The Marine Corps will pay pilots up to $210,000 to remain in uniform

Fixed-wing pilots seem to be in the highest demand: Flyers in those categories with less than 12 years of service can get $210,000 if they sign up for an additional six years of service, or receive $100,000 for an additional four.

Pilots of the Osprey, a tiltrotor aircraft capable of vertical takeoff and landing, can get up to $125,000, while pilots of traditional helicopters, such as the Huey, Cobra, or Sea Stallion, can receive up to $75,000.


New Air Force leaders view plans for more virtual pilot training

The Air Force’s new military leaders, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne Bass, made their first trip with Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett Thursday.

The leadership team traveled to Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph in Texas, where they were shown Air Education and Training Command’s plans to take lessons from its virtual reality and artificial intelligence-infused pilot training experiment, called Pilot Training Next, and incorporate them into a new version of undergraduate pilot training, which the Air Force is calling UPT 2.5.


Army raising service commitment for future aviators to 10 years

Soldiers who want to fly Army helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft will be required to serve at least a decade, the same active-duty service commitment expected of Air Force fighter pilots and four more years than the current policy.

The 10-year service obligation kicks in after graduation from flight training and does not apply to personnel currently in training, Army officials said this week.

The policy takes effect in October and also applies to part-time Army Reserve and National Guard personnel, Chief Warrant Officer 5 William S. Kearns, aviation and officer policy integrator for the Army’s personnel office, said in a statement.


Here’s where the Air Force’s pilot shortfall is the worst

Despite the Air Force’s full-court press in recent years to close its persistent and troubling pilot shortfall, the gaps in crucial categories remain — and in some cases, have worsened.

The Air Force closed out 2019 with roughly 1 in 10 bomber, fighter and special operations pilot billets vacant, according to statistics the service provided at Air Force Times’ request.

And in two cases, the manning situation is consistently heading in the wrong direction. Among 11B bomber pilots, for example, the Air Force was more than fully manned from 2015 to 2017. But manning fell 17 percentage points in recent years, from a high of 108 percent in fiscal 2016 to 91 percent in 2019.


Female military pilots see the next barrier to break: Getting more Black women to fly

The women who were the first to break gender and race barriers as military pilots understand the isolation that comes with being the only female in their squadron.

They have spent years encouraging more women to fly, but as new data obtained by McClatchy shows, there are still few in the ranks, and even fewer who are Black.

Women comprise just 7 percent of the 48,308 active duty, National Guard and reserve pilots now serving in the military. Of those 3,314 female pilots, only 72 identified as African American or Black, according to military data obtained by McClatchy.


Industry, military looking to women to fill open positions in aviation

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — As the civil aviation industry grows, and as the Air Force faces a persistent pilot shortage, recruiters in industry and military alike are looking to a relatively untapped pool of qualified candidates — women.

According to the Air Force and FAA, only about 6% of pilots in the Air Force, and in the aviation industry overall, were women in 2019. Outside the cockpit, women are even more underrepresented in aviation-related fields — in 2019 women accounted for only 5.5% of aviation repairers, 4.3% of flight engineers and just 2.5% of certified aviation mechanics. About 1 in 5 air traffic controllers are women.


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.”


Here’s why the Marine Corps is losing experienced pilots ? and what it can do to fix it

“Lat[eral] moves for [all aviators] to become a MARSOC [Special Operations Officer] are not being approved” at this time, the email from the Monitor said, adding that “[Inter-Service Transfers] for [any aviator] to any branch, to include the USCG, are not being approved [at this time].”

The email was just the latest restriction on aviators, and the next round of Headquarters Marine Corps’ (HQMC) ineffective strategy for dealing with a critical shortage of company grade aviators in the Marine Corps. The Air Force has garnered most of the attention regarding pilot shortages over the past few years, but it’s hardly unique to their service, as the entire military is struggling to keep its aviators in the midst of an airline hiring frenzy and a strong economy. For years, the pilot shortage was attributed to Obama-era sequestration, aging platforms, and a lack of sufficient flight time.

But there is a more significant contributor to this shortage: mismanagement of pilots due to unwritten rules of the aviation promotion system.


VR-Based Simulators, Trimmed Syllabi: How Vance is Meeting the Need for More Pilots

VANCE AFB, Okla.?The Air Force?s pilot shortage has forced its training bases to get creative to rapidly increase the number of trainees without a matching boost in funding. At its peak, the Air Force was short 2,000 pilots, prompting a series of steps that began in 2016 to grow pilot retention and push more trained aviators through Air Education and Training Command bases.

The 71st Flying Training Wing here must ramp up production from 325 new pilots last year to 400 this year, then grow to 425 pilots in 2020. Vance is trying to do so with the same airspace, the same number of instructors, and the same number of aircraft.


Full Flight Simulators Incorporate VR for Next Generation of Pilots

Modern full-flight simulators are so realistic that a student pilot can learn to fly from scratch in the virtual world and step directly into an aircraft for real-world, leave-the-ground checkout flights.

High-fidelity virtual reality simulators may be one answer to training the thousands of pilots the global helicopter industry will need to meet an expected skyrocketing demand over the next decade. To make that training more efficient and affordable, it is important to tailor training to individual students, according to Nick Scarnato, director of global strategy, training and mission systems at Collins Aerospace.

Growing up in the digital age, raised on handheld computers, immersive video games and the Internet, younger pilots learn differently than the methods employed by many, traditional pilot training programs, he said.