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Pilot Shortage Deepens, USAF is SCREWED.

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3 hours ago, DirtyFlightSuit said:

Bird your not walking into any thing of a shit show, your first 10 years of flying will be great in general with only the saltyness starting to creep in near the last year or two as you realize your future looks nothing like your past 10 years.  That is what primarily we are complaining about not how it was for Lts through Captain (aside from lame additional duties), but what we have to look forward to now that we are O-4's + looking down the barrel of non flying deployments/jobs/more time away from family just when time with your family actually starts to mean something (kids), etc.   I'd do it again in a heartbeat, I just can't stay in given current conditions at where I am at and am looking to go.

 

 

I disagree with this analysis, based on my anecdotal experience.  I see saltiness creeping into the perspective of newly minted copilots in my community.  They get into the squadrons and are stunned by how little flying matters in flying squadrons.  They are disappointed in being shackled with additional duties.  I’d say half of our pilots are firmly in the GTFO pool before they finish the first 5 years of their ten year ADSC.

Of the half that do stay blue into the mid-level Captain stage..  this is when they get shackled with flight commander or shop chief level add’l duties.  They also start getting hit with non-flying 179s.  They are still 2-4 years from their UPT ADSCs, but firmly join the crowded GTFO pool. I’d say 8/10 pilots in my community are there by year 8 of their commitment.

Around the senior Capt or junior Maj level, you’re down to the the shiny pennies who would rather masturbate to their OPR strats than fly.  And some guys who are awful pilots and won’t get airline jobs.  These are the few who stay in.

 

 

Edited by flyusaf83
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4 hours ago, dream big said:

I love military aviation,  I hate most parts of the Air Force...if you can know the difference and focus on what you value, you will have a fulfilling career.

Thank you Captain Obvious, but that's not what is in dispute. If it were so simple, we wouldn't have the retention problem we have. I find it incredible that this would have to be re-stated, but the punchline here is that:  you dont get the goddamn latitude to exercise the discretion you're talking about in the first place as a 12+ year guy. What part of indentured servitude don't you understand? As has been stated before, slick wing O-3 and younger, by all means you can nap of the earth and focus on flying with a large level of success. But beyond that, especially as demands on family and children start to encroach into the demands of the job? Poof goes that fantasy about scoffing at the qweep unabated and just focusing on the love for "military aviation". 

You can retain a semblance of the freedom to do what you suggest as an O-4 if you go part-time, but no way Active Duty allows you that discretion. Granted, outliers abound, but that and a $1.20 gets the median a cup of coffee. And if you do make it a point and be a visible shitbag on the qweep front , they'll make sure you don't have any access to a cockpit ever again. Your masters are that petty, and they're not in the business of bartering with their human property. And I digress cuz I'm repeating myself.

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3 hours ago, BashiChuni said:

Please tell me more about your expertise on the SUPT syllabus. I’m very intrigued and impressed 

Meh, he is regurgitating what others are throwing out.

BREAK BREAK

There has been a marked improvement in leadership in all levels of my chain of command over the past couple years. I am hopeful that eventually we will be in a much better place, but the Air Force is now suffering the consequences of epically poor decision making/culture of previous commands. 

 

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33 minutes ago, flyusaf83 said:

Around the senior Capt or junior Maj level, you’re down to the the shiny pennies who would rather masturbate to their OPR strats than fly.  And some guys who are awful pilots and won’t get airline jobs.  These are the few who stay in.

I know a few good eggs that are still around, most BTZ to LtCol & Col (some both, one guy 2 below to both, future AF/CC as I see it), on there way to the top and their craniums are on straight.  Possibly the exception rather than the rule though.

24 minutes ago, FlyingWolf said:

There has been a marked improvement in leadership in all levels of my chain of command over the past couple years. I am hopeful that eventually we will be in a much better place, but the Air Force is now suffering the consequences of epically poor decision making/culture of previous commands. 

I've heard this as well.

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37 minutes ago, flyusaf83 said:

I disagree with this analysis, based on my anecdotal experience.  I see saltiness creeping into the perspective of newly minted copilots in my community.  They get into the squadrons and are stunned by how little flying matters in flying squadrons.  They are disappointed in being shackled with additional duties.  I’d say half of our pilots are firmly in the GTFO pool before they finish the first 5 years of their ten year ADSC.

Of the half that do stay blue into the mid-level Captain stage..  this is when they get shackled with flight commander or shop chief level add’l duties.  They also start getting hit with non-flying 179s.  They are still 2-4 years from their UPT ADSCs, but firmly join the crowded GTFO pool. I’d say 8/10 pilots in my community are there by year 8 of their commitment.

Around the senior Capt or junior Maj level, you’re down to the the shiny pennies who would rather masturbate to their OPR strats than fly.  And some guys who are awful pilots and won’t get airline jobs.  These are the few who stay in.

