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Air Force is hiring for civilian T-6 IPs


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Pile on: the other side of the shithole locations coin is that the people living in nice places are terrified of being forced to PCS to a shithole, so they avoid signing onto anything that might impact control of their own destiny. 

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18 minutes ago, Pooter said:

I've said it before and I'll say it again: base locations are the largest barrier to Air Force retention. 

Laughlin can't even retain geriatric sim instructors reliving their 80's glory days.. never mind young CFII candidates wanting to travel, make money, and maybe even have a social life.  This will crash and burn just like countless other efforts have, because they continually fail to address the root cause.

location

location

location

I'd love to see a study done on the 7 day opt rate for active duty guys getting assignments to places like Laughlin, cannon, holloman etc... But I doubt we'll ever see that. It might actually make the Air Force confront a real cause for the retention issue: the Air Force has systematically closed bases in good locations, and no matter how cool the job, people do not want to live in shitholes. 

While I agree with you...the biggest thing the Air Force can't control is locations. That is 100% politics at nearly the highest level. Good luck convincing any of those Senators who control the real purse strings to shut down bases in their states.

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the locations suck, but it's really the money. how many know people here someone know that took a contractor gig in Kuwait/Qatar/Saudi Arabia/other desert shithole for $$$?

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4 hours ago, StoleIt said:

While I agree with you...the biggest thing the Air Force can't control is locations. That is 100% politics at nearly the highest level. Good luck convincing any of those Senators who control the real purse strings to shut down bases in their states.

Agreed, but Ive also never seen the topic brought up by military leaders in any congressional forum ever. The idea that locations impact retention is not in congressional calculus at all.

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4 hours ago, Day Man said:

the locations suck, but it's really the money. how many know people here someone know that took a contractor gig in Kuwait/Qatar/Saudi Arabia/other desert shithole for $$$?

.. not that many people. I don't know a single one. I know dozens of commercial pilots.  Maybe that appeals to a handful of people extremely motivated by combat ops in the Middle East but that is the exception not the rule. Long term retention on a mass scale in the conus is what I'm talking about. We're not losing experienced pilots in droves to the Middle East contractor mafia in any significant numbers. 

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6 hours ago, Pooter said:

I'd love a study done on the 7 day opt rate for active duty guys getting assignments to places like Laughlin, cannon, holloman etc... But I doubt we'll ever see that. It might actually make the Air Force confront a real cause for the retention issue: the Air Force has systematically closed bases in good locations, and no matter how cool the job, people do not want to live in shitholes. 

When I went to PIT for T-6s to Laughlin in 2016 9 of the 18 who were supposed to show up 7 day opted

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9 hours ago, Day Man said:

the locations suck, but it's really the money. how many know people here someone know that took a contractor gig in Kuwait/Qatar/Saudi Arabia/other desert shithole for $$$?

I know quite a few and they all did a rotational gig. Making $250k+ a year  for usually 3 or 6 months at a time and then not working the other 3 or 6 months isn’t a bad deal. 

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On 6/30/2022 at 10:33 PM, Bigred said:

I know quite a few and they all did a rotational gig. Making $250k+ a year  for usually 3 or 6 months at a time and then not working the other 3 or 6 months isn’t a bad deal. 

Fair enough. I guess for that kind of money you'll get some takers.  
 

I still don't see money as the root cause though. Air Force officer pay is a comfortable living.  It's not competitive with the airlines obviously, but I know countless Air Force pilots who find military flying far more rewarding would happily ride it out to 20 if they could avoid 2 things:

1) being forced to move/deploy somewhere shitty

2) queep

And number 1 continues to ratchet up in importance as you get older because eventually you have a family to worry about.  
 

Why do you think the guard has such great retention? Spoiler: it's not the money. 90% of guard pilots are making bank from the airlines anyway and they choose to come back and fly for pennies on the dollar for the Air Force. It's because they're insulated from being forced to move and from queep. 

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14 hours ago, Pooter said:

Fair enough. I guess for that kind of money you'll get some takers.  
 

I still don't see money as the root cause though. Air Force officer pay is a comfortable living.  It's not competitive with the airlines obviously, but I know countless Air Force pilots who find military flying far more rewarding would happily ride it out to 20 if they could avoid 2 things:

1) being forced to move/deploy somewhere shitty

2) queep

And number 1 continues to ratchet up in importance as you get older because eventually you have a family to worry about.  
 

Why do you think the guard has such great retention? Spoiler: it's not the money. 90% of guard pilots are making bank from the airlines anyway and they choose to come back and fly for pennies on the dollar for the Air Force. It's because they're insulated from being forced to move and from queep. 

Yup, described me to a T. In youth it was 2 then 1, now it's def 1 then 2. Career AFRC, not interested in airline "flying"/schedules/lifestyle. 

