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Merle Dixon

Pilot retention in your neck of the woods?

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Hello all,

I'm wondering, how is pilot retention in your community these days?  I am a reservist SUPT IP and airline pilot at an active-duty SUPT base. There is not one single active-duty IP I know that isn't leaving the AF for the Guard/Reserve and airlines.  Hell, I know three IPs that recently got airline jobs and they have absolutely no interest in the guard or reserve.  The reason I'm typing this - I have never seen things so bad - meaning, I have never seen every single active-duty pilot I encounter openly talking about airline apps, airline domiciles, airline work rules, airline interviews, guard and reserve apps, etc, etc. 

Also, in SUPT world we used to have some graybeard O-5s that would hang out until 23, 24, 25 years of service before they retired. Not any more. Every single IP is on terminal leave at 19 years and 10 months and sitting in an airline indoc course.  So, retention is at an all time low through my little myopic view of the AF.  How are things in your neck of the woods?

 

 

Edited by Merle Dixon
Me grammar bad

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Seeing quite a bit of this on the Guard side too, at least in my Fighter Squadron.

Guys aren't leaving but I feel like shortly we will struggle to keep full time, experienced IPs. Most of them are getting hired with the majors. Guys are also getting hired with the majors as soon as they get through the IPUG (we take forever to upgrade people, so by the time we put someone through the IPUG they have the hours.)

To make the situation worse, most of the senior FL types are burnt out and might not jump at the opportunity for a full time AGR gig.

Edited by Kenny Powers

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In a heavy reserve squadron here. I’m told we have one of the best if not the best manned reserve units in the NAF.

Nonetheless people have began to leave ASAP close to 20. The days of folks sitting around 24-28 years have faded away. We have significantly less AD applicants showing interest in moving from active. We’ve yet to have a pilot leave at the 10 year mark but it’s coming. I have had one baby reserve (not prior active) friend make that jump and I’ll be the first in my squadron to be in that same position. 

Since ive been here I’ve seen AFRC boot out 1 twice passed over capt (MINOR blemish on record from years as a young LT), 2 twice passed maj (refused to do acsc) that would have otherwise stayed in longer. All in the past 3 years mind you.

We are one bad decision away from things collapsing in AFRC ie deploying longer/more frequently. Bad Active Duty leadership being inserted to backfill leadership roles etc will bring this house of cards down.

From a singular view ive completely lost any confidence that this situation is going to be corrected without getting significantly worse. 

I keep asking myself if I want be around for it...

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AGR positions won’t fix this. The time for that has passed IMHO. That was something that should have been offered 3-5 yrs ago when airline pay rates were still lower. 

The only folks I see taking those now will be new airline hire folks that are older and can snag an active duty retirement. 

Theyre not going to keep the younger guys in bc the bonus doesn’t apply to folks who are still under their initial commitment. So why would anyone take a pay cut to go to an AGR.

its to late...

SECOND THOUGHT

Some younger co pilots will most likely take them that didn’t come into the service with prior flying time. I wouldn’t count on the younger guys at regionals to him for them though bc they know that it’s a race for seniority.

Edited by kapilot

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On the AD side, when I think about guys that I flew with my first couple assignments, it seems like more people have gotten out than have stayed in.

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A lot of brand new pilots I know are opting into BRS because they’re betting they’ll be in the majority who leave after 10 years. I guess there’s not much faith out there that the issues that cause people to leave now are actually going to be solved by then. 

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I’m a 12-year tanker guy.  Of the guys I know who are complete with their UPT commitment, I’d say 40-50% are still in.

In all, I don’t see the sky falling like many depict on this board, but retention certainly isn’t where the AF needs it to be to maintain the status quo in my neck of the woods. 

Edited by Runr6730

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My ANG unit is almost 20% under-manned, even if we count the people still at pilot training as being "in the unit".  By the end of this calendar year we will have had over 70,000 flying hours of pilot experience leave.  Yet our OG is still kicking guys out he doesn't like!  20 degrees nose low and adding power....

 

Edited by Bergman

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37 minutes ago, Runr6730 said:

I’m a 12-year tanker guy.  Of the guys I know who are complete with their UPT commitment, I’d say 40-50% are still in.

In all, I don’t see the sky falling like many depict on this board, but retention certainly isn’t where the AF needs it to be to maintain the status quo in my neck of the woods. 

Man we live in different worlds. Zero percent of my squadron’s majors stayed past 10. All LTCs retire at 20, no longer.  Only guys I know staying are prior enlisted. 

Edited by BroncoEN
*valid for 3 years and counting

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We’re mostly a full time unit, we’ve been told there may not be enough part time positions if everyone jumped, they are all jumping.  We are promoting to LtCol without ACSC.

