World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Volunteer Gliding Squadron

Article Id: WHEBN0006130279
Reproduction Date:

Title: Volunteer Gliding Squadron  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Grob G 109, Royal Air Force, RAF Brampton, Volunteer Gliding Squadron, RAF Weston-super-Mare
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Volunteer Gliding Squadron

Volunteer Gliding Squadrons (VGSs) are Royal Air Force Flying Training (FT) units, operating military Viking TX.1 (conventional) and Vigilant T.1 (motor) gliders to train cadets from the Air Training Corps and the Combined Cadet Force.

The VGSs now operate under the newly reformed Air Cadet Organisation prior to 2010, Headquarters Air Cadets presently still retains administrative support.

VGSs are made up of volunteer staff. Each is headed by a Commanding Officer and several executives, all of whom are commissioned into the Training Branch of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Instructors comprise a mixture of regular RAF/RN/Army personnel, Reservists, Civilian Gliding Instructors (CGIs) and Flight Staff Cadets (FSCs).

Brief history

Preface

Gliding was first introduced for the Air Defence Cadet Corps in 1939, but formally became part of official training with the Air Training Corps in 1942. From 1946, 87 Gliding Schools (GSs) came under the Reserve Command.

Command

Initially the gliding schools were established under RAF Reserve Command (later to become RAF Home Command). In 1955, RAF Flying Training Command took over the responsibility and amalgamated them into 27 gliding schools under Headquarters Air Cadets. At the same time the gliding schools were renumbered with three-digit numbers, the first two digits being the parent Home Command Group (Nos. 61, 62, 63, 64, 66 or 67).[2] In 1968, RAF Training Command was established, incorporating Flying Training Command. In 1977, Training Command was absorbed into RAF Support Command, and then moved into Personnel and Training Command on its establishment in 1994 before being subsumed into Air Command in March 2007, where the gliding schools rest today.

Under Air Command, the chain of command for these units are regulated through No.22 (Training) Group RAF. On behalf of AOC No.22 (Training) Group RAF, the Volunteer Gliding Squadrons and the Central Gliding School are the collective responsibility of the OC No.3 Flying Training School.

Formation of the Central Gliding School (CGS)

Formulated in 1946, the Home Command Gliding Instructors School (HCGIS) was established in 1949 at RAF Spitalgate, where it renamed the Air Cadet Central Gliding School (ACCGS) in 1974. In 2009, following the formal approval of the CGS unit badge, the Air Cadet Central Gliding School was renamed the Royal Air Force Central Gliding School and in 2010 restructured under No.1 Elementary Flying Training School.

The CGS is commanded by a Wing Commander RAF, who also acts as OC Flying for RAF Syerston. The Chief Instructor is a Squadron Leader RAF. The examiners of the CGS, are Flight Lieutenant RAFR and Squadron Leader RAFR officers, however all future appointments shall be RAFVR(T) commissions.

From wood to GRP

The RAF chose to re-equip the ageing fleet with the first of the modern GRP gliders. In order to achieve this, in 1983 the RAF acquired an initial batch of 10 Schleicher ASK 21 named Vanguard TX.1. The first examples were delivered to the ACCGS at Syerston in time for the new Instructors' courses to take place. The first VGS to equip with these was 618 VGS at RAF West Malling. Instructors from this unit were converted to the new training syllabus and flying the type during July and August of that year. The first Vanguard TX.1s were delivered to West Malling in July 1983 and training for Cadets began in August.

After the initial 10 were delivered Alexander Schleicher was unwilling to open a production line for the MoD, as they did not want to sideline their civilian market. A tender was issued and Grob Aerospace was awarded the contract to supply 100 Grob G 103 Twin II Acro Gliders. The Royal Air Force named the military variant as the Viking TX.1 in Air Cadet service. A single specimen was delivered to Slingsby Aviation in the UK for fatigue life testing.

Introduction of motor gliders

The Venture T.1 was trialled at the ACCGS at RAF Spitalgate in 1971/73. 10 GSs were first issued with the T.1 variant in 1977, but were quickly upgraded with the TX.2. With the development of many sites and closures of many RAF aerodromes put strain on many conventional VGS. Further GSs were allocated with the TX.2s. In 1991 the Venture TX.2 was replaced with the Vigilant T.1. Originally designated the Vigilant TX.1, the glider designation 'X' was dropped due to its change of role. The number of VGSs now operating Viking TX.1 to Vigilant T.1 are 11:17.

Disbandment of the Competition Fleet

In 2000, ACO-COS Group Captain Mike Cross announced the sale of the Valiant TX.1 and Kestrel TX.1 fleets. This concluded the RAF's many successful years competing in National Gliding Competitions and setting World Records.

Schools to squadrons

Initially established as Gliding Schools, the GSs were re-designated Volunteer Gliding Schools (VGSs) in 1978. In 2005, following a decision by the Royal Air Force Board, the VGSs were renamed Volunteer Gliding Squadrons, keeping their VGS abbreviation.

Air Cadets to Royal Air Force

Following the restructure in 2005, a further reorganisation was initiated in 2010 by AOC 22 Group RAF. On 1 April 2010, Command and Control together with the responsibility for supervision and regulation of the Central Gliding School and 27 Volunteer Gliding Squadrons was moved from the Air Cadet Organisation to the Directorate of Flying Training under No 1 Elementary Flying School (No.1 EFTS). A further restructure in December 2011 saw No.1 EFTS absorb into No.3 Flying Training School, together with a specific Gliding branch of the School developed from No.1 EFTS.

