Air Force may recall pilots to fill gap

| October 21, 2017 | 32 Comments

The Air Force is short about 1500 pilots, according to USA Today, and the President has signed an Executive Order to authorize the recall of as many as a thousand;

In June, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., labeled the pilot shortage a crisis that would prevent the Air Force from fulfilling its mission.

“This is a full-blown crisis, and if left unresolved, it will call into question the Air Force’s ability to accomplish its mission,” said McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee.

Richard Aboulafia, an aviation analyst and vice president of the Teal Group, said the shortage stemmed from a number of issues.

“One is competition from commercial airlines,” Aboulafia said. “Another is delays and funding shortfalls in training. And, due to military operations, utilization of the aircraft and crew has been higher than expected.”

Under the last president, the Air Force was forced to reduce it’s ranks and the flying hours of pilots and aircraft to save money. Pilots who wanted to fly, left the Air Force for commercial employment. So we get to live through the same BS after Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and now Obama leave office and reverse their errant military policies.

Last year, the Air Force was paying bonuses to retain drone operators when they should have been trying to retain aircraft pilots instead.

Category: Air Force

Comments (32)

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  1. NHSparky says:

    Treat people like shit, don’t let them do their jobs, pay them less than fuck-all, then act surprised when they leave.

    Where have I seen this before? Oh yeah–I was one of those guys who voted with my feet, rather than go back to 7+ years of sea duty doing 100-hour weeks.

  2. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    Where was McStain when the JEF and his minions allowed this to happen?

  3. Ex-PH2 says:

    Why is this no surprise? None at all.

  4. Sj says:

    Does The Convict Formerly Known As #89963 still have his pilot license?

    • Tallywhagger says:

      A pilot license is only valid when accompanied with a valid medical certificate. Hmmm. OTOH, what difference would law or regulation make to a no-airplane-SOB and/or mental defective?

      In the foreseeable future #89963 had better plan on pin-wheels and kites.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      More important, who is paying the parking fees on his little airplane? Neglect is a terrible thing for an aircraft to suffer

  5. MSG Eric says:

    The Army is close to doing the same exact thing. This entire year they’ve been saying, “please come back everyone! We promise we won’t screw you over again for at least 3 more years. give or take 3 years…..”

  6. O-4E says:

    I’m not trying to defend Obama at all

    But the Air Force’s inept personnel management practices far predate him

    The Air Force does a lot of great things

    Human Resources management isn’t one

    • Evilone03 says:

      O-4E,
      I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m currently serving on my seventh deployment while there are asshats who have not done one. Moreover, it is a non-flying, short-notice, and my wife is due with our first in a few months. Sadly, they will not let me rotate home for the birth. Oh, the AF just asked if I would like to sign a bonus for 5 years at $28K/year. Well, I didn’t take the first bonus offered 3 years ago due to the bullshit.

      So you are probably asking, why am I complaining if I could get out, but chose to continue to serve. So, here’s the horse pill I have to swallow. I was told I was deploying. I told them if they were to send me to Afghanistan again, I’d drop paperwork to leave. Instead, they assigned me to an Africa rotation (non-combat in HOA). Surprise, surprise, once I was locked in (unbeknownst to me), my small dick leadership swapped me to 5th time in this shithole. I’ll have 15 years when I return. So, I’ll take the bonus, especially the first year being all tax free, I’ll take my pin-on as well, but when I return, the term ROAD will apply for my remaining five. Zero fucks to give. I took my name off applying for command. 20 year countdown…not one day more.

      • O-4E says:

        I’m Army. I retired 2 years ago. I served in a joint Army-Air Force unit for 7 years of my 26.

        I thought the Army’s archaic personnel management system was ridiculous

        Until I saw the Air Force’s

        Like I said. For some reason they can’t seem to get a handle on personnel management and manpower requirement forecasting

        Stick it out brother. You’ll be glad you did. Trust me on that.

      • O-4E says:

        It’s funny now. I’ve got civilian friends in business that are senior managers that have asked me “what business practices do you guys use in the military that you think we could adopt in industry and business. After all you guys in the military operate globally and have to be agile and responsive to changing situations, etc…”

        I’ve told more than one. If a business operated using military “business practices” it would go tits up in 6 months

        We’re 242 years of hidebound tradition unhindered by progress

        • NHSparky says:

          I used to say that the Navy was an 18th Century organization being dragged kicking and screaming into the 19th.

          For some reason, the senior enlisted and officers were not amused. Can’t imagine why.

