"AF Short 700 Fighter Pilots..." How does this affect us?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Emory4llstate, Aug 11, 2016.

  1. Emory4llstate

    Emory4llstate Member

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    As many of you did, I saw on the News today as AF officials released the statements about Fighter Pilot shortages. 700 by the end of this year and 1,100 by 2020. I know that the pull for pilots is influenced by many factors, but as an AFROTC 300 Cadet, graduating in FY19 as an Aerospace Engineering major, how does this influence me? Seems to me like everything is looking up in regards to me achieving my dream of becoming a USAF pilot, but can anyone else add on some info on all this? Thanks!
     
  2. AlphaAlphaSigma

    AlphaAlphaSigma Member

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    Everyone talks about the fighter shortage and every aspiring pilot (including myself) wants to believe that the shortage means that the Air Force will hand out pilot slots to anyone that walks through the door. The thing is that the Air Force is loosing senior seasoned fighter pilots not JOs. With ten year initial commitments the Air Force has a lot of stability for Lts-Cpts but when it comes to Majs-Cols more of them are inclined to leave rather than stay. A mass exodus of senior leaders is bad in any organization. There is also a problem in getting enough instructors to train pilots. There can be more supply of pilots if only there are more supply of instructors. Unfortunately the fighter pilot shortage is also affecting instructors. With not enough instructors the training pipeline can only pump out so much pilots. Right now a lot of commissionees are waiting >6 months to go to flight school. Even before flight school student pilots are waiting around several months of casual. That's a lot of money that the Air Force has to shell out for little to no useful production out of their Lts. If pipeline is backed up the Air Force is not inclined to increase pilot slots unless they have a plan to alleviate the training pipeline backlog.
     
  3. Emory4llstate

    Emory4llstate Member

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    That makes sense. But with everyone always talking about how the AF plans these numbers years in advance, it seems like the only way to satisfy these numbers (without offering some insane bonuses for veteran pilots) would be to add more incoming pilots. Just me rambling, I have no idea how it all works. Thanks for that helpful insight though!!
     
  4. Sled

    Sled Member

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    Yep, the primary problem is the retaining of the pilots and not how many people are willing to train to become a pilot.
     
  5. Day-Tripper

    Day-Tripper Member

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    I believe that the USAF did not foresee a myriad of factors, such as:

    * the improving domestic economy (never good for military recruitment)
    * decline in fuel costs that commercial airlines pay which made flights cheaper & more in demand (i.e. Saudi vs fracker price war)
    * leading to more commercial flights & demand for more pilots
    * sudden decline in commercial pilots, due to retirements, after a decade of non-hiring as a cost-cutting measure
    * sudden need for commercial pilots leading to $$$$$ being offered to USAF, USN, RAF, etc pilots to jump ship & go private sector

    USAF is now trying to see over-the-hill to fill pilot slots for next few decades.

    They used to say to get into US Army OCS you needed a degree & a pulse. At least in the old days. While it might not be quite that easy to become a pilot/aviator/flight officer nowadays, it certainly appears as though it will become somewhat easier in the future.

    If US economy continues to improve & Russia/China (not to mention the swamp in the Middle East) continue to grow in aggressiveness, I foresee US defense budget growing in years to come.
     
  6. noketchup

    noketchup Member

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    I don't really forsee a huge uptick in pilot slots this year, but Im sure it could go up a bit. Last year I think was 345, the year before was 381. Maybe it could go near 400? Or not. Its hard to decipher. Then you've got to consider they opened up the OTS spicket this year, and that cadets who commissioned this year are having to wait till the following spring to start flight training. Air Force only has so many instructors, FAIPs, planes, and simulators to put us through, so until they get more of all of that, sending more 2nd Lts into the pipeline will be like trying to get a basketball through a garden hose.

    Its nicer to have a pilot shortage than to go through the massive downswings of years passed. Apparently in the early-mid 90s it was damn near impossible to get a flight slot. So lets all be happy about that.
     
  7. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Its not just about getting more IPs at UPT, but it is also about the fact that UPT bases are already flowing at 110%, You would need more hours in a day and more T1/6/38s at each base.

