing full currencies (Night, NVG, IF etc).

But I suppose the AAC had to give something up in way of cost cutting (Netheravon being a large part of that equation) and 7 Regt seemed the easiest choice (so as not to jeopardise losing reg units). At the time, Gazelle was going to be totally retired by about 2012 anyway*. We gave up 7 Regt and the UK indep flights as well as Nethers. JHC are now finding that airframe hours on their fleet is on the up and its due in no small part to their UK tasking increasing. In my opinion, a short sighted chop that we will never be able to revitalise once things settle down.

* Gazelle will remain in service for the foreseeable future! Its cheap and does a great job. Nowt else is able to replace it.
 
#15
I've now fixed the link to the RNR Air Branch magazine.

Flashy

Why is there no TA equivalent?
 
#17
To using ex regular personnel as reservists to support aviation..
 
#18
To using ex regular personnel as reservists to support aviation..
We do, I believe, still have a couple of NRPS types but I'm guessing once their contracts are up, they will be no more. The problem is with using reservists, they would need to maintain full currency (TA pilots of old tended to only be Day/VMC only) so the training/currency burden would be the same as a reg pilot. Dont know what role they would be able to fulfil now either?
 
#19
AH groundies in 6 Regt have enough trouble maintaining currency, especially in the current economic climate when MTDs are very strictly rationed. Far more things with an Apache than a Gazelle that bite if not respected !
 
#20
Any thoughts oin the Volunteer Reserves being used to keep certain capabilities alive?
 

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