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NEWSLETTER

INTRODUCTION

It may appear to have been a pretty quiet year to date but the role of CFS has meant the team have been kept very busy despite the Tutor fleet being temporarily grounded again. Last summer, a Grob Tutor suffered a total electrics and flight instruments failure whilst in IMC (there are no suction instruments). The problems were further exacerbated by the cockpit filling with acrid smoke and the intercom failing. The actions of the pilot (a civilian contractor) drew praise from all corners of the training arena. Whilst we are all justifiably proud of our mantra ‘our teaching is everlasting’ and share the belief that CFS sets the gold standard, we can rest assured that this contractor acted bravely and with consummate professionalism that would more than match the actions of a regular. In order to save the aircraft, he was forced to descend through 4000 feet of solid cloud using only the ASI, the altimeter and the slip ball, successfully positioning the aircraft for a visual forced landing at RAF Syerston. Thankfully, the contractor was a very experienced instructor, who had been delivering EFT non-stop at RAF Barkston Heath and RAF Cranwell for nearly 20 years. The Service cannot match this level of currency and continuity. With this episode, and with115(R) and the other training squadrons struggling to man all of their posts, the role of the contractor had been reinforced and has silenced many detractors. Forensic analysis following the incident by SMEs from 115 (R) and HQ CFS confirmed that the decisions made by the contractor were extremely sound and made whilst exhibiting exceptional levels of handling and airmanship; some admitting that they might have abandoned the aircraft in the circumstances.

At the last reunion, the Commandant CFS updated the CFSA on the progress and implementation of MFTS. It is clear (not just from the example above but by the reduced QFI throughput in general) that we cannot survive without the contribution made by our contractors. The skill is getting the right calibre of civilian instructor in the first place. By exploiting regular visits to SEAF and the Bi-annual CFS Exam Wing ‘trap ride’ we are able to mould these contractors in the CFS way. Individualism is encouraged but we all must acknowledge that this new breed of instructor can bring a lot to the table. In the future, the Ascent team (MoD’s main partner for delivery of MFTS) will be responsible for the delivery of instructor training on the new platforms (Hawk T2 and Grob 120 TP- EFT Platform has yet to be confirmed). However, HQ CFS will continue to play a pivotal role in the selection, training and validation of the candidates.

NEW JOINERS

We have welcomed some new joiners this year (some from the Rotary community too). Wing Commander Darren Arch (ex OC Exam Wg HQ CFS)
Sqn Leader Ian Lakin (ex OC Elementary Examiners)
Lieutenant David-John Gibbs Royal Navy (Currently SEAF and CFS Waterfront with 115(R))
Major David Oddy, Australian Defence Force. (Former Lieutenant Commander RN, A1 QHI at RAF Shawbury and currently acting as CFS Rep/Agent in Australia).* Awaiting final acceptance.
LEAVERS

I don’t normally run an obituary column, but it is with great sadness I learned that we lost Bob Belton earlier this year (acknowledged as the ‘Father of the Association’ by our Patron at last year’s reunion dinner). Bob first joined the staff of CFS in 1947 and during his tenure flew everything on the inventory from light piston through multi-engine to fast jet. He embodied the true spirit of the Association, and will be sadly missed

PREVIOUS CFSA REUNION - 2014

The AGM took place in York House Officers Mess. The minutes of that meeting, together with a Statement of Accounts, are published on the CFSA Website.

CFSA REUNION – 23 JULY 2015

The 2015 AGM and Graduation Dinner will be held in the York House Officers Mess (YHOM).

