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Pilot Shortage Deepens, USAF is SCREWED.


ClearedHot

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1 hour ago, dream big said:

Not sure what the hype is, there is already a program for enlisted to become pilots: it’s called OTS...

I've been saying this all along too. Being an "enlisted pilot" is a pretty shit deal for the folks who might do it. Same responsibilities as a commissioned pilot, for what, half the pay? Screw that. Give Wing Commanders the ability to nominate folks to dedicated OTS slots, quick turn around, and boom, you have a new officer ready to become a pilot. Absent a Warrant Officer program, sending high performers who would be great pilots to OTS real quick seems like the easiest solution.

Edited by nsplayr
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5 hours ago, M2 said:

I wouldn't take anything posted on Military.com as official, even if quoting "Enlisted Jesus"...

The USAF is already producing enlisted RPA drivers, which will be the extent of it.  If anything, expect that pipeline will expand.  Nothing else.

Even that’s a reach. I know almost nothing about the RQ-4, but the global hawk is the only place there are enlisted pilots, and from what I’m told it’s more “systems management” than tradional pilot type things. 

 

Im just spit ballin from my little corner of the AF but I would say it would take 5+ years of enlisted guys proving themselves in the MQ-9 before they saw manned slots, and I haven’t heard anything about that happening. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it soon though, you heard it here first, but in 12-18 months the drone pilot shortage is going to be just as bad if not worse than the manned side. 

Alpha bros and UPT dirtects are all being sent back manned, initial 18x commitments are up and they are all punching, and the 18x pipeline for pilots and sensors can’t keep up. 

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I've been saying this all along too. Being an "enlisted pilot" is a pretty shit deal for the folks who might do it. Same responsibilities as a commissioned pilot, for what, half the pay? Screw that. Give Wing Commanders the ability to nominate folks to dedicated OTS slots, quick turn around, and boom, you have a new officer ready to become a pilot. Absent a Warrant Officer program, sending high performers who would be great pilots to OTS real quick seems like the easiest solution.

If only it was that easy. Word on the street is big AF cancelled all 2018 AD OTS boards....guess we don’t need people.

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1 hour ago, viper154 said:

Even that’s a reach. I know almost nothing about the RQ-4, but the global hawk is the only place there are enlisted pilots, and from what I’m told it’s more “systems management” than tradional pilot type things. 

 

Im just spit ballin from my little corner of the AF but I would say it would take 5+ years of enlisted guys proving themselves in the MQ-9 before they saw manned slots, and I haven’t heard anything about that happening. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it soon though, you heard it here first, but in 12-18 months the drone pilot shortage is going to be just as bad if not worse than the manned side. 

Alpha bros and UPT dirtects are all being sent back manned, initial 18x commitments are up and they are all punching, and the 18x pipeline for pilots and sensors can’t keep up. 

The only thing I can see is that they slow down the Alpha tour returnees when they figure this out. Hell I’ve straight up asked the RPA functional if they are even thinking about what to do when all the initial 18x folks start punching which they aren’t even thinking about that yet. The only saving grace is that they have told all the upt directs they will be gone by the end of 19. 

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43 minutes ago, LookieRookie said:

Are the UPT-Dv2.0 meeting the RPA recat board?

No they aren’t. The recat board is for folks who have been out of their primary mws for a long time or who have been in for 13 years or longer. Plus they have changed the way they are doing recats if I understood the functional correctly. This board is more of a way to look at guys who want to stay. But then again can we really trust A1 anymore? 

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On 3/31/2018 at 9:03 PM, cragspider said:

No they aren’t. The recat board is for folks who have been out of their primary mws for a long time or who have been in for 13 years or longer. Plus they have changed the way they are doing recats if I understood the functional correctly. This board is more of a way to look at guys who want to stay. But then again can we really trust A1 anymore? 

The A1 are the idiots who helped fuel the manning mess to begin with.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The GAO is out with a new report sounding the alarm of the Fighter Pilot shortage across DoD.  Fully 1/4 of all Fighter Pilot billets are now empty.  There were some interesting gems in the report like how the Navy tried to normalize some of the shortages by EXTENDING deployments.  Also, over the past four years over 1/3 of the USAF's Fighter Pilots have elected to leave the service.

 

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52 minutes ago, ClearedHot said:

The GAO is out with a new report sounding the alarm of the Fighter Pilot shortage across DoD.  Fully 1/4 of all Fighter Pilot billets are now empty.  There were some interesting gems in the report like how the Navy tried to normalize some of the shortages by EXTENDING deployments.  Also, over the past four years over 1/3 of the USAF's Fighter Pilots have elected to leave the service.

