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US Air Force Reporting Pilot Shortage

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the watch-your-six dept.

The Military 270

An anonymous reader writes "Times sure have changed: it is no longer cool to be a fighter pilot. The Pentagon expects to be short some 200 fighter pilots this year, and is projecting that shortfall will increase to 700 pilots by 2021. Various factors seem to be involved: better paying jobs in the commercial sector with more stability, the stress of repeated overseas deployments, and the threat that ultimately the job they trained to do — fly planes — is being superseded by remotely-controlled drones. With demand for commercial aviators heating up as thousands of pilots are expected to reach mandatory retirement age (65) in the next five years, the Air Force is caught in a quandary. Where are they going to get the pilots to fly their shiny new F-35s?"

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Maybe fix them? (1, Offtopic)

jandrese (485) | about a year ago | (#44353989)

Maybe if they could make a F-35 that absolutely positively won't asphyxiate you they would get more interest from pilots?

Re:Maybe fix them? (2)

Extremus (1043274) | about a year ago | (#44354041)

I guess that was a problem with the almighty F-22.

F-22 vs F-35 (0)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year ago | (#44354573)

Thing is, both planes share significant amounts of engineering. Who's to say that the F-35 wouldn't suffer from the same issue due to them cribbing life support systems off the F-22 program?

Re:Maybe fix them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354069)

You're thinking of F-22s.

Re:Maybe fix them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354071)

Why would they worry about an F-35 asphyxiating them when there has never been a case of that happening?

Re:Maybe fix them? (1)

sabri (584428) | about a year ago | (#44354205)

Maybe if they could make a F-35 that absolutely positively won't asphyxiate you they would get more interest from pilots?

Maybe they could add some normal flight instruments so I could fly it with my PPL!

Re:Maybe fix them? (4, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year ago | (#44354515)

I've heard the Air Force make this complaint before: No pilots, mission endangered...

My! How they do drone on.

Re:Maybe fix them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354239)

Well maybe they should just take smaller bites and chew thoroughly?

Re:Maybe fix them? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354297)

Maybe the USAF can import foreigners on H1-B visas to train as pilots. I mean if these people are the best and brightest why wouldn't the USAF want them too?

Obvious Solution (5, Funny)

some old guy (674482) | about a year ago | (#44353991)

Outsource routine missions to the Indian Air Force and grant thousands of H1B visas to fill the rest of the vacancies.

Re:Obvious Solution (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354305)

I was about to say, is this the Air Force learning from Corporate America: "We need more drones because darn it, there just aren't enough qualified pilots. Please expand our budget by 60 billion so we can perform the needful."

Outsource to china (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354007)

what could go wrong

The more likely reason (5, Insightful)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#44354013)

People don't want to sign up for the armed services knowing that they're just going to be shipped off immediately to one of these middle-eastern hell holes to fight some undeclared war over some bullshit "terror" campaign to "keep us safe" from that big, evil Constitution that is making government's job so difficult.

Re:The more likely reason (4, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | about a year ago | (#44354415)

That's been going on a very long time and hasn't stopped potential aircrew. The perception they won't get a slot for their effort IS a deterrent.

What does piss off pilots and ruin RETENTION (which creates shortages) is their "extra duties" and square-filling they are tasked with when not flying. If the Air Force wanted to retain pilots it would reduce the bullshit they have to put up with. It's not as if pilots aren't vocal about it. Many would be delighted with a full career "flying track" even if they weren't promoted as quickly. With command comes a desk, and that desk never empties.

Pilots do not live in "hellhole" conditions, and neither to most Airmen when deployed.

Re:The more likely reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354495)

People don't want to sign up for the armed services knowing that they're just going to be shipped off immediately to one of these middle-eastern hell holes to fight some undeclared war over some bullshit "terror" campaign to "keep us safe" from that big, evil Constitution that is making government's job so difficult.

So why would you sign up for the military ? Paid holidays and an 8 hour day work ?

