What the Army is doing about pilot shortfalls as COCOM demand for aviation brigades stays high

The desire for Army aviation assets hasn?t decreased among combatant commands, but the production sure did over the past few years, and the service says it?s working to address that shortfall through improvements to flight pay and surveying to figure out exactly why pilots are leaving for the private sector.

While the service?s aggregate number of pilots is reportedly suitable, there is an imbalance between the surplus of senior aviators and a shortage of nearly 700 junior aviators across the entire force, service officials told Army Times in August.

?One question I often get asked is, are the airlines impacting your shortfall,? Brig. Gen. Michael C. McCurry, director of Army aviation for the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff G-3/5/7 said Thursday at an aviation-focused event at the Association of the United States Army. ?Well the short answer is, we don?t know. We don?t have good measurements out there right now to tell us why an aviator is getting out of the force.”


The pilot shortage: The Army?s struggle to fix its aviation problems

Despite years of attempts to address the problem, the Army is struggling to deal with a shortage of about 700 pilots, a persistent manpower problem that could impact the readiness of the entire force.

Two years ago, the head of Army aviation told lawmakers that the Army was grappling with a hole in its warrant officer corps ? 731 pilots at the time ? and said the Army would tackle the problem through recruiting efforts, increasing seats at training schools and an aggressive push to retain seasoned aviators. But in the two years since then, the Army has only added about 30 pilots, and has nearly 700 left to fill, according to data provided to Army Times.

Army pilots are concerned about mission readiness levels that are compromised and even misreported, the increased risk for aviation mishaps, and competing priorities that are ?breaking pilots,? a senior pilot told Army Times.


Army considers better pay for aviation as pilots and crews leave at record rate

The Army wants to boost flight pay and award pilots with incentive money for career achievements in a bid to stem a record 10% attrition rate due largely to aging air crews and competition from commercial airlines. Maj. Gen. William Gayler, commander of the Army Aviation Center of Excellence, spoke of the adjustments the Army is weighing to retain more experienced pilots at an aviation conference last week.