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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.

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Brett Vance, Host of TV?s Jet Jockeys, Discusses the Devastating Impact of Military Pilot Shortages

It?s no secret that the Air Force is short on pilots. In fact, at the end of 2018, the service was in need of roughly 2,000 pilots. However, a new study the Defense Department delivered to Congress sheds more light on the makeup of the shortage and the exact challenges the Air Force and DoD have in digging out of the hole.

?Pilot shortages in the military are a recurring problem,? explains Brett Vance, host of TV?s Jet Jockeys, ?As a career fighter pilot and test pilot in the Air Force, I have personally seen these pilot manning numbers swing to both sides of the pendulum several times. With booming economies, pilots are attracted to the generally higher-paying civilian jobs, such as the major airlines or large aircraft manufacturers. In contracting economies, pilots gravitate toward the security of a military career, despite the seemingly constant deployments.?

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