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Aviation Continuation Pay (ACP - The Bonus)

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Final numbers have been posted...55% take rate. They also have the end of year report up if you want to read it.

 

What's alarming (to everyone but Big Blue...nothing to see here) is the fact that the overall pilot loss rate was 61.7%, with almost 71% of eligible mobility pilots leaving (if I'm reading that right). This also leaves the mobility pilot force the youngest out of all the types. What could possibly go wrong?

Edit: I think the percentages of pilots leaving is based upon those eligible to leave during that FY.

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Final numbers have been posted...55% take rate. They also have the end of year report up if you want to read it.

 

What's alarming (to everyone but Big Blue...nothing to see here) is the fact that the overall pilot loss rate was 61.7%, with almost 71% of eligible mobility pilots leaving (if I'm reading that right). This also leaves the mobility pilot force the youngest out of all the types. What could possibly go wrong?

Where is this posted?  Thanks..

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Those of us who stay because we want to are very much in the minority (anecdotally). I have shaken way too many hands recently and said "thanks for your service, is there anything I can do to help you transition out?"

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Final numbers have been posted...55% take rate. They also have the end of year report up if you want to read it.

What's alarming (to everyone but Big Blue...nothing to see here) is the fact that the overall pilot loss rate was 61.7%, with almost 71% of eligible mobility pilots leaving (if I'm reading that right). This also leaves the mobility pilot force the youngest out of all the types. What could possibly go wrong?

Edit: I think the percentages of pilots leaving is based upon those eligible to leave during that FY.

A few notes from the final ARP report that seem interesting:

- It doesn't mention the fact that overall take rate decreased significantly from last year (59% in FY14 to 55% in FY15), despite lots more money being thrown at the problem. In FY14, only fighter bubbas were offered the 20 YAS ($225k) option, whereas this year all pilots were. 

- It makes no mention of the fact that the early take rate was significantly lower this year--28.9% (217/751) than it was last year--38.0% (283/745. This would seem a leading indicator of even-lower final take rates next year 

- Separations were way up as well; there were 73 normal separations out of 82 total separations in FY15--the last time this number was so high was in '99/'00 during the last big airline hiring boom

- On an optimistic note, the 71% loss rate among eligible mobility pilots was a marked improvement from the previous year. In FY14, it was 101% (due to force shaping, I'm sure)

Can't wait to see what the rated force managers do with the bonus next year. 

TT

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Can't wait to see what the rated force managers do with the bonus next year. 

TT

I think the writing is on the wall ( i.e. The 2016 NDAA). My prediction is bonus goes up to $35K for RPA drivers, stays the same for everyone else. Maybe they delete the 16 year TIS restriction for early/initial eligibles, but I doubt it. Maybe they increase opportunities/amounts for uncommitted eligibles. They are currently processing 15 ETP packages for ineligible pilots requesting the bonus. I do not know if this is normal or not, nor if there is a precedent for approving bonus related policy exceptions, so I can't say if the outcome of those ETPs will have any impact on next year's policy.

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I know a guy (11U) who got his ETP approved a few months ago, so the precedent is there.

Not sure how that's possible since AFPC doesn't even send them up the chain until after the end of the FY and all eligible applications have been processed (they just sent them up late this week). It may have been sent up by his leadership, but nothing has been approved by HAF/A1P.

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My prediction is bonus goes up to $35K for RPA drivers, stays the same for everyone else. 

Why would the bonus go up for RPA pilots, when 11Us had the second-highest take rate of all pilot types (after 11Hs)? 

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Not sure how that's possible since AFPC doesn't even send them up the chain until after the end of the FY and all eligible applications have been processed (they just sent them up late this week). It may have been sent up by his leadership, but nothing has been approved by HAF/A1P.

He'd been waiting a while, it may have been sent the previous fiscal year.

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Why would the bonus go up for RPA pilots, when 11Us had the second-highest take rate of all pilot types (after 11Hs)? 

Soupe du jour

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Why would the bonus go up for RPA pilots, when 11Us had the second-highest take rate of all pilot types (after 11Hs)? 

Taken from H.R.1735-115:

INCREASE IN MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF AVIATION SPECIAL PAYS FOR FLYING DUTY OF REMOTELY PILOTED AIRCRAFT.—Subsection ©(1) of such section is amended— (1) in subparagraph (A), by striking ‘‘exceed $850 per month; and'' and inserting ‘‘exceed— ‘‘(i) $1,000 per month for officers performing quali-fying flying duty relating to remotely piloted aircraft (RPA); or ‘‘(ii) $850 per month for officers performing other qualifying flying duty; and''; and (2) in subparagraph (B), by striking ‘‘$25,000'' and all that follows and inserting ‘‘, for each 12-month period of obligated service agreed to under subsection (d)— ‘‘(i) $35,000 for officers performing qualifying flying duty relating to remotely piloted aircraft; or ‘‘(ii) $25,000 for officers performing other quali-fying flying duty.''.