Re:The more likely reason (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44354675)

"People don't want to sign up for the armed services knowing that they're just going to be shipped off immediately to one of these middle-eastern hell holes to fight some undeclared war over some bullshit "terror" campaign to "keep us safe" from that big, evil Constitution that is making government's job so difficult."

Corollary: maybe we should make Wall Street and Washington bigwigs be the pilots, since they are the ones who have benefited from all this.

Re:The more likely reason (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354695)

Believe me, that may be a problem with the Army but never with the chAir Force.

No, their problem is a ridiculous "up or out" policy in the officer corps where if you can't get promoted to a higher rank within a certain length of time, you get shitcanned. Since they only let officers fly planes, they now have a pilot shortage as too many of them are now either gone or at too high a rank to actually do the whole flying thing.

Re:The more likely reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354699)

And yet they'll quite happily sign up to learn how to pilot a drone, removing themselves from the equation while still maintaining the ability to kill people efficiently. Something doesn't quite add up.

Let's not pretend that people are avoiding the USAF because they've suddenly found their morals. There are families in Pakistan who have lost family members, children to US drone strikes, civilian targets. There's plenty of people willing to throw their hat into the "bullshit terror campaign" if it comes back filled with cash.

Hell, there's plenty of people who are willing to vote for a guy whose entire platform is "I won't be like the last guy," then he not only re-inforces that last guy's decisions, he takes advantage of the near regal powers Bush instituted and uses them to his own benefit. A majority of people voted for him, in fact. It would seem that there are less of your theoretical moral crusaders in the US than there are warmongers.

PIlots don't make much (4, Informative)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year ago | (#44354015)

Pilots have always left the air force for private jobs. I think the issue is likely that fewer are signing up to replace them, because the news is out that pilots don't make much money.

If you pay commercial pilots more, then more pilots will join the air force for 5-10 years in order to become commercial pilots later.

Sure, we're likely to see many pilots retire at 65 and all that, but with all the industry consolidation the fact is that new pilots can't make money. There are tons of people with experience flying airliners who can't get jobs flying airliners.

Re:PIlots don't make much (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354213)

Pilots have always left the air force for private jobs. I think the issue is likely that fewer are signing up to replace them, because the news is out that pilots don't make much money.

If you pay commercial pilots more, then more pilots will join the air force for 5-10 years in order to become commercial pilots later.

Sure, we're likely to see many pilots retire at 65 and all that, but with all the industry consolidation the fact is that new pilots can't make money. There are tons of people with experience flying airliners who can't get jobs flying airliners.

This is true. It doesn't take long to realize that decent pay only exists for pilots who work for a large carrier. I was surprised to learn that regional air carrier pilots could earn as little as $25K/year. I assume that pilots have to keep up certification and pay for certification to upgrade their skills (i.e., learn to fly larger planes). Heck 25K barely feeds you and your family.

Re:PIlots don't make much (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#44354249)

With that kind of civilian pay, you're better off staying in the Air Force.

Re:PIlots don't make much (4, Interesting)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year ago | (#44354321)

nobody flies fighter jets in the Air Force and then goes on to fly for regional carriers for $25k a year. Those regional carrier jobs are filled by entry level pilots that graduated Bob's Flying School who are looking to build up their flight hours and beef up their resume in hopes of eventually flying for the majors.

Air Force pilots leaving the military are in high demand at the majors as they have thousands of hours in jets and typically have exceptional flying skills compared to Bob's Flying School graduates.

Re:PIlots don't make much (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354599)

In Ontario, civilian training is somewhat more rigorous than Bob's Flying School. It's a program at Centennial College, with a substantial failout (won't say dropout) rate.

Re:PIlots don't make much (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#44354689)

nobody flies fighter jets in the Air Force and then goes on to fly for regional carriers for $25k a year.

Flying an F-16 is not very good preparation for flying a 737. What the airlines really want is C-17 or C-130 pilots, with plenty of multi-engine experience.

Re:PIlots don't make much (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#44354769)

What I want is a 737 pilot who thinks they are still in an F-16.

Whoo hooo!

