Demand for Pilots?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by tibreaker, Oct 4, 2016.

  1. tibreaker

    tibreaker Member

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    I was wondering what the chances of becoming a pilot are if you are selected for a rated position. What I mean is if it is easier to get a pilot slot than say an ABM or CSO slot. Also, does anybody know if demand for pilots is increasing or decreasing? Thanks.
     
  2. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Just a dad

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  3. Joekenny

    Joekenny Member

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    Well, I'm not sure which source of commissioning you're pursuing but I can give you a perspective from the ROTC side of things.
    Below are the stats for the last few years:

    FY14 Rated Board
    865 Selected for rated positions
    461 Selected for pilot
    Avg PCSM: 57.1
    Avg CGPA: 3.35
    Avg PFA: 97.46

    FY15 Rated Board
    660 Selected for rated positions
    381 Selected for pilot
    Avg PCSM: 64.4
    Avg CGPA: 3.389
    Avg PFA: 97.88

    FY16 Rated Board
    694 Selected for rated positions
    345 Selected for pilot
    Avg PCSM: 66.3
    Avg CGPA: 3.422
    Avg PFA: 97.80

    Looking at these figures, you can see that there appears to be a downward trend of pilot selects in ROTC. Also, it appears that the competition is getting tougher with higher PCSM scores and GPAs. While all this may seem odd if you're familiar with the current pilot shortage, it makes sense given the status of the Undergraduate Pilot Training(UPT) pipeline. The Air Force does not have a problem recruiting pilots, they have a problem retaining them. So while the AF IS hurting for experienced pilots, there is NOT a shortage of candidates willing to become pilots.

    As the pilot shortage has steadily increased, the AF has kept combat squadrons manned at 100% by taking pilots from less critical roles. One of these places is instructor pilots (IPs). A decrease in IPs means the UPT pipeline slows down. From estimates I've read, the pipeline is backed up and currently manned around 110%. In order to clear it up, the AF has to take on fewer pilot candidates. On top of all that, it is hard to get more trainer aircraft with all this push for less military spending.

    Overall, in my personal opinion, this trend will probably continue for a couple years. Also, it has been rumored that OTS will be picking up more pilots in FY 17 which could possibly hurt ROTC numbers even more.
     
  4. tibreaker

    tibreaker Member

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    Thanks for the info. I have one more question. Are slots given out by detachment? Because I am doing AFROTC at Virginia Tech and I hear that our pilot selection rate was pretty good. Thanks again.
     
  5. Joekenny

    Joekenny Member

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    No, slots are not given out by detachment. All rated candidates are ranked (racked and stacked) by Order of Merit (OM) score. The first board that meets is for pilot selection. If there are 900 applicants and 400 pilots are needed, they will select the first 400 top OM scores who have listed pilot as a "high" interest. This is a very basic explanation of how the process works.
     
  6. tibreaker

    tibreaker Member

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    So if you don't get a pilot slot are you stuck with some other rated position or can you put a non rated job as your second choice. So an example could be:

    1. Pilot
    2. Intel
    3. Cyber

    Or would you have to go with CSO or ABM? I hope that made sense.

    Side note, I just found out that i'm PPQ today so i'm excited, so sorry if it sounds like i'm dragging this thread out. Thanks once again.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2016
  7. Joekenny

    Joekenny Member

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    During your AS200 year you go through what is called the POC selection process (PSP). You have to be selected to attend field training. When you're selected, you're given an enrollment allocation (EA). This EA can be a "Rated" EA, "Tech" EA, or "Non-tech" EA. If you get selected with a rated EA then you have to compete in the rated board. If you have a non-tech or tech EA, you can choose to compete in the rated board. If you compete with a rated EA and are no selected, you have now lost your EA. What happens after that varies case by case. You would have to try and get a tech or non-tech EA. If you get it, then you would do a non-rated job in the AF. However, if you don't get another EA, you'd be disenrolled from the program. If you competed as a tech or non-tech EA and did not get selected, you'd still retain your EA because it was a non-rated EA.

    When you compete on the rated board, you have to categorize your interest for each rated job as high, medium, or low. The AF tries to give everyone their "high" choice, however, it sometimes has to pick from the medium or low pool if it doesn't have enough "high" interest candidates.

    So if you wanted to be a pilot and secondly, an intel officer, you'd essentially have to indicate high interest in Pilot and low interest on the other rated jobs. This could be dangerous if you're a rated EA guy because, like I said previously, you would lose your EA and POSSIBLY be disenrolled.
     
  8. tibreaker

    tibreaker Member

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    Oh thanks JoeKenny, I didn't know that. So I assume that it would be recommended that I just stick with either rated or non-rated then. Thanks for the info.
     
  9. Joekenny

    Joekenny Member

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    No problem, glad I could help. Best of luck to you.
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Late in the game
    This is really for everyone, including lurkers.

    The AF is short on pilots (manned and unmanned). So many cadets keep hearing/reading about how short they are and that they (AF pilots) are not taking the bonus at a high rate due to airlines hiring at an insane rate. Thus, yes they are short. However, they are not short when it comes to O2 1st tour pilots. They are short when it comes to O3s that are completing their 2nd tour. The ones that are 4 ship flight lead IPs or AC IPs. IOWS, experienced with more than just UPT hours.

