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It isn’t just that the USAF is short pilots…

Old 09-19-2022, 01:03 PM
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Default It isn’t just that the USAF is short pilots…

The ones they have are getting few flying hours…

https://www.airforcemag.com/air-forc...rief-recovery/


Air Force Flying Hours Decline Again After Brief Recovery

June 1, 2022 | By John A. TirpakAcross all categories except reconnaissance, the Active-duty Air Force flew fewer hours in fiscal 2021 than it did the previous year, after making gains in most categories of flying from the year before. However, there were flying hour improvements in some mission areas for the Air National Guard and an improvement overall for the Air Force Reserve.

Flying hours are key to readiness, and are usually a good overall barometer of other readiness factors such as pilot and spare parts availability, speed of throughput at depots, and operations budgets. They are also affected by combat operations. Inadequate flying hours reduces pilot proficiency and correlates with increased accident rates.

According to figures provided to Air Force Magazine, pilot flying hours across all types of aircraft in the Active-duty force averaged 10.1 hours per month in fiscal 2021, down from 10.9 hours in 2020. Flying hours had averaged just 6.8 per month in 2019, down sharply from 10.7 in 2018. Hours for 2022 so far were not provided. The service did not offer commentary on why hours had changed as they did.

In a Heritage Foundation event June 1, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said, “I’m not happy with where we are” on flying hours. He said the Budget Control Act forced the Air Force to restrict hours for a decade, and the service “never recovered” from that pattern. The Air Force is now able to “do more with simulators,” though, because that technology has advanced rapidly and can now deliver extremely high fidelity virtual presentations of the flying environment. Simulator hours are generally far less costly than real-world flying, and allow aviators to rehearse dealing with emergencies that can’t be practiced in a real, flying airplane.

The Air Force said its numbers for flying hours are for real-world flying only, and do not include simulator time.
Absolute number of aircraft has taken a huge hit as well…

https://mitchellaerospacepower.org/w...nal-update.pdf
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Old 09-19-2022, 08:38 PM
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Ouch. And the Air Force stopped hiring pilots for a time. If the day to day hours were manageable it would help.
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Old 09-20-2022, 09:14 AM
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Non-mil guy here… is that enough time to stay proficient and combat ready? I can’t imagine staying proficient at my current job only flying 10 hours a month.
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Old 09-20-2022, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by gomissedagain View Post
Non-mil guy here… is that enough time to stay proficient and combat ready? I can’t imagine staying proficient at my current job only flying 10 hours a month.
Generally speaking, no. In fairness, the military traditionally has been over staffed for peacetime needs because war is sort of a come-as-you-are activity, so a fair amount of what you did was make-work activity, squadron officer school, Air Command and Staff, War College, all good things if you are going to become Chief of Staff I’d admit, but they only have one of those and the job tends to only turn over every three years or so.

But historically, better trained pilots was a huge advantage over our opponents. The thinking now is that we can do that with better technology. That needs to be proven and some are very skeptical that that theory is true.
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Old 09-20-2022, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by gomissedagain View Post
Non-mil guy here… is that enough time to stay proficient and combat ready? I can’t imagine staying proficient at my current job only flying 10 hours a month.
Depends.

Certain niche missions (special operations) really require full-time attendance.

Mobility IMO is pretty easy to stay current, since reserves actually fly real mobility missions on their part-time days. They also tend to do short (90 day) deployments to combat zones... that's mainly to take the load off the AD, but it also keeps the reserves sharp.

Also most reserve/guard pilots already did 10 years active duty... so the they are, man-for-man, already more experienced that the AD squadrons.

Reserve/guard fighter pilots routinely used to out-score AD in exercises, and also man much of the aggressor/adversary community. Experienced AD pilots get sent off to staff tours, many guard/reserve can stay in the cockpit much longer.

Also most reserve pilots are also civilian pilots, so they get some basic proficiency just doing that, at least more so than a guy who's a lawyer in his civilian life.

The reserve aviation community is the most tactically proficient of all reserve military specialties IMO.
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Old 09-20-2022, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by rickair7777 View Post

The reserve aviation community is the most tactically proficient of all reserve military specialties IMO.
https://youtu.be/bJaSIUCPZKc
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Old 09-20-2022, 05:18 PM
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Default It isn’t just that the USAF is short pilots…

Originally Posted by rickair7777 View Post

The reserve aviation community is the most tactically proficient of all reserve military specialties IMO.
I would argue they are the most tactically proficient of all military specialties, of any component. Maybe not current, but certainly most proficient.


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Old 09-20-2022, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by USMCv22 View Post
I would argue they are the most tactically proficient of all military specialties, of any component. Maybe not current, but certainly most proficient.
I can think of a few elite communities which achieve an exceptional state of proficiency through both exceptionally challenging training and lots of it. If you have the funding and the motivation to do high quantity training, that will take you places you cannot get without it.

AD aviators don't fly that much in the grand scheme, they spend 20 days/month on admin and BS.
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Old 09-21-2022, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Excargodog View Post
oh, I wanted wings, til I got the ******* things…..
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Old 09-21-2022, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by galaxy flyer View Post
oh, I wanted wings, til I got the ******* things…..
https://youtu.be/uC-8vPJo9OE

https://youtu.be/SM6Z4mwVdfg
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