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Taken from H.R.1735-115:

INCREASE IN MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF AVIATION SPECIAL PAYS FOR FLYING DUTY OF REMOTELY PILOTED AIRCRAFT.—Subsection ©(1) of such section is amended— (1) in subparagraph (A), by striking ‘‘exceed $850 per month; and'' and inserting ‘‘exceed— ‘‘(i) $1,000 per month for officers performing quali-fying flying duty relating to remotely piloted aircraft (RPA); or ‘‘(ii) $850 per month for officers performing other qualifying flying duty; and''; and (2) in subparagraph (B), by striking ‘‘$25,000'' and all that follows and inserting ‘‘, for each 12-month period of obligated service agreed to under subsection (d)— ‘‘(i) $35,000 for officers performing qualifying flying duty relating to remotely piloted aircraft; or ‘‘(ii) $25,000 for officers performing other quali-fying flying duty.''.

If I am at the 14 year point.. and decide to go RPA, does this $35000 apply to me?  If not, what would I get as a RPA dude?

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Reading through the current law, it's clear our service isn't maximizing its current authorities.  

1.  The law allows for a $25K bonus to be paid to any pilot who has completed their initial UPT commitment.  That isn't being done as there are still restrictions on eligibility (essentially no late rateds and no one over 20 YAS are eligible).  The $35K bonus for RPA only brings the bonus in line with inflation since the bonus' inception ~2000.  

2.  The secretary has the authority to increase flight pay to $850/month for all pilots.  A great many of the pilots who left in the last year were not eligible for the $850 payment.  

2a.  As far back as I can remember (1996 I think), flight pay has topped out at $850/month and followed the same seniority structure.  In current dollars, flight pay should top out at $1,300 if you held it constant from that time.  I'm fairly certain it topped at $850 long before then.  In other words, the secretary (many secretaries, actually) have allowed flight pay to be eroded by roughly 2/3 without acting within their authority to mitigate even a portion of the decline.  In that light, the service's request of $1,000 for RPA pilots only is a slap in everyone's face -- they're trying to get off cheap.  

Bottom line, until we see the Secretary maximizing the use of her current authorities -- even just for RPA pilots -- the service isn't serious about pilot retention.  The argument with congress today ought to be for a dramatic increase in flight pay and a $35K bonus for all.  Selected groups (determined by significantly lower retention rates combined with lower manning percentages) should be getting even more.  Doing so will encourage members of lower-stressed communities to move to more challenged assignments.

Source: GPOInflation

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If I am at the 14 year point.. and decide to go RPA, does this $35000 apply to me?  If not, what would I get as a RPA dude?

The law says:

(3) FIXING BONUS AMOUNT.—Upon acceptance by the Secretary concerned of the written agreement required by subsection (d), the total amount of the bonus to be paid under the agreement shall be fixed. 

I'm no lawyer, but I believe that means you'd have to enter a new agreement.  However, I think the second agreement could run concurrently with the original.  For example, it could require you to serve some amount of time in an RPA.  If this bill gets passed, the key is to read the PDSM and ask AFPC if you're confused.  I asked them a question this last year when I extended my bonus and got a pretty complete answer from the guy who handles the bonuses for AFPC.  

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... the overall pilot loss rate was 61.7%, with almost 71% of eligible mobility pilots leaving (if I'm reading that right). This also leaves the mobility pilot force the youngest out of all the types. What could possibly go wrong?

No doubt in my mind that the mobility pilot community is hurting, and the evidence is in the ACP reports.

It’s difficult to comprehend why the 20 YAS option wasn’t offered to 11Ms until last FY. Maybe if rated managers had acknowledged the clearly pending train wreck in the 11M community years ago, there might be some experience at the wing level and below, and we might have enough 11Ms remain on active duty long enough to be picky about future senior mobility leaders.

Read below for the long version. Not saying other communities aren’t equally screwed, but rather sticking with what I know:

- The 11M community alone has, over the past 3 years, lost 600 pilots/year (to all causes—retirements, separations, promotion to O-6, etc.)

 About 250 of the above were 11Ms who either retired or were promoted to O-6

--- The majority of the remaining 350 were experienced aviators with 12-19 yrs commissioned service (folks who might have stayed if not offered TERA and/or were offered 20 YAS option)

- I’ll be very generous and estimate that the AF is producing 400 11Ms/yr (my guess is it’s closer to 300-350, maybe even less after discounting those lost to 11U billets)

Bottom line, the Air Force is losing 11Ms at least 50% faster than they’re replacing them, and those highly experienced folks who left are being backfilled with dudes who are being crushed by undermanning, a dearth of experienced pilots in the squadrons, the threat of RPA nonvols, etc.