Edited by matmacwc
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3 minutes ago, matmacwc said:

We’re mostly a full time unit, we’ve been told there may not be enough part time positions if everyone jumped, they are all jumping.  We are promoting to LtCol without ACSC.

This is great news....

(The part about ACSC being a massive waste of time and resources)

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In Buff land, lots of guys leaving, including quite a few FTU IPs.  Lots of our reserve pilots are getting picked up by the airlines and just doing the one weekend a month type thing. 

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Active duty  MAF FTU here.  I’d say 80% are definitely separating, 10% aren’t sure, and 10% are staying.  The ones staying are in/going to a special program (Phoenix Reach, RAS/PAS, U2) so they aren’t super useful to the community anyway. This is of the guys that are between 8 and 12 years.  

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Of the 10 or so Majors in my sq, two are planning on staying past their commitment, and one of those is a late-rate.

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8 of 13 stayed in AD of my YG in my neck of the woods..the prior and post year groups..lost near 95% to Sep

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Better than most places.  Although, now with airlines doing Rotary Transition programs, that might start changing.

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I'm leaving asap, but my situation is probably not the same. Graduated UPT, went through C-130H training to be told on my first Friday in  the squadron along with 23 other recent grads or guys still in the schoolhouse to pick your UAV. No failed tests or checkrides, no disciplinary action...just bad timing I guess. Random question though on a rumor floating around. AF is looking at no longer having AC or IP upgrade run concurrent with your UPT adsc. If this is true and implemented I will be required to to stay longer just to get AC. Can anyone verify this or hopefully someone knows this not to be a thing??

  • Confused 1

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24 minutes ago, ExHerc said:

I'm leaving asap, but my situation is probably not the same. Graduated UPT, went through C-130H training to be told on my first Friday in  the squadron along with 23 other recent grads or guys still in the schoolhouse to pick your UAV. No failed tests or checkrides, no disciplinary action...just bad timing I guess. Random question though on a rumor floating around. AF is looking at no longer having AC or IP upgrade run concurrent with your UPT adsc. If this is true and implemented I will be required to to stay longer just to get AC. Can anyone verify this or hopefully someone knows this not to be a thing??

Dream big, saw your confused "emoji". I only have 4 years left and I am currently going through initial qual for a different airframe. No way I'm adding more time to get AC, I'll gladly go out as a major/co-pilot. But would prefer not to. Hope that clarifies. 

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Lmao I can’t wait until AMC shits itself when it realizes nobody is upgrading to AC anymore. 3500 hr copilots everywhere.

They will have to quickly waive the ADSC when there are 0 ACs left in a squadron. Or maybe they will just get rid of the qual all together and the new AC will be FPL

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I'm leaving asap, but my situation is probably not the same. Graduated UPT, went through C-130H training to be told on my first Friday in  the squadron along with 23 other recent grads or guys still in the schoolhouse to pick your UAV. No failed tests or checkrides, no disciplinary action...just bad timing I guess. Random question though on a rumor floating around. AF is looking at no longer having AC or IP upgrade run concurrent with your UPT adsc. If this is true and implemented I will be required to to stay longer just to get AC. Can anyone verify this or hopefully someone knows this not to be a thing??


It’s not that it won’t run concurrent, it’s that it will now extend past your 10 year UPT ADSC. So if you are less than 3 years from the end of your commitment, be very careful about any formal upgrade training (2 years for IP).

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4 minutes ago, MooseAg03 said:

 


It’s not that it won’t run concurrent, it’s that it will now extend past your 10 year UPT ADSC. So if you are less than 3 years from the end of your commitment, be very careful about any formal upgrade training (2 years for IP).

 

I understand that part, trust me not doing anything to extend my adsc past my UPT adsc at all. But the rumor, (I know probably wasting my time thinking about it) is that AC or IP will no longer be concurrent. It will add time to your UPT ADSC. Just wondering if anyone else has heard this. 

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My terminal runs out this week.  12 years AD with no interest in ARC job and picked up by a major airline.  I saw my wing PCS only two majors in 3.5 years.  One was prior enlisted nav converted to pilot on fast track and ADSC and the other was a pilot with multiple Q3s.  From my perspective, retention is hurting.

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“Sinking ship” was the term recently used (more than once) regarding our manning by one of the chief pilots in my ANG unit. 

We’re seeing more and more young guys (AC’s and Co’s) choose to hump it out at a regional rather than try to build hours in a heavy jet that is increasingly NMC more often than not. 

Meanwhile our experienced traditionals can’t maintain basic currencies to save their lives, and it’s not for a lack of trying. After 6-9 tanker cancellations in a row it becomes impossible to maintain qualification, let alone basic currency. AA/DL/SW/UA only ask for 3 landings in 90 days and a 3-day trip to the sim once a year. You do the math. 

Sinking ship indeed. 

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