 

 

To some degree this is our fault, they cant get through UPT without the IP's already talking about bailing for airlines and all their complaints.  As for how little flying matters in the squadron it's been that way for my entire career in the Air Force, and likely well before that so nothing new there, it is a major problem just not a new one.  The additional duties in my case didn't really start to occur until I was a senior Captain.  Before that I was expected to do my SELO / Scheduling / Upgrade / Masters which sucked but hey.    Also Flight commander / Shop Chief duties I don't consider additional duties, unless you mean something else by that statement.  Totally agree with non flying 179's those have to go, I was lucky and only got one right before pining Major so at least I wasn't too young for it.

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1 hour ago, flyusaf83 said:

Around the senior Capt or junior Maj level, you’re down to the the shiny pennies who would rather masturbate to their OPR strats than fly.  And some guys who are awful pilots and won’t get airline jobs.  These are the few who stay in.

You really think everyone over O-4 either sucks at flying or is a selfish careerist?  That’s an uninformed comment.

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Historically has Flight Commander been viewed as an additional duty/queep job?  Figure that's the first time (senior-ish Capt) there's a little more management mixed in with the leading.

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YMMV but I thought being a flight commander was awesome. You're literally running the day to day ops of the squadron, flying upgrades, making Ops related decisions, and looking out for your people. Yes there is some OPR and awards BS, and you sit some SOF but at the 6-8 year point you need to learn those things and if you have a good ADO, DO, & CC you shouldn't be doing too much of it.

3 hours ago, flyusaf83 said:

Around the senior Capt or junior Maj level, you’re down to the the shiny pennies who would rather masturbate to their OPR strats than fly.  And some guys who are awful pilots and won’t get airline jobs.  These are the few who stay in.

I can't speak for the MAF but the above comment is abnormal in the CAF. Sure every community has their penguins and queep monsters but that is the exception not the norm. Most majors I've worked with (in a fighter squadron) or had work for me were a credible IPs. The majority of CCs and DOs I've had were either weapons officers or a very credible IPs. Most could get shit handled, show up 5 mins prior, kick ass and still teach you how to get better next time.

Maybe I'm an anomaly but pretty much everyone usually wants to fly in my community. 

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To some degree this is our fault,

A very very small degree. I won’t be told that it’s my fault that there is a pilot shortage when I am looking after my family. I am not a personellist or a general. I don’t make the decisions that cause me to want to get out.

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On 3/15/2018 at 4:22 PM, matmacwc said:

Not a bad article but after reading this (and other articles like it) on the "problem" of the present day AF, I feel like every well intentioned reformer or reform advocate needs to realize that there are somethings that have happened not just in the AF but in society in general that are to be acknowledged and accepted to go forward productively.  There are some fights that are not worth it, not winnable, not even a fight where something can be won and a distraction from that which is attainable and worth time, resources and effort.

The "problem" of the present day AF is not a problem per se but a state of being that was arrived at after a particular (and on going) set of operations / conflicts, changes in society (some good - effort to include non-historically represented groups, some bad - egregious PC culture and emphasis on identity at the expense meritocracy and logic) and the corporatization of some aspects of the day to day administration of the AF.  

That said, there is plenty that could be reformed, changed and made to make an AF that is more mission focused, more challenging for its members and one that inspires an esprit de corps.  I think it would be a harder AF to be in than it is now (I'm ok with that) and I think that is probably where to start because that is something we can do now, no money needed, no new laws to be passed.  Just the will to do it and accept some of the potentially unpopular and uncomfortable results of dialing up the standards.

On the article...

1.  Dear Boss...

My two cents, some of the "Dear Boss" sentiment is valid, there has been a growing gulf between the Line and Leadership of the AF, loss of confidence in AF leadership when from an operator's perspective we (the USAF) do not seem particularly responsive to a changed operational environment and an apathetic approach to retention.  

My other two cents, some of the "Dear Boss" sentiment is grandstanding and sanctimonious, only the author of whichever iteration of the "Dear Boss" letter can see the mediocrity & corruption and because said individual is so principled, so dedicated, so pure that they just can't take it anymore and they have to leave.  Give me a break, at anytime in the existence of any established, conventional military force there have been cronies, REMFs, butt kissers, busy work and snipe hunts, etc... this is not to say those things are to be tolerated but they're like mosquitoes, you swat one and another arrives to meet the same fate, repeat the process or get eaten alive.  Deal with it, annoying things and people are part of life, try to fix them, get rid of them or avoid them but don't expect them to ever go away completely.