  7. Roger in republic says:

    And let’s not forget the large number of officers and senior enlisted who were let go for “Political Unreliability”(ie. Anti PC/SJW)

  8. Retired Grunt says:

    Recall all of the pilots we need. Every officer knows once you accept the commission or have the pension, we serve for life. I’m just a dumb old leg grunt, but if I got the recall I’d do it to the best of my ability.

    • Evilone03 says:

      Dear Retired Grunt,
      While I understand your reasoning, in practicality it makes zero sense. Currency and qualifications needed to fly are stringent. Depending on how long ago these officer retired makes a difference. Many of the aircraft are modified. What the retired pilots flew less than a decade ago has changed tremendously, especially with mission planning, targeting, and weaponry. Pulling G’s in fighter aircraft is another physical task that needs to be regained. It is not simple as bringing these guys and gals back in, putting them in the seats, and off they go… It would be a series of requalification training in order to make them mission ready. It would take years. The fact is they are hiring these officers back to do non-flying staff jobs, which is why many are getting out/got out. The only people who would accept the offer would be the ones who could not find work on the outside. Oh good, let’s bring in more shitbags for staff duty to make important decisions for the fighting force…

  9. E-6 type, 1 ea says:

    You should hear what they’re trying to do to the Army Guard. I heard this from an O-6 and an E-9, so I’d consider it well past the rumor mill.

    One week a month, one month a year. 100 training days a year. You know, because civilian employers have to release people for drill.

    Adios, MFs.

  10. USAFRetired says:

    Interesting. After reading the article it talks about recalling “retired” pilots. I still remember my father referring to his retired pay as “retainer pay” but later the congress and courts got involved and decided it really wasn’t retainer pay but community property subject to division I’m divorce proceedings.

    So if a divorced pilot male or female is involuntarily recalled and their ex-spouse is entitled to some portion of their retired pay, does that mean the ex-spouse will stop getting their piece of the pie while the spouse is recalled to active duty?

    In the mid 2000s not too long after I retired there was a voluntary retired rated officer recall. I gave it some consideration at the time but after looking at the fine print I decided against it. I foresaw spending multiple trips to the sandbox to pull CAOC duty and little to no opportunity to fly.

    These days while I might be able to convince myself and my family (the latter being doubtful) that I might be able to do some good and free up someone to fly the good fight. I am a little long in the tooth as well as girth. The spirit might be willing but the flesh is definitely too weak.

  11. FatCircles0311 says:

    You know it’s bad when the cream of the crop duty in the Air Force leaves.

  12. Stacy0311 says:

    Just curious if they’re going to call back retired pilots and stick them in non-flying billets to replace all the pilots who are currently filling such important billets like: EO Advisor, SHARP Program Director, Diversity committee members and all of the other time suck jobs.

  13. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    If I am not mistaken, it is the “Retired Reserve”. Thus, like am my other reservist, there is the potential for recall. If you are cashing that check, you can’t exactly scream when the other side calls that marker.

    But the problem is not folks failing to live up to expectations. The problem is that the US Governmeent burned the supply of military goodwill, by grossly over-taxing a too-small military in an overly-ambitious global comittment, including an endless war of little coherent direction and no clear Victory objective.

    Funny how as soon as the mission became “destroy Islamic State”, and the orders were basically “go do the mission”, the Islamic State got destroyed. Sure, there are still scattered cockroaches to squash, but the Caliphate of the early 21st century is now a footnote to a lengthy unfinished book “How to lose, badly, by getting cross with the USA.”

    The short version fo the problem, is we have a million man mission on an army barely half that size. We have a five hundred ship mission for the Navy, and half that in commission. Every corner cut, every long-term-tradeoff for short-term use has been taken. Training for War has beeen replaced with Social Sudies classes.

    Ever notice how “social” has become a modifier, meaning “not”? – Social Security, Social Justice, Social Studies, et cetera.

    Undoing this snafu is going to take twenty years. It is good that the guy currently in the driver’s seat seems to understand the need, but it is going to take a lot more than one election to fix this. Voting out a bunch of incumbent congresscritters will certainly be required.

    But as screwed-up as it has become, it is neither hopeless nor insurmountable. The opposition is -desperate-, making spastic actions of desperation, and that is a sign of just how weak they really are.

    • David says:

      wonder how far a) cutting off all payments to non-actively allied countries b) cutting off all payments to anyone in the country illegally and c) changing all welfare payments to workfare would take us. Just thinking out loud here…

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