Re:PIlots don't make much (1, Troll)

rossdee (243626) | about a year ago | (#44354529)

"This is true. It doesn't take long to realize that decent pay only exists for pilots who work for a large carrier"

you must be thinking of the Navy and Marines - the airforce doesn't have any carriers .

Re:PIlots don't make much (0)

Applekid (993327) | about a year ago | (#44354391)

Pilots have always left the air force for private jobs. I think the issue is likely that fewer are signing up to replace them, because the news is out that pilots don't make much money.

In other news, Top Gun is the next Hollywood remake for next summer.

this is just a ploy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354023)

to further legitimize drones and get billions more in funding for them.

Re:this is just a ploy (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | about a year ago | (#44354143)

Right now there still need to be a pilot controlling those drones.

Re:this is just a ploy (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year ago | (#44354481)

Or video game experts. Perhaps named Ender.

Re:this is just a ploy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354561)

Right now there still need to be a pilot controlling those drones.

A pilot ? An armchair pilot if even that. I'm good at Falcon 4, I'd guess my skills could come in handy piloting a drone and I'm sure not to cost the taxpayers as much money as a "genuine" pilot does.
Pilots are those that fly in the sky with their machines. A guy siting in a chair in some air conditioned container controlling with a joystick some drone is NO DAMN PILOT.

F35 and F22 (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354027)

Or perhaps it could be that the F-22 has been shown to be a grossly overpriced death-trap, and the F35 is also likely going to be proven a piece of shit as well. No sane pilot would willingly fly those pieces of shit.

As for the drones, why not just get a bunch of pimply-faced snot-nosed kids to fly them?

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:F35 and F22 (3, Funny)

hey! (33014) | about a year ago | (#44354513)

Overpriced death-trap it may be, but the F-22 is an elegant tool designed to do a single thing well: wrest control of European airspace from the Soviet Union.

Re:F35 and F22 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354743)

Overpriced death-trap it may be, but the F-22 is an elegant tool designed to do a single thing well: wrest control of European airspace from the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union is no more and the Europeans are more than capable of withstanding what little forces the Russians still have in operating order.
Now the A-10 is a plane that should never have be retired. It WAS the primary defense against a Soviet Invasion of western Europe with thousands of tanks. F-22 puke what a piece of costly shit. Bring the warthog, the only useful plane in the US Air Force's inventory in the last 30 years.

Re:F35 and F22 (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#44354785)

Well, we won haven''t we?

Seen any tigers recently?

Re:F35 and F22 (1)

RetiredMidn (441788) | about a year ago | (#44354581)

I think every fighter produced starting with the F-4 Phantom II was criticized as having some fatal flaw, and most ended up being liked by their pilots.

Re: F35 and F22 (1, Interesting)

Mabhatter (126906) | about a year ago | (#44354679)

Of 22 yo kids CARE ABOUT that stuff?

Truth is that for decades flying has been packed with incumbents not moving out. In 2002 if you went to a recruiter and wanted to fly you'd be laughed at... The best enlisted folks would ever get is cargo planes anyway. To fly fighters, you have to be an officer...it's not like the old days where just anybody could try out. And who is going to Military Academy (Annapolis, West Point, Colorado Springs) for a dead-end airline career?

Not to mention the physical attributes are outright bigoted... They haven't updated planes from 5'8" pilots (MAX HEIGHT) in decades, which means your High School average sports star doesn't even get asked. And that's before the other physical exclusions...

They've been elitist brats for 40 years and there's nobody left to play in their club. Besides, drones are where it's at and the skills favor geeks, not jocks.

Re:F35 and F22 (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year ago | (#44354703)

To be fair fighter planes have a long history of being death traps.

Pilot Shortage... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354035)

...When I read the headline, for some reason Tom Cruise immediately sprang to mind

Time for TOP GUN 2 (4, Insightful)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44354059)

TOP GUN made a lot of people sign up for the navy

Re:Time for TOP GUN 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354147)

TOP GUN made a lot of people sign up for the navy

That doesn't really help the Air Force. Besides they tried that in the 80's [imdb.com] .

