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Civilian T-6 IPs?

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Had an interesting conversation with an IP who has a friend "in the 'know'". This is basically third-hand information, so I apologize in advance if something was lost in translation if you happen to have more detailed intel. He mentioned the Air Force is "considering" standing up a program whereby recently separated military aviators who graduated from Air Force UPT or Naval Primary would be recruited to continue federal service as a civilian T-6 IP? Interestingly enough, he also mentioned that under the auspices of this program, "highly-qualified" civilian accessions 'might' be eligible too. The criteria for direct civilian IP accessions isn't set in stone, but he said they'd have to be college graduates (and their aeronautical credentials awarded from a part 141 university flight program), in possession of a certain number of flight hours (1000 hours, I think?), be a CFI-I, be able to pass and hold an FC-1 and successfully complete PIT. Additionally, the non-mil civilian IP candidates would go through an "extended and more rigorous" syllabus while attending PIT. No mention of whether or not non-mil accessions would complete UPT prior to PIT? I would assume so? Finally, I heard the airlines might somehow (potentially) have a stake in such a program. Again, no details provided to me on the why or how. Also no mention or indication that this hypothetical program would be replicated in T-1s or T-38s. 

I understand that this is obviously another attempt at fixing something that isn't broken, and sidestepping the actual issues of pilot retention, but I am curious...has anyone else heard anything of this sort? Other than this one conversation I can find no details anywhere to corroborate. As far as I can tell, it's vaporware. Again, just curious. Thanks, gents, and happy flying.      

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I feel all of these random fixes are the result of clueless go-getters looking to put their name on some new program to better their careers without a clear picture of what the real problem is.

That being said, I actually don't have a real problem with former military pilots acting in a civilian role (GS-??) teaching UPT studs how to fly the T-6. It is a way to harness and take advantage of a lot of experience out there.

It does, however, bring up quite a few questions. First, how much are you going to pay these pilots and how are you going to incentivize it? As cool of a job buzzing around in a T-6 may seem to be, the airlines are still hiring full-bore and you couldn't pay me GS-13 pay to teach in a T-6 vs. work for the airlines. Of course everyone's career goals and what will make them happy is different, so they may find a few who want to live in Columbus, Del Rio or Enid for the rest of their lives that'll bite. They can keep that as far as I'm concerned.

The other big question is, UPT is not supposed to be a commercial pilot training program where everyone is touchy-feely and professional. There is a level of discipline that is only possible between members of the military with rank. You mean to tell me a GS-13 is gonna tell a Lt or Capt to "sit the F%CK down!!!" during standup or scream at him from the back seat of the 6 when he's jacking up his rejoin? I'm sure these civilians aren't going to wear a uniform with rank like ART's in the AFRC or ANG do. Of course this could all be solved with policy and understanding that these guys and gals hold the authority to hand you your ass during the program just like anyone else.

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At what point is the AF going to handle its real problems instead of these cheesy, out-of-touch, made to create bullets, asinine pet projects?

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At what point is the AF going to handle its real problems instead of these cheesy, out-of-touch, made to create bullets, asinine pet projects?

About 6.9 years too late

If the RPA & LAAR debacles are prologue then it will take two leadership cycles before any meaningful action is taken and even then it is half hearted and begrudgingly done

It is not a exactly a matter of saving the AF as much as it is evolving the AF - it is not built administratively or culturally for the world it finds itself in.

You can only fix / change a legacy company that is stumbling by changing out the Board of Directors, without a nearly wholesale change of GOs and their acolytes expect more symptom treatment vs disease treatment

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1 hour ago, Gazmo said:

. There is a level of discipline that is only possible between members of the military with rank. You mean to tell me a GS-13 is gonna tell a Lt or Capt to "sit the F%CK down!!!" during standup or scream at him from the back seat of the 6 when he's jacking up his rejoin? I'm sure these civilians aren't going to wear a uniform with rank like ART's in the AFRC or ANG do. Of course this could all be solved with policy and understanding that these guys and gals hold the authority to hand you your ass during the program just like anyone else.

At no point in pilot training was I ever afraid of a green suit IP. (3 years ago) They knew there was a fine line and if they hurt feelings to much aka swearing at a student they would being have a talk with the CC. There were some crusty old civilian sim instructors that would absolutely destroy you and your entire life, they gave 0 fucks and knew it was about impossible to fire them.   Couple of them really knew how to

put the fear of god in you. 