As to the AD question, I gave up *money in order to retain control of my life. (*quicker promotions in AD, plus the extra FYs it took me to get into AFRC as an off-the-street vs going AD the second I finished my undergrad, TVM etc). The ARC provided me the vocational control I was looking for, while doing the kind of flying I wanted to do, and still attain an AD retirement. We're very happy with the trade. No ragrets. 

To bring it back on topic, they tried to make us ART at the undesirable location I was at before my current one, and that went down as well as could be expected (read: DOA). They straight up asked me circa 2012ish what would it take for me to take an ART job in lieu of AGR in that location, and I told them: straight up an additional GS-12/13 check ON TOP of the ART GS-13 SSR tables, to compensate for a lost spousal career and the exigency to have to continue at the duty station all the way to MRA (age 57..in an ejection seat MDS no less) vs immediate AD 2.5% multiplier annuity at 20 AD YO. Sq leadership chuckled and nodded, as they knew the answer already and were merely being rhetorical. The conversion flopped.

 

I've done the job in question, and I'd never do it for straight GS, especially without an AD retirement in my back pocket. The DOD is trying to save legacy costs (mainly retirement, VA and tricare for life), so I understand the motivation. Ultimately this is a FUPM dynamic. I'm not going to apologize for not being willing to do this job for civi-only GS (to include the deltas in healthcare, and retired pay). To wit, if the check of the month club was good enough for the @sshole GenXer who held this position before me, then it's good enough for me and mine too. FUPM. 

I do think B-scales create a tense work environment. The rift between ARTs and AGRs was bad enough in my first duty station, straight GS just makes it even worse. Airline folks know all about B-scales. 

BL, B-scales are just caustic in the long term and I rather work in places absent the dynamic.

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  • 3 weeks later...

So... 

AFPC is going through this huge effort... changing the culture of the instructor pilot cadre... and creating 2nd and 3rd order effects that may not be desirable...

to get 7 candidates?  For how many actual selections?

Well... I'm sure this will quickly solve our UPT issues. 

Just curious. Do some of you see this as a good idea?  I'm probably just an out of touch ol' gummer. 

Edited by HuggyU2
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This reminds me of the “fly only” track.  A great idea in theory, but when bounded by decisions from multiple layers of entrenched bureaucracy it becomes in execution unrecognizable from the concept originally intended.

We’re at a point in the life-cycle of bureaucracy where the only play for survival is an aggressive dissolution in huge slices of the status quo.  Unlikely because the only people with authority to make the dramatic cuts necessary rose to their positions by accepting & living within the system.  But that’s what we need.

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Reminds me of the enlisted RPA operators. Left out to dry when a new regime took over…. I envision an “altering the deal” if these guys make it to the line. 

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56 minutes ago, Chida said:

Reminds me of the enlisted RPA operators. Left out to dry when a new regime took over…. I envision an “altering the deal” if these guys make it to the line. 

What did end up happening to those guys? I vaugley recall one being forced into being a T6 Sim IP at Laughlin? Or maybe that was a UPT next dude.

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1 hour ago, LiquidSky said:

What did end up happening to those guys? I vaugley recall one being forced into being a T6 Sim IP at Laughlin? Or maybe that was a UPT next dude.

They were also asked to reclass ASFCs or Comission into needs of Mother Blue. 

https://taskandpurpose.com/news/air-force-enlisted-drone-pilot/

Edited by Swizzle
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5 hours ago, Chida said:

Reminds me of the enlisted RPA operators. Left out to dry when a new regime took over…. I envision an “altering the deal” if these guys make it to the line. 

flights ua GIF

There were 4 enlisted pilots in my URT class and they definitely got left hanging out to dry from the start. What a cursed program.

The USAF should have done the right thing from the start and sent them to OCS with priory placement and then just had them be butter bar pilot trainees with the rest of the puppies from the academy, ROTC and off the street or other non-prior rates OCS folks. They were all high-speed NCOs who were ultimately getting paid less money to have the same level of responsibility as their officer pilot peers in the RQ-4 community. Had they commissioned from the start like they should have, they could have had parity from the start and now more easily flow into the MQ-9.

Not that it was a bad deal and they all volunteered, but it always struck me as unfair to pay them less when there’s an existing 6-9 week quick fix (OCS) for the handful of dudes the program entailed.

Same story with these civilian UPT IPs…just freaking commission them via OCS (because its 7 dudes lol), send them through regular UPT, potentially shortened due to significant prior pilot experience, with a guaranteed assignment as a FAIP. That certainly would be faster than the program as current written! No weird dynamics now, you’re a USAF officer, a full up mil pilot and a FAIP, just like many before them. Hell, you might even retain them beyond their commitments if you let them keep flying sexy military jets, who knows.

It should be freaking rocket science here. Offer quick OCS placement, guaranteed UPT slots with the ability to prof advance or TX through phases you can already pass from day 1, then homestead FAIP assignments, throw in some money as required and I’m sure you’d get “more than 15” applicants.

