Central Flying School Association
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CFSA Reunion 2016

2016 CFSA REUNION - A very successful 2016 CFSA Reunion took place on 20th October, attended by 18 enthusiastic members and wives. Prior to the AGM, several members took up the offer of an afternoon’s visit to 115(R) Sqn CFS at RAF Wittering, where we were ably hosted by Sqn Ldr Andy Paul and some of his officers. After a crewroom lunch, we were briefed on aspects of current and future flying training, before looking over a couple of aircraft in the hangar, and finishing with a fascinating visit to the Station Heritage Centre and Harrier Museum.
As has been the case in recent years, no on-base accommodation was available to us, and so several members stayed in the Byard’s Leap Lodge and the Sleaford Travelodge, taking advantage of the free transport provided from CFSA funds. In addition to CFS Staff and graduating students, the dinner was also attended by some members of the CFS-affiliated Honourable Company of Air Pilots (several of whom were double-hatted CFSA members). The Guest of Honour was Air Cdre David Cooper, currently with the Military Aviation Authority, and a former OC Exam Wg, who expressed his delight at being “back in the fold”. The evening followed the traditional course of a CFS Graduation Guest Night, with an excellent meal and character-assassinating speeches by the various sqn cdrs. Gp Capt Monahan (the new Comdt CFS) and your President also spoke, before the company rose from the table at a relatively comfortable hour and headed for the bar, where we CFSA members took the opportunity to give all and sundry the benefit of our vast experience, unassailable expertise and razor sharp wit. A good time was had by all… if I remember correctly.
You will read in the Minutes of the AGM the remarks I made about the future of the CFSA. It would be sad to see this Association wither on the vine, and we will keep pressing for on-base accommodation – which seems to be a key element in some members’ decisions about attendance. I am keen that - so long as there are some of us who still wish to get together once a year at CFS – the Association continues.

See you (I hope) next October.





AVM (rtd) Gavin Mackay
Gp Capt Fin Monahan
Sqn Ldr (rtd) Tim Dean
12 other CFSA Members

Comdt CFS
Hon Treasurer

Chairman; acting Hon Sec


1. The Chairman welcomed everyone to the 2016 AGM and Reunion, and thanked the new Comdt for rushing back from the Red Arrows’ Far East Tour specifically to attend the AGM. Since no-one had yet volunteered to take up the vacant position of Hon Sec, the Chairman would also be taking the Minutes, aided by the Hon Treasurer.
2. Many of the members present had earlier in the afternoon taken up the offer of a visit to RAF Wittering, where they had been most ably hosted by OC 115(R) Sqn CFS and his officers to receive briefings on current and future aspects of the flying training system, together with a visit to the Harrier Heritage Centre. All agreed that it had been a most enjoyable and all-too-fleeting experience. The Chairman would be writing to express members’ thanks to OC 115(R) Sqn.







3. The Chairman advised members of transport details for the evening’s dinner.

4. Apologies had been received from Sir Dusty Miller (Patron), Dennis & Cheryl Barber, Olly Knight, Ian Wormald, and Hugh Stark (attended RAF Wittering only).

5. The Minutes of the last meeting were accepted as a true and accurate record.
6. Actions Arising: (Para numbers refer to 2015 AGM Minutes)
(Para 6.): The Hon Treasurer had issued rebates of £25 to all those members who had attended the 2015 Reunion Dinner. One rebate cheque remained uncashed.
(Para 7): The Chairman had appealed, via the CFSA website, for donations of unwanted CFSA cummerbunds. None had been offered to date.
(Para 14): There was still no inkling of any Royal Appointee as Commandant-in-Chief of CFS and Patron of the CFSA. However, the recent presentation of a new Queen’s Colour to CFS had raised awareness of this matter, and the Comdt was hopeful that some progress might yet be made. He would continue to press the Royal Household for action. The Chairman wished The Comdt every success in his endeavours, but confided that he would not be holding his breath..
(Para 18): As expected, it had not proved possible in 2016 to align a CFS Graduation (and CFSA Reunion) with the RAF Cranwell Families Day and the associated flying displays. The same would apply in 2017.







Cmdt CFS

7. The Treasurer supplied printed copies of the CFSA fund balance sheet (enclosed), and talked the members through the various entries. Chiefly as a result of the partial rebates issued following the 2015 Reunion, and the high level of subsidies being implemented for the 2016 event, the current balance of £6,390 was some £750 lower than that at the 2016 AGM. All invoices for the 2016 Reunion had not yet been received, but were estimated to total £980. Overall, members attending all elements of this year’s Reunion were being subsidised by around £33 each.
8. The Chairman noted that these levels of subsidy had been agreed at the 2015 AGM, with the joint aims of reducing the current account balance, and possibly attracting higher levels of attendance at future reunions. It had certainly achieved the first aim, but not – to any great extent - the latter. Future subsidies would have to take into account the likely longevity of the CFSA, and it was suggested from the floor that it might be prudent to keep some money “in the pot” against the possibility of a special event to mark the appointment of a new Royal Commandant-in-Chief. The Chairman sought members’ agreement for the Committee to decide on levels of subsidy to be applied to future events. This was carried unanimously.
9. There being no other financial observations, the financial statement was signed off by the President and the Hon Treasurer.







