In your Comment "Get it right" (Flight International, 16-22 September), you assert that despite early teething troubles in some of the tri-service pilot training schemes, all seem to work well. Insofar as the training of British Army pilots is concerned, the scheme has not been an unqualified success.

It can now take up to two and a half years, spent at three widely separated locations, to train a basic student up to the standard when he or she can join an operational unit. This is at least a year longer than the course it replaced, which was conducted by the army at a single location - a lean and efficient operation with minimum hassle for the student.

It follows that for every pilot trained under the tri-service scheme, the army will lose one year's worth of operational flying. This cannot be right.

Budgetary savings and greater efficiency were the buzz words when the scheme was foisted on the services. As for the former, I doubt that the National Audit Office (if it can be persuaded to investigate) will identify significant savings, and as for increased efficiency...

Michael Badger


West Sussex


Source: Flight International