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Guardian

Military Pilot Shortage and Aero Clubs

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With all of these programs to build the pilot population and pilot training cranking out high numbers of pilots yet we are still looking for more pilots, why doesn’t the Air Force reinstitute aero clubs at bases? I know there are a few remaining. But they are the exception. Thoughts?

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Money for MWR and WG/CC’s being willing to accept risk... even a little bit, is in short supply these days. We have one, but it’s cheaper to rent on the economy.

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People who want to become pilots is a far smaller issue than pilots who want to stay in the AF.  Mid level experience is the shortage.  The AF is trying to outgrow the retention issue by making more pilots, but already maxed out mx, training bases, etc.

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I understand. But the point is there are so many enlisted that want to become pilots. Even if not in the military in the civilian market. Seems like it would fit and be a great low cost program to make happen.

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57 minutes ago, Guardian said:

I understand. But the point is there are so many enlisted that want to become pilots. Even if not in the military in the civilian market. Seems like it would fit and be a great low cost program to make happen.

There isn't a shortage of volunteers as said before and before.  

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Initiation fees, monthly mandatory safety meetings that make you ineligible to fly if you miss them, FCIF system, sign offs by chief instructors 3-7 days in advance for any plan that left the local area, annual instrument tests, etc. 

I looked into it at Offutt, and the bylaws were beyond stupid. It was like all the backwards of an operational squadron with the bonus of paying monthly dues and $120-150/hr for a plane. 

So yeah, most shut down, and I can understand why. 

Edited by xaarman
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16 hours ago, raimius said:

People who want to become pilots is a far smaller issue than pilots who want to stay in the AF.  Mid level experience is the shortage.  The AF is trying to outgrow the retention issue by making more pilots, but already maxed out mx, training bases, etc.

^that checks

Keeping pilots = the real issue 

Not simply producing them. They just need to make UPT a 20 yr ADSC and problem solved! Then they don’t have to address anything else they’re doing that’s causing folks to leave. 

(enter sarcasm) 

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15 hours ago, uhhello said:

There isn't a shortage of volunteers as said before and before.  

But if we can get the initial training for those volunteers while they pay for it, seems like we could reduce or eliminate IFS for them, saving money and time in the pipeline.

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If anyone thinks the AF will stand up flying clubs, you’re in a dream world...just reference how long it takes to complete a fvxking PFT.... How many videos do I have to watch? Two separate documents to fill out? I can only imagine the stupid lawyered up BS that would have to be “accomplished” prior to even opening the door of an AF owned C-172

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If you want a taste of flying with AF aeroclubs, go join CAP and fly their airplanes.  Better men than I have been run off by the red tape concertina wire.

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I was briefly involved in the attempt to galvanize support for the re opening of the flying club two duty stations ago, and the bottom line is that it comes down to money over risk. WG/CC don't want the hassle and the club would be a burden on the general funding if not supported by the IFT graft money. Good bad or indifferent, it was a straight up cash cow for the instructors involved, but once thatmoney dried up, the other facilities wanted nothing to do with upkeeping the airplanes, which is why you saw them die en masee when the money was gone. The ladies at the CDC outvote you compared to the couple cats that want to have access to general aviation.

It;s not just the military, as a private aircraft owner myself and involved in GA for longer I've been in the military, I can attest to the fact GA is a hard sell to the pedestrians on the civilian side of the street. Costs of certified anything make it a troubling proposition. Also, since most people want automotive quality accomodations for automotive prices, the proposition of spam cans become a non starter quick, since it only offers automotive comfort at million dollar housing prices.

 

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17 hours ago, Guardian said:

Seems like it would fit and be a great low cost program to make happen.

There just is nothing low-cost about General Aviation anymore.....

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18 hours ago, Guardian said:

I understand. But the point is there are so many enlisted that want to become pilots. Even if not in the military in the civilian market. Seems like it would fit and be a great low cost program to make happen.

Low cost = cost passed on to the taxpayer.

If an elitsted person wants a career in civilian flying post military then there are plenty of existing ways for them to do so.

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Robins has an aero club and I know a couple non-pilot types that are getting their civilian ratings to hopefully apply to a UFT board. The base offered a significant scholarship to any AD or AD spouse. Very few applicants, but one of our penguins was awarded a scholarship and it’s nearly paying for his entire PPL. If anything, it will help their PCSM if they don’t complete the entire program. 

