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NEWS Air Force leadership talks frankly about pilot retention

Flash

SEVAL/ECMO
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
You mean a bunch of guys who stayed in the cockpit we good at flying and employing their aircraft? Say it ain't so!
To be fair it wasn't just that, they had the luxury to pick who they wanted from a large pool of applicants as evidenced from the number of TOPGUN grads in the wardroom.
 

insanebikerboy

Internet killed the television star
pilot
Contributor
They were the first Naval Aviation reserve squadron to get mobilized and then deploy on the boat since the Korean War. They had a wardroom full of O-4's and O-5's, all but one of them TOPGUN grads, got pretty much every Top Hook along with other accolades and general awesomeness.
For the sake of argument, I wonder if 201 made it into combat first or if HCS-4 or HCS-5 did. All three mobilized right around the same time.
 

Flash

SEVAL/ECMO
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
For the sake of argument, I wonder if 201 made it into combat first or if HCS-4 or HCS-5 did. All three mobilized right around the same time.
That is why I specified the boat. And for sake of argument, VAQ-209 has got them all beat since they have been doing combat deployments since the 90's.
 
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hscs

Registered User
pilot
^ probably a race between-5 and -201 and ironically later both met the same fate after providing a surge capacity.

At the risk of adding yet another threadjack - Not sure what we will do when we need surge capacity like that.
 

zippy

Freedom!
pilot
Contributor
At the risk of adding yet another threadjack - Not sure what we will do when we need surge capacity like that.
Hire contractors...

The Army and Air Force have been going this route for a decade, hiring contractors under contractor owned aircraft and operated as well as Government owned and contractor operated schemes to provide a capability to shortfalls in manning and assets.
 

Pags

Well-Known Member
pilot
Hire contractors...

The Army and Air Force have been going this route for a decade, hiring contractors under contractor owned aircraft and operated as well as Government owned and contractor operated schemes to provide a capability to shortfalls in manning and assets.
Too bad you pay through the nose for CTRs. But it buys you the ability to descope the work when you don't need it without the drama of a RIF.
 

zippy

Freedom!
pilot
Contributor
Too bad you pay through the nose for CTRs. But it buys you the ability to descope the work when you don't need it without the drama of a RIF.
Indeed the other (in some ways cheaper) option would be the GS route, which some Air Force and at least one Navy unit uses to man conus flying.

The Navy could somewhat easily outsource training pipelines, Vertrep/CSG/COD logistics, UAVs etc. to GS and/ or Contractors and keep minimal AD presence for management and oversight purposes which would free up bodies as the pilot shortage hits. The Air Force and Army both do so for some training command work (AF GS pilots and sim instructors for CSO training, FSI handing all fixed wing training for the Army) and constant presence ops OCONUS (manned and unmanned ISR performed by contract personnel).

By transfering the CNATRA training footprint to GS or contractor positions there would be good number of AD bodies freed up to man fleet seats as the pilot shortage progresses.

Do I think that is an ideal solution? No, but it's one solution to free up bodies for other uses as well as reduce opportunity for pilots in the system to build hours to be competitive to leave for the airlines so I wouldn't put it past them to at least examine it.
 

Hotdogs

Leeroy Jenkins
pilot
By transfering the CNATRA training footprint to GS or contractor positions there would be good number of AD bodies freed up to man fleet seats as the pilot shortage progresses.

Do I think that is an ideal solution? No, but it's one solution to free up bodies for other uses as well as reduce opportunity for pilots in the system to build hours to be competitive to leave for the airlines so I wouldn't put it past them to at least examine it.
...and then end up with the grumpy ass salt of the earth IPs who have been there for decades and can tell you about the "old days" but can't shoot a GPS approach? Similiar to our contract sim instructors now?

Are you high?
 

zippy

Freedom!
pilot
Contributor
...and then end up with the grumpy ass salt of the earth IPs who have been there for decades and can tell you about the "old days" but can't shoot a GPS approach? Similiar to our contract sim instructors now?

Are you high?
I wish.

You've got a looming commercial pilot shortage and therefore military pilot retention issue that only the Air Force has publicly started to acknowledge and tried to get ahead of. So far they've come up with:

1) offer more money in retention bonuses and

2) petition congress to do away with Restricted ATP minimums for military pilots in an effort change market demands to make it more difficult for guys to get out.