The Air Force’s apparent response, as indicated by congressional rulemaking, is to further incentivize folks to pursue RPA assignments.

It’ll take some very inspired leadership to pull the 11M community through the next several years, but the stats don’t bode well in this respect, either. Optimistically, about 60 11M O-5s will meet the O-6 board in the zone at the next board. The Air Force has promoted 43 11Ms per year (on average, over the past 3 years) to O-6. At a 45% IPZ promotion rate, that’ll yield just 27 new 11-M O-6s . . . which will mean that the few 11Ms promoted to O-6 will be all the more stretched thin, with ever-fewer graybeard O-5 11M types in wings/groups/squadrons to back them up. The 12M community has shrunk so significantly that they can’t help as much with filling OSS/other billets in lieu of 11Ms like they used to during years past. The ensuing inevitable clown show in the mobility community—due to senior leaders and their staffs being overworked—will provide all the more incentive for young 11Ms to get out at the earliest opportunity, thus perpetuating the cycle.

Meanwhile, the Air Force fiddles with the soup du jour (RPAs), while the overall pilot community burns. The 11M community, if 11F take rates and discussion all over this forum are any indication, isn’t the only one suffering from a lack of foresight from rated force managers.

TT

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TL;DR

TT, here's the video of the AF trying to figure out the ACP:  Totally aims in the wrong direction, gets in his own way, only gets 45% of the water in his mouth, but exhales "ahhh" and smiles with glee anyway.    .....holy shit man, don't overthink it. 

 

Copy. I figured the short version--"11Ms are being driven into the ground by rated force managers and the senior leaders dumb enough to listen to them"--didn't cut it. The video works though. 

- BTW, I'm sure the $35k bonus for RPA drivers is totally going to make a difference by convincing the eleven FY16 initial eligible RPA pilots who didn't already take the early bonus to stay on active duty 

TT

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- The 11M community alone has, over the past 3 years, lost 600 pilots/year (to all causes—retirements, separations, promotion to O-6, etc.)

 

I can't tell you how much I enjoy reading that promotion to O-6 is a loss of a pilot.  Sad state of affairs.

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I'm sure the extra $35k for RPAs will make a huge difference. Especially when you can take your form 8 across the hall and be hired to do the same job without the active duty bullshit for significantly more money.

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^ Agreed.  

When we're giving physicians up to $100,000 annual bonuses, it's hard for the CSAF to argue he can't compete on pay.  What's even wackier is the AF is paying the contractors a profit on the pay we supposedly can't gather for uniformed members!

The deal with the all volunteer military is that you have to pay what the market will bear.  The AF has figured that out in other contexts.  Leadership isn't even trying to solve the problem.

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Bottom line, pay is nice but not a single one of you joined the military for the pay. For most, pay will not be the reason people leave. I truly believe we have the best job in the world and being a glorified aerial bus driver shouldn't be able to compete. However with the toxic leadership, the piss poor people management, deployed empire building to prop up the next generation of "combat" generals, and the general apathy from the Air Force makes this decision easy for most. Throwing money at the problem is not going to buy loyalty, but merely keep some fence sitters in for a little while longer.

Just my $.02.

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Throwing money at the problem is not going to buy loyalty, but merely keep some fence sitters in for a little while longer.

Just my $.02.

Are you loath to make a decision? We value your indecisiveness. Here, here's another $10k/yr to help you feel good about undervaluing your life choices.

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No doubt in my mind that the mobility pilot community is hurting, and the evidence is in the ACP reports.

 

It’s difficult to comprehend why the 20 YAS option wasn’t offered to 11Ms until last FY. Maybe if rated managers had acknowledged the clearly pending train wreck in the 11M community years ago, there might be some experience at the wing level and below, and we might have enough 11Ms remain on active duty long enough to be picky about future senior mobility leaders.

 

Read below for the long version. Not saying other communities aren’t equally screwed, but rather sticking with what I know:

 

- The 11M community alone has, over the past 3 years, lost 600 pilots/year (to all causes—retirements, separations, promotion to O-6, etc.)

 

 

About 250 of the above were 11Ms who either retired or were promoted to O-6

 

--- The majority of the remaining 350 were experienced aviators with 12-19 yrs commissioned service (folks who might have stayed if not offered TERA and/or were offered 20 YAS option)

 

- I’ll be very generous and estimate that the AF is producing 400 11Ms/yr (my guess is it’s closer to 300-350, maybe even less after discounting those lost to 11U billets)

 

Bottom line, the Air Force is losing 11Ms at least 50% faster than they’re replacing them, and those highly experienced folks who left are being backfilled with dudes who are being crushed by undermanning, a dearth of experienced pilots in the squadrons, the threat of RPA nonvols, etc.

