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USAF Out of Ideas

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USAF Out of Ideas

Old 25th Sep 2018, 21:39
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USAF Out of Ideas

Looks like the USAF has run out of ideas to retain pilots. So, they've turned to amorphous HR gibberish to describe the issue and propose a "solution"...based on...gibberish. "...work beyond the fringes of the problem.“ ? Really ?:

“Any solution to the pilot retention problem needs to focus on morale, not money.”

“Rand evidently views the personnel system as a challenge too daunting to tackle.”

“It is time for the Air Force to work beyond the fringes of the problem.“

https://www.airforcetimes.com/opinio...sses-the-mark/
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Old 26th Sep 2018, 07:51
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Well good luck with that Air Force! Maybe if you create a synergistic value-added metric for corporate double-speak moving forward....

Or you can just admit that pilots don't join up to fly a desk.
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Old 26th Sep 2018, 09:12
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Don't they have a minimum term of service?!
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Old 26th Sep 2018, 10:08
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Originally Posted by rudestuff View Post
Don't they have a minimum term of service?!
IIUC, 10 years after getting their wings so ~12 years start to finish...for active duty. Not sure how guard and reserves work.
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Old 26th Sep 2018, 18:26
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If this is their option, I have an alternative. Simply extend the WO program up past CW4 to CW6 or CW7. This would address both issues. First, the monetary problem of being maxed out in pay at the equiv of a Major, but extending the non-careerist pilot up into the similar pay grade as full Col, or BG. Second for those who truly do want the management career, it will open up more slots for them to work into commander positions.

I had a crew chief back in the day who was in his 30s and was a Spec-7. He got promoted to Spec-8 while I was with him, and was hoping for Spec-9 before retirement. Not the exact same thing, but from a pilot side, works for me.
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Old 26th Sep 2018, 20:20
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rudestuff touched on an aspect that crossed my mind a time or two: length of service for pilots.

Of course, my opinion is worth what you paid for it (maybe even less) but we often hear that the cost of flight training is prohibitive and a barrier to a pilot career for many.

I wonder if they shortened the commitment to 5 or 6 years if they'd get more takers. I'm pretty sure it used to be 5 years and I'm not sure when they upped it to wings + 10.

Of course, the USAF will say (and have said) that's too short to get people fully trained for some types of flying...but they did it before...so why not now ?

If people wouldn't have to make such a long commitment before they were able move on to a civilian flying career, more people might be interested. Just a thought...
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Old 27th Sep 2018, 17:12
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A decade ago during the economic crisis, when I was in the Air Force, there were many pilots who said that they would never work for the airlines. Many opted to stay for 20 years or beyond, and quite a few looked for government jobs or contract jobs, often times outside of flying after their stint in the Air Force. Now that market forces have changed, and the airlines look appealing, the Air Force QOL just does not match. Those same airline naysayers are at the airlines. I am not sure that the Air Force could do much apart from offer flying only tracks, more pay, more days off and QOL improvements, but they really can't compete with the QOL and money that a major airline career now offers in the US. Another economic downturn could change things overnight though.
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Old 27th Sep 2018, 18:03
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Originally Posted by bafanguy View Post
IIUC, 10 years after getting their wings so ~12 years start to finish...for active duty. Not sure how guard and reserves work.
They’re also 10 years after getting their wings.
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Old 30th Sep 2018, 20:17
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QOL is an enormous factor.

The finest tent technology, telecommunications setups, and ersatz American kitsch at an overseas base doesn't overcome the simple geographical fact that you're in the sandbox and your family is stateside.

The airline life is simply superior for these pilots.

Also, paying a drone operator is cheaper.
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Old 15th Oct 2018, 12:00
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The Navy is taking a run at the attrition problem:

https://www.aviationpros.com/news/12...tention-crisis
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Old 13th Dec 2018, 12:55
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Well, the money idea isn't working all that well:

“Mobility pilots are declining aviation retention bonuses in alarming numbers, despite the the Air Force’s attempt to keep them in uniform with an infusion of cash.”


https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/y...k-up-slightly/
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Old 13th Dec 2018, 14:36
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Originally Posted by bafanguy View Post
Looks like the USAF has run out of ideas to retain pilots. So, they've turned to amorphous HR gibberish to describe the issue and propose a "solution"...based on...gibberish. "...work beyond the fringes of the problem.“ ? Really ?:

“Any solution to the pilot retention problem needs to focus on morale, not money.”