Units

Volunteer Gliding Squadron is located in the United Kingdom
611
611
612
612
613
613
614
614
615
615
616
616
618
618
621
621
622
622
624
624
626
626
631
631
632
632
633
633
634
634
635 & 645
635 & 645
636
636
637
637
642
642
644 & CGS
644 & CGS
661
661
662
662
663
663
664
664
Volunteer Gliding Squadrons (Green = Viking, Blue = Vigilant)

Present Conventional Glider VGSs

Disbanded Conventional Glider VGSs

  • 623 VGS ( RAF Tangmere )
  • 625 VGS (Hullavington), formerly 83 GS (amalgamated with 621 VGS 1 Aug 13)
  • 643 VGS (RAF Syerston), formerly 107 EGS (amalgamated with 644 VGS 1 Aug 13)
  • 617 VGS Currently Homeless (formerly at RAF Manston and before that at RAF Hendon)

Present Motor Glider VGSs

Central Flying School

Volunteer Gliding Squadron structure

Personnel

Staff on a VGS consist of part-time personnel (usually specifically appointed Reserve Officers and Civilians), supernumerary personnel (who are regular members of the Armed Forces, or Reservists attached to the Cadet Force or Auxiliaries), and Flight Staff Cadets.

Appointed personnel

Reserve Officers are appointed to fulfil management positions mandated to operate a Squadron. Civilians start under probation as Under Training Instructors. Their probation ends on attaining a B2 Category Qualified Gliding Instructor (QGI) status, where they become Honorary Instructors of the RAF. Personnel must attain a B1 Category QGI rating before qualifying for a Reserve Commission for an intended appointment. Executive Officers (XOs) head the leadership of the Squadron as OC, CFI and DCFI.

Commissioned posts on VGS include:

Other appointed roles include:

  • Unit Navigation Officer (UNavO)
  • Mechanical Transport Officer (MTO)
  • Flight Safety Officer (FSO)
  • Training Officer (TrgO)

Supernumerary personnel

Supernumerary personnel are part-time staff whose primary appointment is elsewhere and their VGS appointment is their secondary duty. Personnel vary from various Commissioned and Non-Commissioned branches of the Regular, Reserve and Cadet Forces.

Flight Staff Cadets

Air Cadets from either the Combined Cadet Force or Air Training Corps can be appointed as Flight Staff Cadets (FSCs) on a VGS. FSCs are selected, usually after completing Advanced Glider Training, for those who show potential to become Gliding Instructors. They do not act as a substitute for VGS adult personnel solely providing ground support. FSCs can progress to a B-Category (less the supervisory privileges).

Flying training

Flying Training is carried out to the syllabus of the RAF Central Flying School. Ab-initio training starts with three initial courses, and are followed on with Basic Pilot Training to achieve flying Grades.

  • Gliding Induction Courses (GICs) - these are 20 - 30 minute sorties designed to give a basic appreciation of aircraft handling.
  • Gliding Scholarship (GS) - is an 8-hour course to flying either aircraft types solo. An additional 2 hours can be awarded to achieve the course aim. Trainees attain the aircrew training standard GS. Two sets of Wings can be awarded to Air Cadets; Blue for completing the GS Syllabus to the required ATS, and Silver for flying a solo circuit.
  • Advanced Gliding Training (AGT) - a short 5 hour course to provide a greater appreciation of advanced handling and five additional solo circuits. Trainees attain the aircrew training standard AGT. Air Cadets completing this course are awarded Gold Wings.

Flying qualifications

The following Pilot qualifications can be obtained on VGSs:

  • Pilot Grade 2 (G2) - Qualified Solo on aircraft type.
  • Pilot Grade 1 (G1) - Qualified on aircraft type, allowing with passengers to be flown. G1s are additionally authorised to teach GIC exercises, to provide handling experience required for an Instructor category.

Instructor qualifications can be attained following the completion of a course at the Royal Air Force Central Gliding School:

  • B2 Category Instructor - A Qualified Gliding Instructor that requires close supervision.
  • B1 Category Instructor - A competent Qualified Gliding Instructor.

Higher instructor qualifications can be attained following the completion of an examination by the Royal Air Force Central Flying School Gliding Examiners:

  • A2 Category Instructor - An above average Qualified Gliding Instructor. This qualification is denoted by the symbol cfs(g) in the Air Force List for commissioned instructors.
  • A1 Category Instructor - An exceptional Qualified Gliding Instructor. This qualification is denoted by the symbol cfs*(g) in the Air Force List for commissioned instructors.

Additional ratings:

  • Flying Supervisor (FS) for the roles of OC, CFI and DCFI. This is notated by a * after the category, e.g. "A2*".
  • Navigation Instructor Qualification (NIQ) for teaching instructors to award TQs and BNQs.
  • Transit Qualification (TQ) for ferry flying
  • Basic Navigation Qualification (BNQ) for teaching navigation.

Aircraft

Conventional gliders

In service

  • Grob Aerospace Viking TX.1 (100 entered service, later reduced to around 77)

No longer in service

Non-GRP construction
Single-seat
Dual-seat
GRP construction
Single-seat
Dual-seat

Motor gliders

In service

  • Grob Aerospace Vigilant T.1 (53 entered service, later increased to 63)

No longer in service

  • Slingsby Venture TX.1 (One entered service, mainly used at ACCGS)
  • Slingsby Venture TX.2 (15 entered service, followed by a further 25)

See also

References

  1. ^ No.2 Flying Training School reformed
  2. ^ 661, 662, 663 and 664 VGS - History

External links

Volunteer Gliding Squadrons

  • 611 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
  • 612 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
  • 614 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
  • 615 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
  • 616 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
  • 618 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
  • 621 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
  • 622 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
  • 624 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
  • 626 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
  • 631 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
  • 633 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
  • 634 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
  • 635 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
  • 636 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
  • 637 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
  • 642 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
  • 644 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
  • 645 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
  • 661 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
  • 662 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
  • 663 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
  • 664 Volunteer Gliding Squadron
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.