    That being said, HQ AF MPC always has a 5 yr plan. The problem is they will always be reactive due to the economy. Look deeper into this situation and you will see/understand how this came about. It is simple...9/11. From the late 90s to 2001, airlines were also hiring at a frenzy rate. 9/11 occurred and they stopped hiring until @2013. FAA requires commercial pilots to retire at 62 (it may now have changed to 65...not sure). Now, do the math. AF pilots that left at the 20 yr marker, were 42 in 98-2001. They are coming up on 62 and will be for the next 5 yrs. In essence, they need to refill because they were furloughing pilots for a decade and not hiring.

    As an FY18 commission cadet yr group. The AF owns you until @2030.
    ~ Commission in 18. Start UPT in 19. Wing in 20. Owe 10 years = 2030.

    That means they are banking on the fact that the commercial airlines will not be hiring at this insane rate in 2028.

    As Joekenny stated this is also about the pipeline. To expand upon his post. It is not just UPT not having enough IPs or trainer planes, it is also about the schoolhouses that you will attend once you wing. Stealth's DS is an F16 . My DS is a 130J pilot. They have one thing in common. They are backlogged. Sims are now running 24 hrs a day 6 1/2 days a week. Not uncommon to have a 2:00 a.m. sim. Why? Because you will do sims just like you will fly sorties. To keep up the pace/flow for the schoolhouses they have to run the sims constantly.

    Honestly, it is going to come down impo to the # that signed on rated for EA. The pool size matters, because UPT and RPA is running at 110%+. They can't get more through the program, and according to SAF Deborah Lee James they are going to increase OTS rated boards from 125 to 250. Now add in USAFA grads and you can see why by looking at the numbers over the past 3 yrs they have decreased by 20%.
    ~ UPT wings about 1200 annually, and that includes foreign students, Guard/Reserve too.
    ~ Also remember that there is another board besides OTS. Xtraining. IE you get CSO. 3 yrs later you apply for UPT as an O3. You are already ADAF. You are now applying to xtrain from your AFSC. Different board than the OTS where you are applying to become an officer with an AFSC rated board.

    Just saying that these are all the pieces HQ MPC will be placing into their equation. If 2193 went to SFT this yr., and 1762 said they would go to the rated board compared to last yr when 2129 went to SFT and only 1563 signed to go rated for the EA. than the % will change. However, since UPT is running at 110%, chances of getting UPT will change.

    I would also say as a Mom of a C130J pilot. Things have changed there, this FY just like UPT. FY 16 took 2 out of every class to go RPA. @100 UPT students. They were also forcing heavy pilots on the VML to go RPA after their 1st op tour. JMPO, but it appears that the RPA world is back on even keel. They are no longer forcing UPT or heavy pilots to go RPA now.

    If your true goal is to be a pilot in a manned airframe than I would not put RPA or ABM high on the list. I would place it as low, bc they are critical manning. CSOs are a dieing breed. (No offense...Bullet my DH was an F15E WSO) It would be easier to xtrain into UPT as an O3 after your 1st tour than from the RPA world, just mpo. I think that being released from RPA to xtrain through UPT would be slim at best.
    ~ RPAs are the future compared to CSO. They need them at a higher rate/pace than a CSO. Hence, less likely to release you after the 1st tour.
    ~~ If RPA is something you are interested in, feel free to pm me. One of our closest friends is a Sq CC for an RPA unit. He was an F15E driver. He believes in their mission and has talked to posters here that I referred him to when they got an RPA slot for guidance as a mentor in the RPA world.

    I wish the FY 18 commission yr group the best thoughts and hopes. Take this time and really investigate life in all of these options. Check out baseops.net.

    That being said, I am going to stress again. This idea that the AF is 700 pilots short will impact you is not realistic impo. That shortage is expected to end before you ever wing. The AF knows that.

    I think Fingers (call sign for CSAF Gen. Goldfein) is going to turn this around. Fingers lived through the mass exodus between 97-01. He has watched the morale in the rated world with stupid things like Blues Monday and no flight suits at the Pentagon.
    ~ Blues Monday means if you are stationed at SHaw as a pilot and were not flying on Monday than your uniform of the day were the blues, and not your bags.
    ~ Pentagon meant even if you were assigned to Skunk Works, you would wear your blues.

    Fingers also understand that it is just not about throwing $250K to pilots to stay. It is about the deployment schedule.
    ~ My friend that is now a SQCC in the RPA world, actually left the AF (USAFA grad, ENJJPT grad). I remember the day he told us he was leaving. He said that he missed 1/2 of his DS's life bc of the AF, and did not want his son to be a stranger to him when he retired in 6 yrs.
    ~~ See above about airlines furloughing. He left and eventually was furloughed. Came back ADAF in 07. His DS is now a USNA F18 pilot.

    That is what I think Fingers is thinking about now as the CSAF. His brother...Goldie was also a USAFA grad that flew fighters for 25 yrs. I truly believe that he will fix it. I think he knows that for retention it is just not about throwing m
     
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