“Rand evidently views the personnel system as a challenge too daunting to tackle.”

“It is time for the Air Force to work beyond the fringes of the problem.“

https://www.airforcetimes.com/opinio...sses-the-mark/
In fairness, it should be pointed out that the article you quoted is an opinion of one single air force officer who does not seem to be commenting in any official capacity, so his opinions aren't necessarily the stance of the Air Force.
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Old 13th Dec 2018, 19:45
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Originally Posted by A Squared View Post
...it should be pointed out that the article you quoted is an opinion of one single air force officer who does not seem to be commenting in any official capacity...
AxA,

Yep, I guess you're right about that. However, the retention stats appearing in quite a few articles on the subject (and coming from USAF sources) appear to support the allegation that the retention efforts are falling short.

If lifestyle changes are enough to stem the manpower loss, that remains to be seen...if such changes are made or even can be made. A major airline career is a real siren song.
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Old 13th Dec 2018, 22:21
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Originally Posted by bafanguy View Post
AxA,

Yep, I guess you're right about that. However, the retention stats appearing in quite a few articles on the subject (and coming from USAF sources) appear to support the allegation that the retention efforts are falling short.
No argument that whatever they're doing, doesn't seem to be fixing the problem.
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Old 22nd Dec 2018, 12:09
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They're hangin' in there...giving it the old college try:

https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/y...ck-in-the-air/
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Old 25th Dec 2018, 00:21
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They could try by opening up the cockpit to folks with only high school education, rather than the degree currently required. It does work, my course (foreigner) did their training with the USN in Pensacola, all only had a high school education, at least one had just finished high school upon entry, and quite a number received the "Student of the Week" award. One went on some years later, with his high school education, to successfully complete the USN test pilot course at Pax River. Of the forty or so students involved no one failed, one dropped out voluntarily and one given the heave ho due personal issues with our national senior officer. Lad refused to give up his off duty skydiving activities.
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Old 25th Dec 2018, 02:23
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Originally Posted by megan View Post
They could try by opening up the cockpit to folks with only high school education, rather than the degree currently required. It does work, my course (foreigner) did their training with the USN in Pensacola, all only had a high school education, at least one had just finished high school upon entry, and quite a number received the "Student of the Week" award. One went on some years later, with his high school education, to successfully complete the USN test pilot course at Pax River. Of the forty or so students involved no one failed, one dropped out voluntarily and one given the heave ho due personal issues with our national senior officer. Lad refused to give up his off duty skydiving activities.
Nobody is doubting that someone could make it through UPT without a college degree. This has already been discussed and the conclusion is that the wage gap between an officer and a warrant officer is significant enough that a warrant officer would have even more incentive to leave the military and go fly for the airlines.

Right now, the problem is keeping talented officers in the military who are already rated pilots. I think that only an economic downturn combined with airline hiring coming to a halt could save the USAF staffing problem. I remember back in 2009, many Air Force Pilots were saying that they would never work for the airlines and that they would rather do a government job or a contractor job after retiring. Conditions have changed and people see the different in QOL and $$$.
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Old 25th Dec 2018, 06:20
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Not suggesting they be WO's, saying remove the requirement for a degree so they cast a wider net. You don't need a degree to occupy a cockpit, it's jokingly said in airline conversation all you need to know maths wise is your three times table. Young lad I know in the Navy just graduated with his wings, high school education, dux of his course, and given the offer to swap to the Air Force with the promise of F-18 if he does as an inducement, but he wants to fly choppers, so staying Navy. Flown with many a high school educated US Army WO and only one out of the lot I would have torn the wings from, needed to have the fact that Daddy was a Colonel knocked out of him.
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Old 25th Dec 2018, 09:56
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Originally Posted by megan View Post
Not suggesting they be WO's, saying remove the requirement for a degree so they cast a wider net.
megan,

Sometime in recent memory, the USAF explored this idea by running a handful of enlisted through UPT as some kind of experiment; it was reported in one of the Air Force Times articles. Then IIRC, decided against doing that as a solution to their headhunting woes. If they don't intend doing more of that, why do it in the first place ?
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Old 25th Dec 2018, 12:44
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Megan, are you saying that the Air Force should remove the university degree requirement for officers who fly? That will never happen.
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