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1 hour ago, flyusaf83 said:

At what point is the AF going to handle its real problems instead of these cheesy, out-of-touch, made to create bullets, asinine pet projects?

Because civilian/contract pilots don't work well for the Army or the Air Force when it comes to rotor-wing...so 'cheesy and out-of-touch'.

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At no point in pilot training was I ever afraid of a green suit IP. (3 years ago) They knew there was a fine line and if they hurt feelings to much aka swearing at a student they would being have a talk with the CC. There were some crusty old civilian sim instructors that would absolutely destroy you and your entire life, they gave 0 s and knew it was about impossible to fire them.   Couple of them really knew how to
put the fear of god in you. 


You weren’t afraid of the USEM? Are they really that nice these days?

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1 hour ago, MooseAg03 said:

 


You weren’t afraid of the USEM? Are they really that nice these days?

 

Nope, guess I got lucky, my USEM was always a bro. Did I get sat down? Sure. But it was always in a nice Chris Hanson kinda way. “Hey man, why don’t you have a seat?” 

 

Entire NIPR network went down so I didn’t have printed told for a T-1 SIM, had to hand jam it, thought that crusty old fuck in a blue suit was going to choke slam me through the briefing desk. 

Edited by viper154

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Nope, guess I got lucky, my USEM was always a bro. Did I get sat down? Sure. But it was always in a nice Chris Hanson kinda way. “Hey man, why don’t you have a seat?” 
 
Entire NIPR network went down so I didn’t have printed told for a T-1 SIM, had to hand jam it, thought that crusty old  in a blue suit was going to choke slam me through the briefing desk. 
Blue-suiters are contractors. If they make these IP's feds (GS's) there are sure fire ways to get a fed fired. Contractors? Different ball game. A fed will have a "supervisor" there and it will most likely be at the very least, the SQ/CC.

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From what I know, this has been approved and will be showing up at a UPT base near you...

Highlights from someone in the know:

-The pay as of now is not competitive. ~$100K/yr and from what I saw was a fairly flat pay scale, little incentive to stick around.

-Ideally looking for fresh separated guys/gals, but I personally don’t see how they are going to entice them away from going the Airline route. Maybe thinking people will sign up just so they can fly and not deal with AD/ARC BS? Tough sell with low pay in my opinion.

-AETC/CC has completely championed this idea from what I was told and wants it implemented at all UPT bases eventually.

-God help us.

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From what I know, this has been approved and will be showing up at a UPT base near you...

Highlights from someone in the know:

-The pay as of now is not competitive. ~$100K/yr and from what I saw was a fairly flat pay scale, little incentive to stick around.

-Ideally looking for fresh separated guys/gals, but I personally don’t see how they are going to entice them away from going the Airline route. Maybe thinking people will sign up just so they can fly and not deal with AD/ARC BS? Tough sell with low pay in my opinion.

-AETC/CC has completely championed this idea from what I was told and wants it implemented at all UPT bases eventually.

-God help us.


Is there a contract associated with it? Or could a recently separated dude park here while his apps are in and wait for the call then bail when he gets the CJO?

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DynCorp has a couple job postings for IP positions at Sheppard (Contingent Upon Award):

https://dyncorp.jobs.net/en-US/job/t-6a-instructor-pilot-ip-contingent-upon-award/J3K7YG5X2X071P7T990

https://dyncorp.jobs.net/en-US/job/t-38c-instructor-pilot-ip-contingent-upon-award/J3F52R6B01P1STF22KF

Here are the mins they have posted:

  • DI T-38C Flight Time and Experience Minimums:
    1. Flight Currency Status/Minimums:
      1. 2,000 Hours Total Flight Time 
      2. 1,000 Hours in Fighter/Fighter Trainer MDS
      3. 500 hours formal course IP experience or;
      4. 3 years Instructor Pilot duties, 4-Ship Flight Lead, Designated Mission Commander in the Combat Air Force or AETC FTU or T-38C PIT/JSUPT missions
      5. 50 Flying Hours - last 12 months

No mention of pay/benefits.