Run plan for the day: a. Coffee will be available in York House Officers Mess (YHOM) from 1030hrs.

b. AGM commences around 1100hrs.

c. Lunch (Pay as you dine) 1200 - 1300hrs (NB all of the ISS catering effort will be at the airfield). In the afternoon, The Commandant of the Royal Air Force College; Air Commodore Chris Luck MBE, ADC, has extended an invitation to the Association to attend the RAF Cranwell Families Day. There are currently no plans for a CFS(A) tent, as it is anticipated that we will be granted access to a guest area to watch a flying display that includes the Red Arrows.

d. Bar facilities open in YHOM from 1700hrs.

e. CFSA Photograph and Pre-Dinner Drinks will commence at 1900hrs. The Reunion dinner will follow, with CFSA members joining the graduating QFI students and CFS staff to celebrate the Association Reunion and the completion of the CFS (FW) course.
Despite our best efforts, ISS tell us that there is no ‘on base’ accommodation available this summer. We are currently negotiating a corporate rate with the Belton Woods Hotel but the best deal is undoubtedly at the Travel Lodge in Sleaford (£36-£47). Please see Enclosure 2 for information on how to book Belton Woods, and for details of other hotels/guest houses in the area. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer Service transport to/from RAF Cranwell, as this falls outside the MT contract. However, should there be sufficient demand; we will book a private contractor (from Association funds) for one return journey during the evening to/from the main hub chosen by members.

In line with last year’s arrangements (and as agreed at the 2010 AGM), we now require payment in advance to attend the Reunion. We estimate that this year’s Reunion excluding accommodation) will cost up to £50 per person (this might change depending on the number of courses for the Dinner, Coffee, Light Lunch (PAYD), and Staff costs). As agreed at the last AGM, the Reunion fund will provide a buffer for any additional or unexpected costs; however; it will also benefit from any overpayments. For those of you who do not require the whole package, the approximate cost breakdown is as follows: Morning Coffee - Free
Light Lunch - PAYD
Dinner - £45 Accommodation off base - £36-110* *We are currently awaiting a last ditch effort to reduce the cost of a room at the Belton Woods Hotel.
(Please note that the above figures include all staffing costs etc).
Cancellation Charges As agreed at the 2010 AGM, cancellations will attract a fee to cover losses to the Fund. For 2015, they are as follows: Cancellations prior to 20 June 15 £15.00
10 – 2 days prior to the event: £15.00 - £30 (Depending on Contractor’s cancellation charges)
Less than 2 days prior to the event: Full Fee
The staff at HQ CFS can no longer undertake all aspects of the organisation of the Reunion; to use Crown Servants on “non-core” activities is no longer permitted, so please do not contact Judith Cross directly with requests. Several organisations are involved with the RAFC Cranwell Families Day, so please keep the Hon Sec as the focus for CFS(A) activities. The station and CFS are also hosting up to 30 Honourable Company of Air Pilot (HCAP) guests as well as us, so please be patient. You will note that the address to return your application form has changed. Details are at the bottom of the form.

We are hoping for a good turn-out this year, but acknowledge that the lack of on base accommodation may deter some. If you wish to attend, we would be grateful if you would return the attached form with your cheque for the appropriate amount as soon as possible and preferably no later than 20 June – or by email if you wish, to Adrian.hands@babcockinternational.com sending your cheque in the mail. Late applications will be treated sympathetically, and we shall do our best to fit you in, within the limits of what is possible. For those who are attending, we shall acknowledge your application by email. I would be grateful if you could arrive at the guardroom from 1030 hrs, where a pass will be waiting.

COMMUNICATION WITH CFSA MEMBERS

The Hon Sec remains the conduit for CFS(A) business, either by e-mail or the website. Those members who do not have access to an e-mail account will be contacted by post for the foreseeable future. On the topic of the web-site, the Association is also indebted to Sqn Ldr Jim Gardiner, who has run the site as a volunteer for some time. He is happy to continue for the time being, but if any of our computer-savvy brethren are willing to take on this task, then feel free to contact the President, Jim or myself. Unfortunately, we are unable to publish a full membership list containing names and contact details, as this would contravene the Data Protection Act. However, as agreed at the last AGM, selected members with a broad network will get a hard copy to update.

Yours Aye,

Gavin Mackay
President
CFS Association