CFSA Committee

10. The Comdt introduced himself, and expressed his great pleasure and excitement on being appointed in command of CFS.
11. Change. The presentation of a new Queen’s Colour some 2 weeks after his arrival, and the knowledge that he was inheriting a unit with 104 years of history and tradition, had made a big impression on the Comdt. At the same time, it was apparent that the RAF was undergoing major changes: most of them for the good. For the first time in his career, annual spending was increasing; and the numbers of types and the capabilities of new aircraft coming into service – both for the front line and for training - were unprecedented. MFTS was finally with us, and it was vital that CFS adapted to meet the future challenges and opportunities posed by these changes. Over a week in December, with inputs from the frontline Commands of all 3 Services and from Academia, CFS would be carrying out a complete review of its modus operandi, with greater emphasis being placed on forward thinking and planning. The aim was to produce a roadmap to 2025, ensuring that CFS remained at the forefront of excellence in military flying and flying training, and continued to fulfil its role as a major contributor to the UK’s combat air power. The Comdt acknowledged the depth and breadth of relevant experience amongst CFSA members, and urged individuals to contact him directly to discuss any comments or advice they might have to contribute.
11. Overseas Visits/Liaison. Many formerly close ties with air forces overseas had fallen into relative disuse, and the Comdt was keen to refresh those relationships which offered mutual benefits. As a graduate of staff college in India, he already had strong links with that large and developing air force, and he aimed to reinvigorate CFS’s involvement there. Singapore was also in his sights, and he was delighted that CFS would soon be paying a “trapping” visit to Hong Kong. Finally, he was determined that the RAF CFS should be represented at the 2017 Commonwealth CFS Conference in New Zealand.
12. RAFAT. The Comdt had just returned to the UK for a week from the current RAFAT deployment to the Far East, leaving the Team poised to display in China for the first time ever. The Comdt detailed the tour’s successful progress so far, despite the all too familiar recurring hazards of misbehaving monsoons and suicidal giant buzzards (two birdstrikes to date). Members wished the Team safe flying and every success in China and for their return to the UK.
14. Commandant-in-Chief. See ITEM 4 above.







All CFSA Members







Comdt CFS

15. Hon Sec. The Chairman spoke of his heartfelt appreciation for Lt Cdr Adrian (Fingers) Hands’ notable contribution to the Association during his two years as Hon Sec. This was echoed by all those present. Despite an urgent appeal for a successor having been placed on the CFSA website, no volunteers had yet come forward, and this year’s Reunion had been the second one where the President had had to step in at relatively short notice to take on the organising. He did not intend to extend his run to a third event – and he asked all CFSA members to search their acquaintances (and their consciences) with a view to unearthing a volunteer for this vital role.
16. CFSA Future. The future of the CFSA was briefly discussed. Although numbers attending the Reunion were slightly up on the previous year (18 vs 15), there seemed little prospect of any return to the much higher attendances of not so long ago. A significant event – eg the dining-in of a new Royal Commandant-in-Chief – might attract a spike of attendance, but the future seemed to indicate a continuing decline. Several members who had formerly been regular Reunion supporters had told the Chairman that the current inability of RAFC Cranwell to offer any on-base accommodation was the specific reason that they would no longer be attending. Mrs Judith Cross (CFSA rep in HQCFS) confirmed that this chronic lack of bed spaces – caused by the ramping up of training throughput at Cranwell – would continue for the foreseeable future. Whilst acknowledging this, the Chairman said that we should continue to pose the question to the central accommodation cell.
Summing up, the Chairman said that the CFSA’s situation mirrored that of many other Service associations. An ageing membership and a lack of interest by current and recently retired personnel inevitably led to a reduction in attendance and – eventually – the winding-up of the organisation. He took a pragmatic view of this: there was no point in “flogging a dead horse”. On the other hand, and with the continuing goodwill of HQCFS, he saw no reason why CFSA members who wished should not continue to attend CFS Graduation Guest nights – even if their numbers dwindled to a handful. There was general agreement with this view.








All CFSA Members

17. Decision. It was decided that the next CFSA Reunion, AGM and Dinner be held on a date TBC by the CFSA Committee. The CFS Graduation Guest Night planned for October 2017 appeared to be a likely choice.

CFSA Committee


Statement of CFSA Account for Period 30 Jun 2015 to 17 Oct 2016

Balance 30 Jun 2015


YHOM Invoice Reunion 2015 Debit



Graduation Dinner and Refreshments

Website Fees Debit



Cost for 2 years

Reunion 2015 Rebates Debit



One £25 cheque still to be cashed

Reunion 2015 refund cancelled attendance Debit



Reunion 2015 overpayment repaid Debit



Memorabilia Sales Credit



1xTie (£13) & 1x Polo shirt (£5)

Reunion 2016 income Credit




Balance 17 Oct 2016


Reunion Costs

Summary for Reunion 2015



Attendees 15 @ £45 Credit


Rebate 15 @ £25 Debit


YHOM Dinner and AGM refreshments Debit




Total Cost to CFSA Account


Per Head


Estimate for Reunion 2016



Attendees 17 @ £20


Attendee 1 @ cost price for Dinner (£40?)


YHOM Charge for Dinner and AGM Refreshments


Post Dinner drinks at the Bar


Lunch at Wittering


Off base transport at Cranwell




Total Cost to CFSA Account (Estimate)


Per Head