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1 minute ago, DEVIL said:

Boldface for a -172. No thanks.

Is each aero club an entity unto itself or is there some part of ‘big air force’ that sets policy for everybody? In other words, who is responsible for taking the fun out of flying for fun, and who can call them a cockbag on the telephone without serious repercussions?

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The pain of dealing with the Aeroclub was not worth the cash saved IMO. Leave it to the AF to make FCIF's, mandatory all calls, and an ops limit/bold face for a 150hp bug smasher.

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Low cost = cost passed on to the taxpayer.
If an elitsted person wants a career in civilian flying post military then there are plenty of existing ways for them to do so.

And those are?

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2 hours ago, StoleIt said:

The pain of dealing with the Aeroclub was not worth the cash saved IMO. Leave it to the AF to make FCIF's, mandatory all calls, and an ops limit/bold face for a 150hp bug smasher.

Indeed. One of the things I'm most glad of is that my first exposure to aviation was civilian flying. UPT almost cured me from wanting to fly professionally for a living. I absolutely cherish my private aircraft ownership and also work hard to keep it as far away from anything work-related as possible. I enjoy the craft I'm allowed to draw a paycheck from the AF for, but at the end of the day it's tiring work. It would absolutely cure me from flying if I had to approach my own recreational/travel flying the same way. fwiw, I would say the same thing about airline flying. Just not my idea of a good time while flying. To each their own.

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3 hours ago, jice said:

Is each aero club an entity unto itself or is there some part of ‘big air force’ that sets policy for everybody? In other words, who is responsible for taking the fun out of flying for fun, and who can call them a cockbag on the telephone without serious repercussions?

So there is an AFI that mandates how Aero Clubs operate, and I want to say they fall under the Air Force Safety center (spitballing, I'm not sure). I've flown casually with the Holloman Aero Club, and I've enjoyed it (its no where near as bad as everyone on here is making it sound).

When you first show up, there are 4-5 hours of tests to knock out for the next 2 years (a club standards test, an aircraft test, and a CAPS test) and you need a local checkout flight (1-1.5 hours). Other than that, your supposed to attend a safety meeting every month (if you don't, you read the slides/minutes for 5 minutes and sign off at your leisure). This is the admin.

The good stuff...rental rates and instructor rates are slightly cheaper than local FBOs ($10-20/hr...not substantial) and booking the planes is first come first serve for cross countries for the whole year. There is supposed to be a 2 hour per day minimum for cross countries, but our club is pretty chill and doesn't really worry about it. I think its a perk having cheap'er'ish planes ready to fly 3 minutes away from my house on base.

Edited by GoodSplash9

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5 hours ago, GoodSplash9 said:

So there is an AFI that mandates how Aero Clubs operate, and I want to say they fall under the Air Force Safety center (spitballing, I'm not sure). I've flown casually with the Holloman Aero Club, and I've enjoyed it (its no where near as bad as everyone on here is making it sound).

When you first show up, there are 4-5 hours of tests to knock out for the next 2 years (a club standards test, an aircraft test, and a CAPS test) and you need a local checkout flight (1-1.5 hours). Other than that, your supposed to attend a safety meeting every month (if you don't, you read the slides/minutes for 5 minutes and sign off at your leisure). This is the admin.

The good stuff...rental rates and instructor rates are slightly cheaper than local FBOs ($10-20/hr...not substantial) and booking the planes is first come first serve for cross countries for the whole year. There is supposed to be a 2 hour per day minimum for cross countries, but our club is pretty chill and doesn't really worry about it. I think its a perk having cheap'er'ish planes ready to fly 3 minutes away from my house on base.

Does the 4-5 hours of testing include a flight? If so that would be pretty in line with most insurance checkouts through an FBO. 

If not, then screw that BS. 

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8 hours ago, Guardian said:


And those are?

The same programs that civilians use everyday to become pilots...or do these programs not accept former enlisted dudes?

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50 minutes ago, HeloDude said:

The same programs that civilians use everyday to become pilots...or do these programs not accept former enlisted dudes?

Oh, the ones that cost more than a four-year degree?

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1 hour ago, pawnman said:

Oh, the ones that cost more than a four-year degree?

You can use your GI Bill to pursue general aviation qualifications if I'm not mistaken. Might be a drop in the bucket for some programs, but it'll cover a PPL. 

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