Overworked Drone Pilots

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by MedB, Jan 16, 2015.

  1. MedB

    MedB Parent

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  2. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    A lot of the pilots who are or will be leaving the drone world now as their ADSCs expire are the ones who were forced to drones in the 2007-2009 timeframe by either UPT assignments or TAMI21. These are people who the AF decided to use to fill the need back then and now it is time for them to leave and no amount of money will keep them in the seats. Even the $1500/month incentive to stay in isn't as great as it sounds in the articles. The $1500 is actually only an increase of $850 over the $650 that they are getting now. It does not seem like a large enough financial incentive to keep them in, especially with the bad taste that many of them have from their past experience.

    For everyone's reference, TAMI21 stands for Transformational Aircrew Management Initiative for the 21st Century. It was a fancy name for a program that took new, young pilots from the fighter/bomber communities and put them in RPA seats in order to quickly fill the growing need for drone pilots. Many of these pilots expected it to be a 3-year tour and then they would be moved back to their original aircraft. This hasn't happened because of the demand for RPA operators. Because of the 10-year commitment for pilots after winging, this "bubble" of drone pilots will be eligible to separate over the next couple of years beginning in 2015.

    Stealth_81
     
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  3. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    TAMI21....So the Air Force loses experienced RPA pilots (which there is a shortage) AND fighter/bomber TRAINED pilots....which there is also a shortage. While the TAMI21 program might have been a short term success....long term doesn't look too hot.
     
  4. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    We are always blessed with the benefit of hindsight in these situations. The Air Force was facing a critical shortage of RPA pilots when they needed them to support forces in two theaters, running dozens upon dozens of Pred/Reaper/etc. lines 24/7 across the battlespace. As much as I enjoy laughing at the Air Force's clownery, those leaders in charge did what they had to do to put butts in seats to meet mission. There's no free lunch, and sometimes starting stupid wars that last for a decade has unavoidable pitfalls.

    Monday morning quarterbacking is for the meek. The AF did what they had to do, and I'm glad they did. They met mission when they were called upon. That's what leaders do.
     
  5. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Why did MANY of these pilots expect it to be a 3-year tour and then they would be moved back to their original aircraft?
     
  6. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Not necessarily. Monday morning quarterbacking can also be used for learning lessons from Sunday's game. Perhaps if the Army did more of it they wouldn't make so many of the same mistakes over and over again and they'd do a better job of choosing their leaders.
     
  7. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Good thing that we have vigilant parents with soo much professional experience to lend their expertise in avoiding all those Army and AirForce mistakes. Lots easier though to Monday morning quarterback when you have never actually had to throw the ball or take the hits yourself- makes you pretty fearless. Kind of like the difference between "Madden-2015" and actually playing in the NFL.
     
  8. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Knew it woudn't be too long before @scoutpilot 's private Army Moderator would show up to defend the Army's honor. I'm quite satisfied that my actual experience is enough for me to voice my opinions....but thanks for the attempt to belittle and intimidate.
     
  9. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Gee- did I mention you? didn't think so but since you asked- I happen to believe that the Army's honor is a big deal as it has been earned in blood, while the honor of a guy who can do nothing but slander the people who have been at war for the last 14 years- not so much. In case you don't think so- meet the people you choose to slander at every opportunity: http://projects.militarytimes.com/valor/the-people-behind-the-sacrifice
     
  10. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Were there some OTHER parents in this thread that you MIGHT have been referring to? @MedB or one of your fellow Moderators? Nice attempt at ducking but your target and intent were very clear. Also....thanks for the flag waving. Always a good diversionary tactic when someone disagrees with you or questions any mistakes the military might have done. You are an inspiration to other parents that wish to voice their opinions.
     
  11. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Someday we'll rid this board of the those who have nothing to offer but the bitter invectives of a sad, jealous never-was.

    Until then, the rest of us can fortunately separate professional experience and intelligent perspectives on leaders making hard choices from, well, the other stuff.
     
  12. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Just so we're clear, you didn't "question" anything. You just insinuated that the Air Force somehow screwed this up, with neither the experience nor perspective to understand the choices they made at the time. Though, I do note that you frequently mention your experiences. What would those be, and how do they inform your opinion on this subject?
     
  13. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Should I set up a boxing ring for you guys?

    Those RPA guys who were upset at not being able to go back to their original airframe were usually upset because they had been told that was the plan. The AF has been struggling with RPA numbers and manning for a while. Part of that was due to the incredible demand, and part because we didn't plan ahead well enough. Remember that the AF basically lost both a CSAF and SecAF for trying to keep the F-22 program going at the expense of not ordering a huge number of Predators. The desired number of RPA caps more than quadrupled in Iraq (IIRC), and the AF struggled to meet that. Can you imagine if someone suddenly said, "hey we need like 900 more A-10s, can you deliver them yesterday?"
     
  14. MedB

    MedB Parent

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    Thanks, Raimius. Wonder if it's going to be a critical enough shortage that they start funneling USAFA/ROTC grads into the role by default; not unlike missles this past year. Not sure if that has happened with a rated slot before....?
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2015
  15. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Exactly.
     
  16. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Perhaps Air Force culture of putting pilots over everything else or miscalculation by some staffers in the AF HQ. In a real world, promises are broken all the time. What's important, the need of the service or ensuring someone keeps flying? Mistakes were made, and now is the time to paid for that mistake.

    Well, if someone join the Air Force to fly, fortunate enough to become a pilot, than reassigned to be RPA pilot and AF couldn't keep the promise, either continue to serve and leave to fly.
     
  17. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    MedB,

    They have been for years sending them directly to RPA. At first they were sent to UPT and it was part of the pilot drop. Now they all go to San Antonio for RPA. They know before even commissioning that they are going to be RPA. AFROTC cadets find out as juniors in the program.
     
  18. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    As Raimius said, the pilots who were sent to RPAs back then were originally told that it was a 3-year tour, much like any other assignment. I am sure that is what AF leadership expected, but couldn't foresee everything that would happen. Once they were in the RPA community, however, the continued pressure for more drone intelligence kept them there. It is easy to see why many of them are getting out at their first opportunity.

    I am certainly not trying to do any Monday morning quarterbacking. In my reply I was trying to provide information as to why there is such an exodus of pilots from the RPA community and the human forces that are working against the AF. As a parent I try to learn as much as I can about what my kids are doing and the situations that they are in. I do similar research on Physical Therapist salaries and crime rates in Chicago because of another one of my kids. I guess that does make me a vigilant parent. ;)

    I agree with Scoutpilot that there was really not much else that the AF leadership could have done given the circumstances. I can understand that. What I cannot understand is grown adults slinging insults and lashing out on a forum that is intended to help people navigate the processes of joining the military officer ranks.

    Stealth_81
     
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  19. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Hoping your kiddo is the physical therapist and not the criminal in that situation ;)
     
  20. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Can we stay on topic? Please!
    ~ Unless your goal is to get a time out!

    Want to fight? Fine...use the pm option.
     

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