    Plus, than you have another problem. The school houses for the airframes. SO, if they grab those pilots and send them from an op tour to UPT, who will teach them once they get to the school house. Simulators are running 24/6 days a week and 12 hrs on the 7th. They don't just throw you right up in the plane just because you winged out of UPT.
    ~ IE. There are 4 squadrons at SJAFB for the F15E. Two are operational, and 2 are school house. There are guys that will do an op tour and than flip over to the school house as an IP. Not many are going to volunteer to be an IP at Del Rio if they can stay at SJAFB.

    Thus, logistically I can't see the pipeline opening up a lot more. It will be interesting because as others have said pilots are locked for close to a decade, thus impo, it is those that are coming up on their 7, or 8 year marker where they have the experience as an IP that are bolting, I would think that more fighters will drop out of UPT for FY17, and maybe FY18, but than it becomes another issue. Heavies are leaving just as much as fighters, so if they drop more fighters and less heavies than they are in the same predicament within a few years.

    JMPO, but this is all going to balance out within a few years. It always does. Why? Because airlines are facing a shortage due to their hiring freeze for over a decade and pilots aging out. Well sooner or later the airlines will have less and less openings, thus, more and more pilots will happily take that 250K bonus to stay until 20. Thus, it will than flip on the AF side and they will decrease the spigot for pilots.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2016
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  8. Wishful

    Wishful Parent

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    How long is UPT? After that, how long is the schoolhouse? After that, are the pilots assigned to their squadrons?
     
  9. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    UPT is 54 weeks. At drop night they may or may not tell you what operational base you are going to go to. Sometimes they will do that at the school house.
    ~IE, right now even though they have dropped 35s out of UPT. It is not a guarantee they will get a 35. They have to compete for it. I believe they dropped 4 now, but I believe they only have 2 or 3 slots, thus if they don't make the cut they are probably going to be sent to the 16s. Thus, no follow on op at drop night. The F15E also doesn't tell you either. You get an assignment to SJAFB which is the school house, and closer to graduation out of there they will give you an Op base. F15E school house is 9 months, thus they want to wait until you get closer to that time before they give the op base (see below why it is @ 1 yr more)
    Fighter pilots go to IFF (it is a fighter school only where they prep them for the next leg ...schoolhouse)
    Schoolhouses vary from 6-9 months depending on the air frame
    Land and water sere training will be done somewhere in there.

    So if all of your dates line up perfectly you are pretty much looking at showing up to your 1st op base @ 2+ years after starting UPT. Once at your 1st Op base it will depend on what they require for you to become MQ at that base. It can take a couple of weeks to get MQ status.
    ~ There will be still more academics, sims and check rides. Nothing big, just getting you to be qualified to fly in that area.

    Now don't forget, it can take you 6 months from commissioning to get to UPT, and they could put you on casual status for 3+ more months before you start UPT. If you don't have your PPL, you will also go to IFT. So when you add in that time, you are looking at close to 3 years before you are operational.
    My DS went heavy so he did not go to IFF, but here was his dates:
    May 2012 - Commission
    Sept 30, 2012 - Reported to Del Rio (casual status)
    Feb 2013 - IFS aka now IFT
    Apr 1, 2013 - UPT
    April 24, 2014 - Winged
    May 2014 - Water survival
    June 2014 - Land
    July 2014 - School house
    Feb 2015 - Reported Operational base
    Mar or Apr. - Operational

    So as you can see for him it was almost 3 years from start to finish. Plus, not only did he not have IFF thrown in there, but he was also fortunate enough not to have long lag times between his training times. Bullet was a CSO (fighter so he had IFF), his schoolhouse was 6 months. He commissioned in May 1987, was considered MQ at his base in Nov. 1989.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
  10. Wishful

    Wishful Parent

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    Thank You.
     
  11. derek44

    derek44 Member

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    Don't expect the Air Force to significantly increase rated accessions because of pilot retention issues at the FGO level; AFROTC never has a hard time meeting its rated classification targets.
     
  12. 5Day

    5Day Member

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