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8 hours ago, viper154 said:

At no point in pilot training was I ever afraid of a green suit IP. (3 years ago) They knew there was a fine line and if they hurt feelings to much aka swearing at a student they would being have a talk with the CC. There were some crusty old civilian sim instructors that would absolutely destroy you and your entire life, they gave 0 fucks and knew it was about impossible to fire them.   Couple of them really knew how to

put the fear of god in you. 

Experiences vary wildy. I saw many students with "hurt feelings" get washed out.

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Not sure this is such a horrible idea.  The QF-4 and QF-16 squadrons have used GS civilians, all former military fighter guys, for years and it's worked well.  Granted, it's a different environment at UPT but former mil GS pilots working with and for mil pilots shouldn't be a problem.  Direct hire civilians is a whole different (bad) idea which I would put in the horrible to disastrous category. 

 

 

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12 hours ago, flyusaf83 said:

At what point is the AF going to handle its real problems instead of these cheesy, out-of-touch, made to create bullets, asinine pet projects?

That would actually mean that upper management understands where the problem lies. So I see that happening sometime around never.

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I'll throw my 2 cents in.  I've been to Rucker and seen how their civilians implement and by and large it seems pretty well managed/run given that the civilians only teach contact (transition I think they call it) and instruments then the green suiters teach all the other stuff.  I could see something similar working in T-6's.  The big thing I worry about is if the AF made it all civilian.  At that point you turn it into the same shit show that sim land is, the majority of the sim IP's are way out of touch, spend most of the time talking about the Tweet or having 'nam flashbacks in the middle of a sim, and care more about how accurate your instrument cockpit check was than actually teaching a kid how to fly instruments.  At many points during my tour as an IP did I have to re-explain basic instrument things to a student because the sim IP was focused on crap that hasn't mattered since the 60's.  I mean hell I told a sim IP I used the GPS to go direct for 300+ miles in the -38 and you would have thought the world was ending because I used the GPS and not ground based NAVAIDs.

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Who is going to separate from the air force and choose to live at  UPT location for half the pay their skills are worth?  How many people will sacrifice pay and quality of life just to fly a T-6 or an almost 60 year old T-38?  This doesn't solve production problems or retention problems, but just creates a new group of people that'll have those same problems...and helps keep the military guys you do have in ops units so their ops tempo can be even higher. 

I guess they are trying to just make small gains in as many places as possible.  Even if it's only 1-2 pilots per base. 

Edit:  If UPT were in a decent location, that would completely change the outlook. You'd have decent flying and no deployments while getting to raise a family in a normal place. Good luck with Congress on that one though. 

Edited by juacey

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The majority (all but ~3) of the T-1 pilots at Pensacola are tan suits. They are definitely some who will reck your entire life and make you re-think every choice in your life, all while the green suit instructor sits there and lets you take it. All are retired mil pilots, while they aren't your grader they are certainly a huge part of our instruction dynamic on the T-1 flight line that seems to work well for us. They even sit in on EPs and tell you what the pilot will be doing and thinking to help you come to a decision better and help train your thought process. You learn a lot of airmanship from them for sure. 

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I would have to question the sanity or background of anyone who chose to work as a retiree civilian at a upt base for under $200k a year. Omitting the 6-9 people from those areas, you’d have to be unhireable at the airline or have some serious skeletons in the closet. 

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Any extra manpower on the ip side will help. At this point it's a giant game of whack-a-mole though, because maintainence is hanging in by a thread and if production increases any significant amount then the lack of experienced and specialized maintainers will make the process come to a screeching slow down.

Edited by BasicAggie

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$100k a year?  Haha, you’re not going to get any takers.  That’s a pay cut from O-4 pay.  The market would force the AF to pay at least $200k to get more than a couple guys to do take that job.

Again, a much simpler solution is for the AF to get its shit together and retain people.

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I would have to question the sanity or background of anyone who chose to work as a retiree civilian at a upt base for under $200k a year. Omitting the 6-9 people from those areas, you’d have to be unhireable at the airline or have some serious skeletons in the closet. 


There are several examples of this already teaching sims at UPT bases and a few in MWS sims as well.

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I understand that. I went through army pilot training before upt. Doesn’t stop me from questioning the sanity of a recently retired pilot going to do that at a upt base. That’s a lot different than teaching 135 sims at Hickam or c-17 at mcchord or ec-130 at dm. 

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