We know those solutions won't do anything to stop the attrition of pilots when the Major airlines are retiring and replacing 30k pilots over the next 20 years.

The services already do some flying with GS and Contractors so another solution is to shift more manning over to civilians in areas where there is a known stable demand which frees up Military personnel to meet less predictable operational demands (aka the surge capability referenced before). It has already started happening and has only been increasing. The Navy has this awful habit of trying to copy what the Air Force does to save costs (in money or personnel). Unfortunately the Navy usually executes poorly when they do.

The Navy is in denial about its rentention issue thanks to longer MSRs keeping 90% of pilots in through their first look at O-4 but Marine Corps has just started noticing retention issues with its fixed wing pilots. Aside from automatic career continuation for 3 years for selected fixed wing MOS, unless declined, another solution has been to reduce orders to MATSGs feeding the VTs in order to keep guys flying grey jets. Great opportunity for more Helo guys to get fixed wing hours and transition to the airlines, which creates another rention problem. When the retention crunch is in full swing, the priority for each services personnel command is going to fill fleet seats, as it should be. The byproduct of that will be a reduction in avenues for military pilots to gain flight hours to more easily facilitate their transition to civilian aviation.

The services can't produce military pilots without a cadre of Active Duty and reserve instructors right? The Air Force and Army don't think so, and neither does the Navy and they already have a civilian cadre of pilots in place at parts of the training pipeline. There's no reason they can't expand that using current fleet aviators as a testament that those civilian portions of aircrew production don't negatively affect the final product.

Good portions of NFO/CSO training is conducted by GS and Contractor pilots- that can easily be expanded to encompass more.

Primary flight training is JPATS, so if the Air Force goes to a reduced Military footprint for pilot training in UPT, much like it does for its CSO pipeline, in order to keep its pilots in grey aircraft, the Navy will take that step in unity.

The Army doesn't think advanced multi engine training requires active duty personnel to conduct. The guys at FSI et al. instruct FAA certified type rating courses to FAA ATP standards. You can be they know how to shoot a GPS approach. There's little in the Navy/Marine Corps/Air Force multi engine syllabus that a civilian instructor couldn't do.

Citing lack of a replacement airframe for the TH-57, folks in some circles have been calling for consolidating Navy helicopter training with the Army and Air Force.

These are areas with low hanging fruit. The military industrial complex is more than willing to help DoD with manpower issues as seen by contractors filling the gaps in capabilities ranging from pre-deployment training to mission support rolls in Iraq and Afghanistan, allowing the number of Active Duty personnel to be greatly reduced while the number of bodies in country remained relatively stable. This all comes at a cost in $ to save on manpower #s. Government Contractor solutions to their own retention issues is to throw $$$ at the problem and pass those costs off to government on the backside.

When the government outsources production metrics to contractors it generally only montors that those production metrics are being met. Unfortunately quality tends to be a second consideration as long as the final product meets the bare minimum of listed requirements.
 

Flash

SEVAL/ECMO
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Indeed the other (in some ways cheaper) option would be the GS route, which some Air Force and at least one Navy unit uses to man conus flying.

The Navy could somewhat easily outsource training pipelines...By transfering the CNATRA training footprint to GS or contractor positions there would be good number of AD bodies freed up to man fleet seats as the pilot shortage progresses.

Do I think that is an ideal solution? No, but it's one solution to free up bodies for other uses as well as reduce opportunity for pilots in the system to build hours to be competitive to leave for the airlines so I wouldn't put it past them to at least examine it.
I think they might be tempted to try for the reasons you stated but there would be a hue and a cry if that option was cut off in the services for aviators and would be a wholesale change that would take significant time, money and will that I don't think is there.

...The Air Force and Army don't think so, and neither does the Navy and they already have a civilian cadre of pilots in place at parts of the training pipeline. There's no reason they can't expand that using current fleet aviators as a testament that those civilian portions of aircrew production don't negatively affect the final product.

Good portions of NFO/CSO training is conducted by GS and Contractor pilots- that can easily be expanded to encompass more...
The T-39 pilots were contractors but they were not instructors by any stretch.
 

Pags

Well-Known Member
pilot
I wish.