Re:Time for TOP GUN 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354255)

TOP GUN made a lot of people sign up for the navy

That doesn't really help the Air Force. Besides they tried that in the 80's [imdb.com] .

that was one GREAT

...

Soundtrack.

Other than that, and the quote "that's why that call him Ronnie Ray-Gun".... not much reason to watch the actual film. - But the Soundtrack was awesome.

Re:Time for TOP GUN 2 (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44354251)

you can't enlist and be a pilot

for a pilot you have to be an officer which means college first, more specifically the naval or air force academy which only take the top 5% or so. and you have to get a nomination from your congressperson. its like a 2 year process to apply in high school

Re:Time for TOP GUN 2 (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44354317)

Top 5% of what?
I highly doubt the top 5% of any group apply to such academies. I am not disparaging their applicants, merely observing that these are not high paying positions most people know about or seek out.

Needing nomination from a congress person again makes me doubt this top 5% thing. It sounds more like a way to keep these high prestige jobs for their friends and family.

Re:Time for TOP GUN 2 (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44354383)

nope, to get into west point or one of the other academies you have to be in the top 5% or so of your HS class. lots of these people are one of the top 2 people of the class. i've known west pointers in the army and they told me what it takes to get in. someone i work with, her son made it in but ended up going to NYU.

Re:Time for TOP GUN 2 (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44354535)

I just figured no one with another opportunity would bother. Even going into the military there are better paying fields to deal with. That made me assume most just would not bother.

Re:Time for TOP GUN 2 (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44354429)

It certainly was the smart kids in my high school. My high school wasn't the greatest, but we had an Ivy Leaguer or two in the class. The academies have some soft majors, but mostly it is sciences - everyone gets a B.S., not a B.A.

Re:Time for TOP GUN 2 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354449)

You don't have to go to a military academy to become an officer.

But people with the wherewithal to get into officer training tend to be less likely to sign up for military service during an unpopular war (especially if they're looking at a combat assignment like fighter pilot).

Drones (4, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#44354061)

Who wants to be a pilot and put your butt on the line every day as you enter enemy territory when you can be a drone pilot half way across the world and go home to your wife and kids every night.

Besides, it's looking more and more like "fighter pilot" is a dead end job and won't be around forever. Why send one fighter when you can send 10 drones that can outmaneuver any manned plane for the less cost and no risk to pilots life.

Not pilots , assassins. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354451)

Those are not fighter pilots , those are assassins. Cowards that hide behind a desk and kill innocent civilians ( collateral damage ) and kids to return to their homes and smile at their kids. First grade assassins.Fighter pilots do not hide. Fighter pilots are on the line of fire.

Re:Not pilots , assassins. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354505)

Killing is killing. This macho bullshit about how it's done is just an argument for someone that's too stupid to know that it doesn't matter where you're sitting. If you think there's such thing as a "fair" fight, perhaps these fighter pilots should fly all the same planes as well.

Re:Drones (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354501)

Who wants to be a pilot and put your butt on the line every day as you enter enemy territory when you can be a drone pilot half way across the world and go home to your wife and kids every night.

Besides, it's looking more and more like "fighter pilot" is a dead end job and won't be around forever. Why send one fighter when you can send 10 drones that can outmaneuver any manned plane for the less cost and no risk to pilots life.

..and in either case your targets are not likely to even be military targets. That must bite into the motivation factor, knowing that you'll be second guessing if you're shooting up pajero full of teens going to the market, paramilitaries on your side or "enemy combatants". It's not a dead end job but there is no glory.

Drones (1)

hierofalcon (1233282) | about a year ago | (#44354065)

The movement to unmanned planes isn't helping their case any either. There aren't as many fighter wars expected to be left - so why join up for a position that may be phased out in just a few years. The Navy might have better luck recruiting, but the Air Force is in a harder spot unless a major land war with a well equipped adversary materializes that lasts enough to bring the Air Force to bear.

Re:Drones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354389)

Well DOY

This, I believe, is the plan:
1. Bemoan lack of pilots
2. Increase budget to drone development

Well, slashdot is a great place to start (5, Funny)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#44354079)

We're in incredible physical condition, none of us have near-sightedness, or color blindness. We love the military in particular and the government in general. And combat and sports are what we excel at!

