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Mission Capable: How More Ready Jets Is Helping the Navy Create Deadlier Pilots

“It was, quite frankly, a little scary.”

In 2015, Rear Adm. Rich Brophy was a captain who had just taken command of Carrier Air Wing 9 and was trying to usher the unit through pre-deployment training, while sitting at the bottom of a bathtub in naval aviation readiness.

So few aircraft were mission capable across the whole Navy that pilots in the maintenance phase of the deployment cycle – back from a previous deployment, not yet preparing for the next deployment –only flew about 11 hours a month, the tactical hard deck or minimum time in the cockpit to keep their qualifications.

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