You've got a looming commercial pilot shortage and therefore military pilot retention issue that only the Air Force has publicly started to acknowledge and tried to get ahead of. So far they've come up with:

1) offer more money in retention bonuses and

2) petition congress to do away with Restricted ATP minimums for military pilots in an effort change market demands to make it more difficult for guys to get out.

We know those solutions won't do anything to stop the attrition of pilots when the Major airlines are retiring and replacing 30k pilots over the next 20 years.

The services already do some flying with GS and Contractors so another solution is to shift more manning over to civilians in areas where there is a known stable demand which frees up Military personnel to meet less predictable operational demands (aka the surge capability referenced before). It has already started happening and has only been increasing. The Navy has this awful habit of trying to copy what the Air Force does to save costs (in money or personnel). Unfortunately the Navy usually executes poorly when they do.

The Navy is in denial about its rentention issue thanks to longer MSRs keeping 90% of pilots in through their first look at O-4 but Marine Corps has just started noticing retention issues with its fixed wing pilots. Aside from automatic career continuation for 3 years for selected fixed wing MOS, unless declined, another solution has been to reduce orders to MATSGs feeding the VTs in order to keep guys flying grey jets. Great opportunity for more Helo guys to get fixed wing hours and transition to the airlines, which creates another rention problem. When the retention crunch is in full swing, the priority for each services personnel command is going to fill fleet seats, as it should be. The byproduct of that will be a reduction in avenues for military pilots to gain flight hours to more easily facilitate their transition to civilian aviation.

The services can't produce military pilots without a cadre of Active Duty and reserve instructors right? The Air Force and Army don't think so, and neither does the Navy and they already have a civilian cadre of pilots in place at parts of the training pipeline. There's no reason they can't expand that using current fleet aviators as a testament that those civilian portions of aircrew production don't negatively affect the final product.

Good portions of NFO/CSO training is conducted by GS and Contractor pilots- that can easily be expanded to encompass more.

Primary flight training is JPATS, so if the Air Force goes to a reduced Military footprint for pilot training in UPT, much like it does for its CSO pipeline, in order to keep its pilots in grey aircraft, the Navy will take that step in unity.

The Army doesn't think advanced multi engine training requires active duty personnel to conduct. The guys at FSI et al. instruct FAA certified type rating courses to FAA ATP standards. You can be they know how to shoot a GPS approach. There's little in the Navy/Marine Corps/Air Force multi engine syllabus that a civilian instructor couldn't do.

Citing lack of a replacement airframe for the TH-57, folks in some circles have been calling for consolidating Navy helicopter training with the Army and Air Force.

These are areas with low hanging fruit. The military industrial complex is more than willing to help DoD with manpower issues as seen by contractors filling the gaps in capabilities ranging from pre-deployment training to mission support rolls in Iraq and Afghanistan, allowing the number of Active Duty personnel to be greatly reduced while the number of bodies in country remained relatively stable. This all comes at a cost in $ to save on manpower #s. Government Contractor solutions to their own retention issues is to throw $$$ at the problem and pass those costs off to government on the backside.

When the government outsources production metrics to contractors it generally only montors that those production metrics are being met. Unfortunately quality tends to be a second consideration as long as the final product meets the bare minimum of listed requirements.
The problem with trying to save $ by using contractors or GS is that at the end of the day the deltas between the different choices aren't that much. The upside of using CTRs is that you can stop paying them when the work goes away, they're easy to turn on in a pinch, and they show up qualified. Less so for Mil and GS. The problem is that there's essentially a set market price for specific skill sets. Aviators with instructor experience, 1000+hrs, and whatever other requirements end up in that SOW or PD are going to cost a certain amount. If you go cheaper you're not going to get guys with the same skill set.
 

Uncle Fester

Robot Pimp
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
I wish the Navy would explore the RT/ART model the Army/AF Reserves and Guards use. I think it would be very useful solution in a lot of our manning areas.

Pags' points are valid, except that it's very clear by and large the active duty guys don't understand job markets. They're used to having a detailer who will fill a billet one way or another, no matter where it is, and obviously don't have to worry about things like competitive salaries. Need a contractor to fart around in T-1s in Pensacola? Sure, probably can find that. But when you need a more obscure qual - Pags' 'show up qualified' point - or you're in a less-attractive locale, and then when the Navy plays the "this is basically a LT job so offer O-3 pay"?