You've definitely found the recruitment pool you're looking for!

pfft (3, Insightful)

meglon (1001833) | about a year ago | (#44354083)

....the Air Force is caught in a quandary. Where are they going to get the pilots to fly their shiny new F-35s?"

And here i thought their quandary was wondering: if, when, and for how many trillions of dollars it was going to be for the F-35 to be anything more than a theft of taxpayer money by the MIC.

IMO an indirect effect (3, Informative)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year ago | (#44354085)

I was in AFROTC 20 years ago. It was known for a long time that the "battle boom" of pilots from Vietnam who went to the air lines was drying up, and when those numbers fell, there'd be a suction of active duty pilots lured into the civilian sector to fill in the need. There's always going to be a line of kids trying to fly fighters. This is more a Pin vs Pout issue. Couple that with a smaller Air Force of gourmet fighters and drones and now the civilian sector is going to have to get used to finding/creating other pools of pilots with 1000s of hours in hand.

Aviators (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354091)

They can hire some Naval Aviators. They're better than pilots.

Problem not lack of interest (2)

LinuxFreakus (613194) | about a year ago | (#44354111)

Many many people desire to be fighter pilots. The problem is not a lack of people wanting to sign up. The problem is that the USAF is highly selective about who can be a fighter pilot. You need to meet all sorts of physical requirements, then you need to meet very high academic standards, then you have to meet a whole bunch of psychological/personality requirements, etc, etc. By the time they go through the pool of applicants there is nobody left.

Re:Problem not lack of interest (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354243)

The air force? The US Air Force? Hahahaha... they are generally considered to be the least physically fit of the US armed forces.

Anyway, why would they lower standards? Better to raise yourself up to meet your goals.

Re:Problem not lack of interest (2)

LinuxFreakus (613194) | about a year ago | (#44354397)

They don't have to be musclebound freaks. They need to have exceptional vision, hand-eye coordination and other sorts of spatial awareness aptitudes. It is a different set of physical requirements from what you are thinking of.

Re:Problem not lack of interest (0)

jitterman (987991) | about a year ago | (#44354527)

Selectivity is not a problem. A lack of qualified applicants is, and I for one don't want questionable individuals (mentally nor physically) with their hands on expensive and deadly systems.

I'll gladly do it (2)

Atomic Fro (150394) | about a year ago | (#44354113)

I'll gladly do it... they'll have to overlook the fact I am in my early 30's and don't have 20/20 vision. If they did, I'd sign up immediately.

Re:I'll gladly do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354203)

I'm in the same boat as you. I know I can't be a military aviator, so I'm working on the next best thing, my Private Pilot's license.

Re:I'll gladly do it (5, Interesting)

Joshua Craymer (2967721) | about a year ago | (#44354565)

Actually, that's kind of what happened to me. I was just an EE with thick glasses and bad hair, but through an unlikely series of events, I ended up as a test subject to see if people with laser vision correction could effectively fly military aircraft. 10 years later, it turns out they can.

do like airlines, GO CHEAP (5, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44354139)

at this point to be a pilot you have to be in the top 5% of your HS class, go to the air force academy, go to flight school and then train on your aircraft

where to be an airline pilot all you need is to go to flight school and pass a test

this isn't the 70's and 80's. if you're in the top 5% of your HS class you can make a lot more money in medicine, banking, law and lots of other careers

Re:do like airlines, GO CHEAP (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about a year ago | (#44354637)

where to be an airline pilot all you need is to go to flight school and pass a test

Oh god nooooooooooo. I can just see (to reuse a comment from above) ads for Bob's Flying school:

"We now teach Air Combat!!!!! Come and train on our latests planes .. Migs, Phantoms and Mirages.

Are you ready to be Top Gun?"

Well DUH (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354167)

dropping tons of ordinance on mud huts from several thousands of miles in the air for dubious political gains and or National Interests just doesn't have the allure as it used to I guess. Considering the education and physical attributes needed to climb in to a state of the art aircraft the people qualified would probably not be the folks clamoring to be cannon fodder

WOMEN !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354177)

Should not fly !! It scares the boys !!