Edited by nsplayr
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2 hours ago, nsplayr said:

flights ua GIF

There were 4 enlisted pilots in my URT class and they definitely got left hanging out to dry from the start. What a cursed program.

The USAF should have done the right thing from the start and sent them to OCS with priory placement and then just had them be butter bar pilot trainees with the rest of the puppies from the academy, ROTC and off the street or other non-prior rates OCS folks. They were all high-speed NCOs who were ultimately getting paid less money to have the same level of responsibility as their officer pilot peers in the RQ-4 community. Had they commissioned from the start like they should have, they could have had parity from the start and now more easily flow into the MQ-9.

Not that it was a bad deal and they all volunteered, but it always struck me as unfair to pay them less when there’s an existing 6-9 week quick fix (OCS) for the handful of dudes the program entailed.

Same story with these civilian UPT IPs…just freaking commission them via OCS (because its 7 dudes lol), send them through regular UPT, potentially shortened due to significant prior pilot experience, with a guaranteed assignment as a FAIP. That certainly would be faster than the program as current written! No weird dynamics now, you’re a USAF officer, a full up mil pilot and a FAIP, just like many before them. Hell, you might even retain them beyond their commitments if you let them keep flying sexy military jets, who knows.

It should be freaking rocket science here. Offer quick OCS placement, guaranteed UPT slots with the ability to prof advance or TX through phases you can already pass from day 1, then homestead FAIP assignments, throw in some money as required and I’m sure you’d get “more than 15” applicants.

Seems to me the reason they're hiring civilians is so the functional can't deploy them, PCS them to staff, send them to a school, lose them to an MWS...

Your approach has merit, but in the end, it's only as stable as the support from the top. By the time they graduated UPT, the next CSAF could decide they have different priorities and now these folks who signed up to be FAIPs are heading to B-52s and C-130s, and UPT continues to be undermanned. 

One wonders if there was this level of consternation when they first hired civilian academic and sim instructors...

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4 hours ago, pawnman said:

Seems to me the reason they're hiring civilians is so the functional can't deploy them, PCS them to staff, send them to a school, lose them to an MWS...

Your approach has merit, but in the end, it's only as stable as the support from the top. By the time they graduated UPT, the next CSAF could decide they have different priorities and now these folks who signed up to be FAIPs are heading to B-52s and C-130s, and UPT continues to be undermanned. 

One wonders if there was this level of consternation when they first hired civilian academic and sim instructors...

Fair enough, I’m 100% sure that would happen.

I’m not so much ate up about civilians teaching at UPT, I could care less so long as they are qualified and good pilots & instructors and there are mil folks around to teach the officer ship and tactical mindset needed. Almost all the instructors at URT are civilians anyways, although that’s an all-sim syllabus already (🤬) and there were plenty of civilian INs at Nav school back in the day teaching the sims there, which were better training compared to the T-43 flights anyway IMHO.

Mostly this program seems dumb and poorly conceived in the specifics. Instead of paying good money and attracting separated or retired mil IPs or highly qualified civilians who aren’t approx. 14 years old puppy mill CFIs, they design this insane Rube Goldberg system that produces a young & dumb first-time IP way slower than OCS + UPT + FAIP PIT. I predict in the end they hire maybe 5 dudes, with 1-2 actually making it all the way through to being line IPs 6-9 months before the contract is terminated and they waltz off to the airlines anyways.

Edited by nsplayr
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41 minutes ago, nsplayr said:

Fair enough, I’m 100% sure that would happen.

I’m not so much ate up about civilians teaching at UPT, I could care less so long as they are qualified and good pilots & instructors and there are mil folks around to teach the officer ship and tactical mindset needed. Almost all the instructors at URT are civilians anyways, although that’s an all-sim syllabus already (🤬) and there were plenty of civilian INs at Nav school back in the day teaching the sims there, which were better training compared to the T-43 flights anyway IMHO.

Mostly this program seems dumb and poorly conceived in the specifics. Instead of paying good money and attracting separated or retired mil IPs or highly qualified civilians who aren’t approx. 14 years old puppy mill CFIs, they design this insane Rube Goldberg system that produces a young & dumb first-time IP way slower than OCS + UPT + FAIP PIT. I predict in the end they hire maybe 5 dudes, with 1-2 actually making it all the way through to being line IPs 6-9 months before the contract is terminated and they waltz off to the airlines anyways.

Agreed. I don't know why they narrowed the constraints so much. There are definitely CFIs who would jump at the chance to fly aerobatics in the T-6 out there.

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27 minutes ago, pawnman said:

I don't know why they narrowed the constraints so much. There are definitely CFIs who would jump at the chance to fly aerobatics in the T-6 out there.

The constraints were set because they used an existing framework: AFCS PAQ.  You can argue they should have used a different framework or created a standalone program, but the constraints aren’t arbitrary and definitely aren’t unique to this CAIP program.

https://afciviliancareers.com/recentgraduates/

Edited by nunya
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