Change in Pilot training


10-Year Member
Founding Member
Jul 17, 2006
Seems the AF is going to be changing the number of pilot training slots, seems we are producing too many(again). Also there will be some shuffling of those young pilots slick winged Capts and Lts who are in over manned AFSCs. So what the 0-6 I am married to said is expect in Spring 08 for a big shuffle to start overage to short AFSCs. He seemed to think that there are to many fighter pilots and not enough airlift. I knew there were not enough flight hours, many moons ago in the F-16, you needed to fly x number of sorties a month to remain current. That x number has dropped over the years along with the budget. Fighter slots are going to be harder to get out of pilot training.

I see a repeat of the 1993-1997 years, these were the years where the UPT slots were slashed. What I really remember of this time are how one of the cadets we sponsored handled not getting a slot. My memory is fuzzy but it seems to me they were producing 1400 pilots a year, they closed Reese AFB and dropped pilot training to 1000 a year. Don't think the cuts will be that deep but there will be no more "2 oh and go". In the 90s, you needed to be in the top half in OM and there were no waivers for things like color blind/weakness.
Fewer pilot training slots. Fewer waivers for medical issues.
The Air Force to the best of my knowledge is buying out pilots - I know of one 2001 grad who was on his way to flight school on 9/11/01 (his first tour out of flight school was Oman) - he is leaving service in August after being bought out for a hefty sum. Let me say, with the job he has waiting for him with a DOD contractor and the buy out from the AF it made no sense to stay in. Funny thing is they offered to buy him out about a month after they moved him to Germany for a 3 year tour.
OK boys and girls, the AF has released the first phase of their plan.

The Times I have talks of cutting about 300 fighter in the next few years 2008 to 2013. Fewer fighter slots out UPT, as a result also.

This is the mid 1990s all over again. Class of '94 was hosed, they were already committed when they found out there were only half slots that '92 got. Some of the those guys are still bitter.
But we always are fighting with the last war tactics.
*&^%! (especially with my need for a waiver)

I'm going to call cutting the AF to grow the Army a bunch of Balogna! (Exactly right about fighting the last war!) The Air Force isn't something that you can wave a magic wand and make larger. If the US engages any significant power in the next few decades, I think we will realize this. I hate to sound like an alarmist, but that's how I feel.

[gets off soap box]
There are a number of 0-6 types, who look at what is happening in the AF now and see post Vietnam all over again-- A hollow force.

Growing the Army, that needs to happen.

It is cutting the AF manpower to buy airframes they makes us crazy. Can we fight a war long air war with that small of a force? We still are at the Kun and Osan, Bush vision for Iraq is like South Korea. Heard that today and went with what troops? F-16s sitting with nukes waiting like the Kun. Shake my head. Ten years from now we will be dealing with crazy manpower issues.
Well..... it is starting with 2008 only 925 slots and then 1025 for then on.

From AF Times-
In 2008, the number of students who start flight training will decline to about 925 airmen, according to Col. Mike McKinney, who oversees operational training concerns for the Air Staff. That’s a 12 percent cut from past years, when about 1,100 pilots earned their wings annually.

In 2009, the Air Force anticipates accepting about 1,025 pilots and then leveling out at that number for a few more years, McKinney added.
They're keeping people in airframes longer, but the real issue may not be manpower as much as loss of airframe abilities. They can't get it together to purchase new aircraft as the B-52s, C-130, and KC-135s from 50 years ago are falling apart.
I think the F-15 groundings might encourage a few more people to look at how the USAF is operating...i.e. on the knife blade, sometimes.
Those planes were flown harder than ever imagined. The no fly zones over Iraq took a high toll on many fighter air frames.


My Spouse agrees with that and that is one reason he retired 2 months ago. Also looking at the life of a GO, several of our friends have moved every year since pinning on their first stars. The force shaping to buy airplanes was stupid. Always doing more with less, thank god SAF figured that out and stopped force shaping. At least for now.

This reminds us of post Vietnam, a hollow force. We have never expressed our feelings on the direction of the AF to our son. We hope that in 4 years things will be changing for the better. With the mid-air breakup of that F-15 and grounding of the 15s as a result, congress has noticed that the "AF and Navy are the red headed step children for funding" (as quoted from the AF times). We are hope that the 15s problems are the alarm bell that starts things changing.
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Yeah, I can see that potentially happening. The problems that I see are 1. the focus on GWOT and 2. ignoring other nation's developments/purchases.

1. I fully support going after terrorists, but the funding for all of the services isn't always there. The AF and Navy are seen as "irrelevant" to COIN operations by many people. So, the Army gets the funding they need at the expense of the other services...trying to do more with the same total resources...

2. Other nations are buying advanced IADS, generation 4.5 and 4.5+ fighters from Russia, buying advanced sensor systems, and developing their own refueling and AWACS systems. While none of these countries are asking for a fight, some of them are targeting their forces to match or beat ours (in limited terms).

While we are concerned about combating insurgencies via ground combat (not that that's wrong), other nations are developing their naval, air, and information warfare forces. I fear that we are already preparing to fight this war again, against much more militarily sophisticated (potential) opponents...maybe that's just my buying into the mentality of the Marine who said, "Always be polite, and have a plan to kill everyone around you."
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