Good god. Air force Obsolete. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354197)

Every - I mean EVERY - little kid who wants to fly wants to fly Air Force jets.

I mean really.

These "there's a 'shortage'" articles are getting old.

One of the F-22 test pilots is this 5 foot, 7 inch fat guy - with a belly that's 5 foot 8 inches..

Really, fighter jets are more about brains than brawn now. Gone are the days of fighting cables and air pressure. It's all computers.

The Air Force needs to get a grip.They are being replaced by technology They are obsolete.

Drones are the future. The video game kids WILL take over.

Navy is next.

Lead - gold - neither fly in the future.. Suck it!

Re:Good god. Air force Obsolete. (4, Informative)

couchslug (175151) | about a year ago | (#44354471)

"Gone are the days of fighting cables and air pressure. It's all computers. "

I've been in the back seat of an F-16 D-model (I was a crew chief and we got rides when there was no one scheduled to go up for other purposes). The G-forces are considerable and you certainly do "fight" them (straining maneuvers etc). Flying any modern fighter takes considerable physical endurance.

A "belly" doesn't indicate lack of resistance to G's.

Re:Good god. Air force Obsolete. (2)

jitterman (987991) | about a year ago | (#44354673)

Fighter pilots have always needed to be extremely mentally capable as well as in excellent physical condition. Physical fitness is not the same as being able to bench 350 pounds.

Ever notice that in order to be a fixed-wing-aircraft pilot in any service, you must be an officer? That requires a college education. It doesn't mean you're smarter, but it may imply that you're more dedicated to learning what you need to know to do the job you're required to do.

Yeah. I thought you'd say that. (0, Flamebait)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#44354215)

It couldn't possibly be that they're under-compensating pilots on purpose. Oh no, that would never be the case. Oh hey! Guess what? We have missiles and drones that can fly autonomously, and don't disobey orders. I guess we'll just have to figure out how to further remove the human element from war so that it doesn't require anyone actually believing in the war effort enough to put their lives on the line...

Yep, so unfortunate. Guess we'll just let the machines rule everything... Don't forget to submit to a full body scan at the airport, and pay your red-light camera ticket, and buy a new game console with a child-spy-eye -- press those 'quick-time' buttons exactly as the machines demand kiddies. You wouldn't mind labeling your friends in these social network photos like felons in a line up, right? I mean, we'll just track your friends and family just in case you ever get out of line.

Re:Yeah. I thought you'd say that. (1)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#44354569)

So I knew people 20 years ago who wanted to be a pilot in the air force. These were extremely intelligent, bright, fit people, good eyesight, knew multiple languages, were willing to do whatever it took/ Couldn't get a plane, they were not the right type.

Today I see kids that have great spatial ability, score way above what they need on the test, and have good process skills. These kids want to be in the military, they are not looking to make $100K a year. They want the government to take care of them for 10-20 years, then they want a pension, and if they are air force they expect to get a job flying planes, which they would,if they had the chance. But because the Army and Marines are seen as the low hanging fruit for these kids, and the incentives evidently don't encourage placement in the the most qualified kids in the most appropriate service, they end up in the Army or Marines.

Most of the these shortages are manufactured to meet some goal of some paper pusher somewhere. Like the shortage of software people or the shortage of teachers. We know what the current goals of the military are, the current issues that they are pushing back heavily against legitimate constitutional civilian oversight. And of course there are, evidently, only between 700-800 female pilots in the USAF.

Can't see there being a shortage of fighter pilots (4, Insightful)

willy_me (212994) | about a year ago | (#44354259)

A shortage of pilots is possible but not fighter pilots. The jobs that will require pilots will be the boring jobs - not those where you get the break the sound barrier. For every F22 pilot I'm sure the air force requires 100 other pilots and it's those for which the air force might be hard-up to find replacements.