2. PC Culture

Partially accept some it.  Fighting all of it is unwise, not winnable and not even a good idea.  Most of it comes from above the DoD, Federal Government Policy for all Departments, Agencies and Bureaus and has to be implemented, unless it is specifically stated how X policy will be implemented, the AF (IMO) has prerogative to deliver X policy in a military applicable manner.

The AF can take the best parts of the efforts to build an inclusive society that offers equal opportunity for all, encouragement (not exceptions) for those not historically represented and adherence to universally applied standards without denigrating those in the majority and assuming original prejudice in their attitudes.  I saw this in a briefing from a GO on the day the transgender policy was changed for the DoD, he had one slide that clearly stated the policy, said we will treat all members in accordance with professional military standards and that was it.  I am not really that on board with the policy but when it was delivered in a non-condescending, short, professional manner it did not generate excessive resentment, I left the All-Call with no more or less cynicism than before.  Given the topic, that was probably as good as it was going to get.  An example of how to do Social Actions Policy.

3.  Warrior / Mission Culture

If we want a warrior culture, a mission culture then look at the tools we have available and use them.  

That will be tougher standards, more rigor and fewer opportunities to leave the cockpit / ops station you are in (if part of the LAF).  Be careful what you wish for, you may get it.  I am ok with dialing up the heat, not that I am an Air Rambo, but I know that if we want to rid the AF of shoe clerks and meaningless schools, programs and fluff, that is in reality the only way to do it.  Thinking that some Bro General is just going to come in, tell the Shoe Clerks to pound sand and that's it is naive thinking at its worst. 

Swords are forged in extreme heat then beat into shape, afterwards repeatedly scraped with a stone to make sharp, not a gentle process.  If we want this type of AF (we do), we need only more strongly discipline and train ourselves.

Not the most pleasant rant I've ever given on BO but my honest opinion.  Any military or military unit you want to be part of should be tough to be part of, that is where the pride comes from, doing something that is hard to do and not everyone can do.  

If the AF changes the vector to this, the rest will take care of itself.

Edited by Clark Griswold
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5 hours ago, tac airlifter said:

You really think everyone over O-4 either sucks at flying or is a selfish careerist?  That’s an uninformed comment.

The people who usually didn't think they sucked at flying...did.

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11 hours ago, flyusaf83 said:

Around the senior Capt or junior Maj level, you’re down to the the shiny pennies who would rather masturbate to their OPR strats than fly.

Thanks for this little gem!  It made my morning.

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6 hours ago, matmacwc said:

Get hit in the head with some books recently Clark?

Just getting older and more opinionated...or rotting...

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10 hours ago, Azimuth said:

The people who usually didn't think they sucked at flying...did.

I think I’m pretty fucking good at flying. I guess I actually suck. And I’m a total loser and REMF dipshit because I’m a Major.

This has been enlightening.

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2 hours ago, Danger41 said:

I think I’m pretty fucking good at flying. I guess I actually suck. And I’m a total loser and REMF dipshit because I’m a Major.

This has been enlightening.

Acceptance is the first step in recovery

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On 3/19/2018 at 11:10 AM, Danger41 said:

I think I’m pretty fucking good at flying. I guess I actually suck. And I’m a total loser and REMF dipshit because I’m a Major.

This has been enlightening.

How do you think I feel...I thought I was really good at flying and I made O-6 BPZ...I guess I am lucky I haven't crashed into a tree yet.

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How do you think I feel...I thought I was really good at flying and I made O-6 BPZ...I guess I am lucky I havn't crashed into a tree yet.
Got out just in time I guess.

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3 hours ago, Danger41 said:

I think I’m pretty fucking good at flying. I guess I actually suck. And I’m a total loser and REMF dipshit because I’m a Major (select)

This has been enlightening.

FIFY. 

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I did hear some good news regarding UPT-H being cancelled....so that is a big win for common sense.

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13 hours ago, SCRIMP said:

I did hear some good news regarding UPT-H being cancelled....so that is a big win for common sense.

I missed the ball on this one....what's UPT-H again?  

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I missed the ball on this one....what's UPT-H again?  

It was a terrible idea to stop helo pilots from going to T-6s. The original plan would have been to do IFS, get a commercial instrument (no low level, etc.) with a contract helicopter company and then go to straight to Kirtland. It would have been an extremely expensive option that would have resulted in a significant loss of experience and capability.

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47 minutes ago, SCRIMP said:

It was a terrible idea to stop helo pilots from going to T-6s. The original plan would have been to do IFS, get a commercial instrument (no low level, etc.) with a contract helicopter company and then go to straight to Kirtland. It would have been an extremely expensive option that would have resulted in a significant loss of experience and capability.

You forget that it would have added a whopping 40-50 pilots to the FW tracks.

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Because this didn't happen before the early/mid 90s...

And the AF also didn't bring in quite a few Army RW pilots in the 90s that ended up doing just fine.

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