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Email traffic has been circulating in the RPA community that manning in going to be "healthy" come late 2016. As a result, the wizards at AFPC are estimating that ALFA tour pilots are going to start being released back to their previous manned aircraft, albeit slowly, starting Spring 2017. As a current non-vol stuck in RPAs, I'm hopeful and excited. I was pulled from AMC only after 9 months in my squadron, barely broke over 100 hours flying (boo hoo). I felt robbed, but this opportunity feels like my one chance to get back to what I love. Unfortunately, I don't believe the Air Force is going to follow through with it; I don't think they'll have a choice. After talking to fellow 11X and 18X pilots, I don't think many RPA guys are going to volunteer for more austerity, more work, and more inaction from AF leadership and choose to stay in. The Air Force simply won't have the RPA manning numbers to justify releasing anyone back. This feels like a giant carrot on a stick - something to keep me working hard because "there's still a chance!" I'm not sure how credible a plan like this can be. Curious on everyone's take on this situation. Instead of re-explaining the whole plan I've cut and pasted information from an email I received from a Squadron Commander a few weeks back concerning my aforementioned dilemma. · MQ-1/9 Pilots: o All ops locations projected to hit 100% manning in the Jan-Feb ’17 timeframe o ALFA return (i.e. pilots sent from manned acft to fly MQ-1B/9) should be expected at around 10-15 total from MQ-1/9 § Priority will be competitive and 11R/11B will take priority over MAF assets due to manning levels § Spring and beyond *should see returns of around 30-40 per VML cycle § *dependent on no change to USAF CAP commitments or authorization increases · This is what I need from officers: o I will be sending a separate email to all members on Initial Fall VML; however, please engage me soonest if you wish to volunteer to move to Holloman AFB. o As stated above, AFPC is projecting ALFA tour pilots (i.e. people that used to fly manned acft and were sent to MQ-1B/9s for a tour) to start to be released back to manned acft. This will initially be a very small number and gradually grow if manning projections remain the same and USAF does not increase manning requirements (i.e. more CAPs, increase pilot to CAP ratio, etc). As such, I encourage you to engage me if you wish to re-cat to MQ-9 career field (i.e. officially change your AFSC to reflect that you desire to stay in RPA career field). o Of note, the general focus remains on increasing manpower at Holloman AFB Formal Training Units while also increasing/maintaining healthier manpower levels across RPA community as a whole. Removed some personal / needless information. Interested in hearing what guys who've seen the manning ebb and flow think.