Re:Can't see there being a shortage of fighter pil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354521)

Yes and no. In every AF training class, there are usually X number of fighter slots available, Y number of this type, Z drones, etc.

The top of the class gets to pick first and *usually* they pick a fighter slot. But my brother deliberately did NOT choose a fighter slot even though he could have because he couldn't handle the high gees. My other brother is in flight training now with the AF, but he was sponsored by a specific reserve base so he'll be going to fly C130s when he's done. No slot to choose, it's already chosen for him.

But you're basically right. The fighter jocks are usually easy to fill. It's finding drone pilots that is hard. No one wants to fly a video game once they've learned how to soar with eagles.

JHutch -- Come from an AF family. Father (retired colonel) and now two brothers (captain and 2nd lt.) all AF pilots. I'm the strange one ... I fly a computer keyboard, not a flight stick!

Shortage of both manned missions and manpower (0)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44354261)

There's not enough manned pilots, and there's not enough missions to give out. I'd say it's win-win. Besides, if I were a fighter pilot, I'd shy away from F-35 assignments as well. There's something about a single-engine fighter in a possible combat situation in this day and age that just doesn't sit well with me. That's just cheap and dangerous.

Too little time in the air (3, Interesting)

Milharis (2523940) | about a year ago | (#44354287)

I don't know if that's as true as in Europe, but the biggest complain I've heard by far from would-be pilots as well as pilots is that they don't fly enough. A flight is so costly that they don't fly more than a few times a month.

What's rather funny though is that in Europe the situation is reverted, there are far more people that want to become a pilot, fighter or commercial, than jobs available. A lot of airlines have totally frozen hiring for a few years.

I'd love to (1)

avm (660) | about a year ago | (#44354289)

...but I can't. Have a family, which doesn't work all that well with active duty deployments. Have TERRIBLE vision and have had corrective lenses since age 4, also a non-starter. On top of that I'm 35...I couldn't get recruited for any of the armed services regardless of physical condition. In addition, the penchant of the current (and several prior) administration to engage other militaries and paramilitaries on a global scale, with no declaration of war (aside from a nebulous and ever-changing "terror" tag applied), renders training via our military an unavailable option to an otherwise very interested party.

In the current climate, without the flight time afforded by military experience, you are unlikely to make a livable wage as a commercial pilot (unless, perhaps, you are single, unattached, and can live on shoe strings for awhile). This combined with the initial expense of private pilot training really does not do anything to increase the available commercial pilot pool.

Hmmm ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44354333)

Where are they going to get the pilots to fly their shiny new F-35s?

They'll just turn the F-35 into a UAV then.

Or, since I'm skeptical the F-35 will ever fly because it was a badly conceived project from the get go (you know, make everyone sign on for and pay for your R&D costs on a plane whose feature lists reads like a demand for a pony) ... you may never have to worry about F-35 pilots at all.

I think a lot of governments are starting to decide they may have been hoodwinked with this F-35 program, and are starting to reconsider if it is (or ever was) a good investment.

General Aviation is in Decline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354417)

And meanwhile it seems like the FAA and the TSA seem to have declared war on general aviation, helping to reduce the number of people who might become pilots.

"Various factors" = "Too few white men"... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354421)

LOL.
And so, as usual, another part of the USA begins to collapse, because of the ever increasing number of THIRD WORLD PARASITES in the country, and the Jew-owned media bends over backwards, trying to find any reason other than the TRUTH. Sickening.

Then increase the pay... (1)

harvestsun (2948641) | about a year ago | (#44354431)

If the reason that you don't have enough pilots is that there are "better paying jobs in the commercial sector with more stability", then start paying the pilots more! Isn't that how capitalism works? You can't expect intelligent people to take an inferior job simply out of patriotism.

Instead they'll probably waste millions of dollars on advertising campaigns, sigh.

Re:Then increase the pay... (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about a year ago | (#44354635)

If the reason that you don't have enough pilots is that there are "better paying jobs in the commercial sector with more stability", then start paying the pilots more! Isn't that how capitalism works? You can't expect intelligent people to take an inferior job simply out of patriotism.

