Air Force to have enlisted pilots for first time since World War II

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by sheriff3, Dec 17, 2015.

  1. sheriff3

    sheriff3 Member

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  2. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Hope this is a strategic decision, not a operational/tactical decision made to save money or meet a short term manpower shortage.

    What will the AF of 2020 or 2030 look like? There are actual strategic documents discussing the AF of the future. However, it does not have too much details as they are strategic documents.

    I see it as like jumping out of an airplane, can't go back and can't undo. So the path is clear to have enlisted airmen pilot all RPAs. If so what do we do with officer RPA pilots. If the number of officer RPA pilots are reduced, how does that impact the AFA and AFROTC?
     
  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I don't think it such a big deal because they will be flying level recons. Plus, the way I am reading it, they will be supervised by RPA officers.

    What I am wondering is how they will start getting them through from a timing/training aspect. Those RPA officers in the RQ-4 will need to xtrain into the Predators and Reapers. This is on top of them keeping their promise that the pilots they forced into the RPAs out of UPT for 1 tour will also need to xtrain back into manned airframes. Plus, the not knowing how many current RPA officers will pull the cord and leave can mess with their numbers too.
    ~ Just saying it is going to be like dominoes you need to do it right for all of the pieces to fall down. With so many moving parts and timelines for each part it might be hard for MPC to get the pipeline straight.
    ~~ Before anybody says well they are converting the 16 pilots over to 35s and can manage it, just like they converted the 4s and 111s into the Strike eons ago. The difference there is they were converting squadrons over to a new airframe, here they are converting a whole new system like they did with the RPAs, and that will have unique kinks into the system that even when the RPAs came online they didn't do.

    Member, I don't really see an impact for the AFA and AFROTC cadets, except maybe some cheering.
    ~ Right now for FY16, every UPT class, except ENJJPT will be dropping 2 RPAs. These kids when they got pilot went in assuming that they would not go RPA because that was it had been for several years.
    ~ Additionally in the heavy world they have been pulling pilots after their 1st tour and forcing them into the RPAs for a tour. Assigning enlisted for the RQ would mean that they would most likely not be pulled.
     
  4. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    No, without an increase in manned flying positions, the only way AF can accommodate all the accession is by reducing the total accession (i.e. assessing 1000 2LTs, say 50 is projected to RPA, no more RPA requirement, cut the accession by 50 to 950).
     
  5. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    The flow restriction is on training more so than accessions, from what I can tell.
    Several pilot career fields are well undermanned, including mine. They can't make students quick enough under the current system.

    If that is broadly true for pilots (and I think it is), reducing the RPA demand would free up more training slots for manned aircraft, not reduce the total number of UPT slots required.
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I agree with Raimius, right now they can't get students through UPT fast enough to replace the pilots leaving. Airlines now are hiring at a faster pace than the AF can replace them. It is the highest level for airlines that have occurred in the last 15 years.
    ~ I don't recall the exact number, but I think raimius or Stealth knows, but I believe the overall acceptance rate for the 6 figure bonus offered to pilots was around 55%. Fighter pilots are offered 225 or 250K to stay until 19. Heavies are offered 125 K to stay until 14, and another 125 to stay at the 14 yr marker.
    ~~ My numbers maybe off a little regarding when they are offered it, but you get the gist. It is a lot of money and not enough takers.
    ~ The same is true for RPA pilots, but their bonus is much lower. Yet, still more leaving than they can produce.

    Allowing enlisted would stem the flow without impacting the amount offered to any commissioning source (AFA/AFROTC or OCS).

    To illustrate how clogged the UPT pipeline is currently, many wait 9 -12 months to start UPT. Simulators at airframe schools are running 24 hours a day 6 1/2 days a week. They are trying to get them through as fast as they can to ease the undermanning, but there are not enough hours in the day to keep up to the pace they need to get back to proper manning levels.

    The real problem I see is RPA training is also running at 100% capacity and to stem their undermanning issues they are pulling another @100 out of UPT, plus heavy pilots.... and still the AF has stated that they will be in the hole @15 pilots per year, based on current numbers. Unless they address the schoolhouses and open up another unit, than they are just still digging deeper into the hole from a replacement issue.
     

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