 

The Air Force’s apparent response, as indicated by congressional rulemaking, is to further incentivize folks to pursue RPA assignments.

 

It’ll take some very inspired leadership to pull the 11M community through the next several years, but the stats don’t bode well in this respect, either. Optimistically, about 60 11M O-5s will meet the O-6 board in the zone at the next board. The Air Force has promoted 43 11Ms per year (on average, over the past 3 years) to O-6. At a 45% IPZ promotion rate, that’ll yield just 27 new 11-M O-6s . . . which will mean that the few 11Ms promoted to O-6 will be all the more stretched thin, with ever-fewer graybeard O-5 11M types in wings/groups/squadrons to back them up. The 12M community has shrunk so significantly that they can’t help as much with filling OSS/other billets in lieu of 11Ms like they used to during years past. The ensuing inevitable clown show in the mobility community—due to senior leaders and their staffs being overworked—will provide all the more incentive for young 11Ms to get out at the earliest opportunity, thus perpetuating the cycle.

 

Meanwhile, the Air Force fiddles with the soup du jour (RPAs), while the overall pilot community burns. The 11M community, if 11F take rates and discussion all over this forum are any indication, isn’t the only one suffering from a lack of foresight from rated force managers.

 

 

TT

 

I know this anecdotal instead of numbers, but in my tanker squadron we've got more Lt Cols than Lts. We were all kicked off various staffs and sent back flying the line again.  I've been in units where the only Lt Col was the commander, and we have 3 in the squadron, and 4 more farmed out to wing and group jobs, in a CAF wing.  Our biggest gap seems to be the senior Captains, which I believe we have 1 or 2. 

Until they have a hard time filling IDE and SDE slots, I can't see how things are going to change retention-wise.  You will always have more then enough people who want to fly planes for a living.  The hard part is keeping them flying airplanes and not spending 96.9% of their time on DTS, MICT, 2 below PRFs, SAPR, Christmas party planning, and fire extinguisher CBTs. 

 

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I know this anecdotal instead of numbers, but in my tanker squadron we've got more Lt Cols than Lts. We were all kicked off various staffs and sent back flying the line again.  I've been in units where the only Lt Col was the commander, and we have 3 in the squadron, and 4 more farmed out to wing and group jobs, in a CAF wing.  Our biggest gap seems to be the senior Captains, which I believe we have 1 or 2. 

Until they have a hard time filling IDE and SDE slots, I can't see how things are going to change retention-wise.  You will always have more then enough people who want to fly planes for a living.  The hard part is keeping them flying airplanes and not spending 96.9% of their time on DTS, MICT, 2 below PRFs, SAPR, Christmas party planning, and fire extinguisher CBTs. 

 

Dude, as you noted, I'm going off of overall numbers from the final ACP report and personal experience which both indicate the Air Force is way short on O-5 mobility types. I'm not a personnelist, so take my rantings for what they're worth.

Good on you and your peers for getting back to flying billets as you approach retirement eligibility.

The numbers I've found simply don't support anything remotely close to an overage of senior 11Ms. There are, for instance, only 65 Lt Cols with 19 yrs service filling 11M billets right now--across the entire Air Force, in all mobility aircraft types. That doesn't seem to equate to excess capacity. I suspect, but have no way to verify, that the relative overmanning of O-5s at your location is due purely to your being in a CAF wing. I can only think of a couple places with an active duty tanker sq at a CAF base, and both are significant deviations from the MAF norm in multiple ways. Cynically, I see the circumstance at your base as an underhanded way to backfill 11F billets at your base at the expense of the tanker squadron:  

- The Air Force is short (verifiably so) of 11Fs

- Recognizing an opportunity, AFPC sends O-5 11Ms to the tanker sq, knowing that many of them will get farmed out to the group/wing (and likely not the most promotable jobs), thus sparing 11Fs to fly the line and/or fill group/wing staff jobs that matter and will get them promoted

- Sending all you experienced O-5 11Ms to the squadron (even though that's not where many of you are really working) means that, at least according to AFPC, you have more than enough experience in the squadron (you already have 7 O-5s "in the squadron") so you thus don't really need any more senior O-3 or O-4 types. Of course, 11M O-4s hardly exist if current take rates are any indication: most are in school, on staff, or deployed to buttkrakistan, so asking for more of them is a fool's errand; and the senior O-3s are likely stuck at Altus 

I'm not at a tanker base and it's entirely possible I'm reading the numbers all wrong--maybe the MAF community is awash in greybeard Lt Col types. I'd love to hear from someone at McConnell or Fairchild as to their current experience mix. 

Bringing this back to the ACP discussion, I suspect the crew mix at tanker wings will indicate that force shaping has been less than successful for the 11M community, and tankers in particular.

TT

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I didn't join strictly for the pay, but I also didn't sign up to do this stuff for free.
Edited by pawnman
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