Instead they'll probably waste millions of dollars on advertising campaigns, sigh.

Or it could be all of those new planes the pentagon said they didn't need but congress made them purchase anyway. Maybe congress's intention to appease the defense contractors is the cause of the shortage.

Amazing! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354455)

You mean telling pilots that they can't go to school or be released for staff jobs, because they are needed in Afghanistan 6 months of the year then laying them off because they haven't been to school or a staff job wasn't the best way to handle manning. Next you will be telling me that we should start giving medals to people who do things in combat instead of to people who do things in PowerPoint. Because of several factors, in the U.S. we are rapidly moving to a combat Air Force with leadership who have never flown in combat. My last 2 squadron commanders have yet to see the desert. And I recently talked to some U-2 guys who's squadron commander wasn't even qualified in the jet. (He failed out of training, but still kept his command slot) Right now if you want to get promoted in the USAF you simply cannot waste time on things as trivial as flying, and if you don't get promoted, you get fired. BTW Sorry for posting anonymously, but it is easier than having to explain this to Public Affairs.

Drones it is then (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year ago | (#44354473)

Clearly the only thing left to do is contract out several hundred billion dollars to privatized military manufacturers to offshore the immediate production in China of military drones which can be flown by congressmen and Top Brass during their lunch hours.

Well, use drones. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year ago | (#44354511)

Just last week I was reading that the less than 1000 or so combat planes in US Air Force has some 20 wings/squadrons whatever. And more than thousand unmanned aircraft have just two squadrons. (numbers very very approximate, quoting from memory and am too lazy to look up, not even sure what they call a brigade sized unit in USAF). Thus RPV pilots have much fewer promotion opportunities etc. So if there are not enough pilots, scrap the planes and do some retro mod and make them RPVs. Or ask Google to create a self flying plane.

The F-35 is not the problem (4, Informative)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | about a year ago | (#44354549)

The F-35 is not the problem. There will always be people lining up to fly the newest, hottest fighter. The problem is finding pilots for slow, unarmed, propeller-driven cargo planes on the milk run into Kabul or Basra.

Intel? ARM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354553)

With the space a pilot takes up you could install enough hardware to turn the F-35 into a decent drone. Probably design-limited by being intended for human pilots with pretty limited gee-tolerance, but still okay.

OOOH OOOH (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354587)

Pick me pick me. I have several thousand hours logged on to MSFlightSimulator. I've landed a cessna at Meigs Field more times than I care to admit.

Great! (3, Insightful)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about a year ago | (#44354603)

Great, now the military is going to want to increase H1B Visas for their shortage, too.

"shortage" is right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354613)

When I visited my recruiter way back when, he said I was way too tall! :-)

Robot Overlords (1)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about a year ago | (#44354625)

I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords...

bad idea (1)

Xicor (2738029) | about a year ago | (#44354629)

nobody wants to fly them anymore for many reasons: 1. unsafe(screaming metal death trap) 2. requires ridiculous training 3. cant have eye surgery 4. bad for ppl with motion sickness 5.. etc. why dont they just make these planes controlled by some geek at a computer with a joystick? im sure they would get a ton of volunteers.

Re:bad idea (1)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | about a year ago | (#44354783)

3. cant have eye surgery

This is no longer true. Aviators can have surgery, but they just need a Flight Surgeon waiver. Nowadays, that'll probably be pretty easy, especially considering the shortage.

Air Force Tradition (2)

musterion (305824) | about a year ago | (#44354697)

Part of the problem stem from the first commandant/general of the Air Force who required all of the pilots to be college graduates. This is dumb. Israel does not require this, and I bet their pilots can whip our butts. Additionally, why do piolots have to be officers? From what I read most pilots want to fly; they don't want to lead. If they must be officers of some kind, make them warrant officers.

Show me the money (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44354729)

The airplane costs millions of dollars. But how much are they willing to pay the pilots. How much does fuel and ordinance cost. That's right the pilot is probably the cheapest thing in the plane.

I know where to get them (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#44354795)

I hear Sum Ting Wong is looking for a new job. :)

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