Study shows grim outlook future for Air Force pilot shortage

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Elite 1K

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Unread post16 Apr 2019, 09:10 ... rtage/amp/

The Air Force is hurting for about 800 active duty pilots and 1,150 reserve pilots. The shortfall is most acute within the fighter community. An estimate from the RAND Corporation states the active duty pilot deficit will grow to 1,607 by 2023.

To keep the Air Force Major Commands staffed with pilots, the service needs 12,842 active duty pilots; 3,843 Air National Guard pilots and 3,684 reserve pilots in a steady state. That analysis does not include the 4,490 combat system officers; 2,017 battle managers; 3,304 drone pilots or the 14,908 enlisted airmen that keep the ecosystem afloat.

One thing the Air Force and DoD are competing with is the 30,000 pilots that will retire from commercial airlines by 2026, leading to a talent grab between industry and the military.

A recent RAND study found the cost of training a basic qualified fighter pilot ranges from $5.6 million for an F-16 pilot to $10.9 million for an F-22 pilot.

The study found that retaining pilots is more efficient than training new ones even if the Air Force increased its yearly incentive pay to $100,000 per year of additional commitment to retain mid-career pilots. Incentive pay is nowhere near that number and quality of life is pushing mid-career pilots to the commercial sector.

“Job dissatisfaction, career dissatisfaction, frequent and long deployments, poor quality of life, non-competitive pay and lack of personal and professional development are among the reasons cited for why many experienced military pilots separate from military service,” the DoD study states. Pilots aren’t happy in the military and the packages the Air Force has to offer aren’t cutting it.

The study states that major airline hiring increased steadily from 2012 and during that timeframe the number of eligible Air Force pilots who took aviation bonuses decreased from 67% to 44%.

To the Air Force’s credit, it has tried to better quality of life and service. It gave pilots more flexibility it professional development pathways, eliminated non-essential training and cut operational and administrative requirements.

Still with all the changes, the service does not think its incentive bonus programs are competitive enough to satisfy pilots monetarily. The current cap is at $35,000 a year, but the Air Force thinks it needs to offer more to keep pilots in the service.


Elite 2K

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Unread post16 Apr 2019, 09:57

Not new. GAO highlighted the shortage in April last year.

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