 

The 06 year group doesn't even have enough guys to fill all the cc billets.

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59 minutes ago, ClearedHot said:

The GAO is out with a new report sounding the alarm of the Fighter Pilot shortage across DoD.  Fully 1/4 of all Fighter Pilot billets are now empty.  There were some interesting gems in the report like how the Navy tried to normalize some of the shortages by EXTENDING deployments.  Also, over the past four years over 1/3 of the USAF's Fighter Pilots have elected to leave the service.

 

Yea, that caught my eye as well.

For example, the Navy told GAO that extending fighter pilots’ deployments helped them reduce that 2017 first tour pilot gap from 136 pilots, or 26 percent, to 75 pilots, or 15 percent.

Sounds about right for a short term fix that becomes a long term problem.

Edited by MDDieselPilot
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10 hours ago, ClearedHot said:

Also, over the past four years over 1/3 of the USAF's Fighter Pilots have elected to leave the service.

Did you read that to mean 1/3 of those eligible to separate or retire actually did, or 1/3 of the total fighter pilot population left?   I could't find the data on that...

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4 hours ago, Champ Kind said:


2006 commissioning year group? Filling squadron cc billets?

The guys with "the right stuff" have been ID'd for a while, so it makes sense to me that the brass can look at the field and see there ain't enough shiny pennies around to fill all the seats.

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34 minutes ago, nsplayr said:

The guys with "the right stuff" have been ID'd for a while, so it makes sense to me that the brass can look at the field and see there ain't enough shiny pennies around to fill all the seats.

As an 06 guy...In my community (with some data points across other airframes), the guys with "the right stuff" are at school or off doing AF level staff stuff now.  The next level and below are doing MAJCOM staff or filling deployed CC/DO billets.  I think MAJCOM did a good job picking the people with "the right stuff," for the most part.  Although, I think there are some surprises that will be interesting when they are in charge.  Outside of the shiny penny group... I know two... literally two 06 year group aircrew that are sticking around.  Everyone else I know has left already, dropped paperwork, 7 day opted, or plan to 7 day opt on the next deployment/PCS (I wonder how the bonus taker stats will relate to those that have left without ever being offered a bonus????). 

I kind of feel bad for "the right stuff" peeps.  They aren't going to have any peers to help them out when they get back to the squads, groups, or wings.  You know, the ones with the first hand knowledge of deployed tactical ops or working the staff grind.  But, experienced IP's/EP's will just be replaced with less experienced IP's/EP's... with those lesser experienced peeps being pulled for "other" type jobs and deployments due to the vacuum above.  The status quo will change by the time they return in two-four years.  

Overall, I think things are changing for the good and heading in the right direction, but I think there is going to be some choppy waters for the next few years as the AF figures this out.  

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1 hour ago, RTB said:

Did you read that to mean 1/3 of those eligible to separate or retire actually did, or 1/3 of the total fighter pilot population left?   I could't find the data on that...

The report worded it to say 1/3 of the entire population.  Further 65% of eligibles have declined the bonus.

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6 hours ago, Gunnermcjack said:

"GAO recommends that the Air Force, the Navy, and the Marine Corps reevaluate fighter pilot squadron requirements. DOD concurred with the recommendations"

Can't meet the mins? Lower the bar! Reduction in authorized billets coming to a squadron near you! 

For this the report mentioned the admin duties and other work that's been given to pilots, not your actual job.  The one page is rather daming, not sure if the rest of the 69 is worth the look.

Let me know when SECAF starts holding some former 3 & 4-stars accountable...

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Interesting tid bit from the GAO report:

"Air Force officials added that during that period, Air Force fighter pilot gaps were generally limited to non-operational positions, such as staff assignments at Air Force headquarters or combatant commands. However, our analysis found that the Air Force has been unable to fully staff operational positions since fiscal year 2014."

 

 

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8 hours ago, RTB said:

Interesting tid bit from the GAO report:

"Air Force officials added that during that period, Air Force fighter pilot gaps were generally limited to non-operational positions, such as staff assignments at Air Force headquarters or combatant commands. However, our analysis found that the Air Force has been unable to fully staff operational positions since fiscal year 2014."

 

 

I guess it depends how you define "operational positions".  For example, our FTU couldn't get in on the civilian hiring wave because the FTU isn't an "operational squadron".  

 

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