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Pilot Training Cuts

Posted by Jolly on December 26, 2013


Back in the 80’s, we used to laugh at the North Korean Air Force providing their fighter pilots with only 50 hours of flying time per year.  We knew if the balloon went up in Korea, it was going to be a turkey shoot against inferior MiG-21’s, MiG-19’s, and Mig-29’s flown by non-proficient pilots in the north.  As it should be, what fighter pilot in his right mind ever wanted a fair fight!  That’s how you win wars last time I checked.  More importantly, that's how you keep the peace.

Back in the day, PACAF would routinely launch every fighter in the Pacific along with our brothers from the US Navy/Marine Corps and point them at the DMZ during Team Spirit (a yearly large force exercise in South Korea).  We would form up a large gaggle of fighters over Cheju Do Island, push north in a 200 mile long train and then execute a 90 right about 15-20 miles south of the DMZ.  It was a virtual middle finger to Kim IL-sung and his son Kim Jung-Il.  A little of that might be appropriate as a gesture of good will toward the clown in charge of North Korea today, Kim Jung-un.

Due to budget cuts, The Air Force is talking about cutting annual flying time for our pilots down to 120 hours per year (read WSJ article below).  That combined with the fact that many of our future warriors would rather be drone drivers over fighter pilots, and it’s not a pretty picture.  Why become a fighter pilot and not fly?  The future “Unmanned” aerial delivery force is where we seem to be heading.  It all makes sense if you think about it, marginalize all the heterosexual white male fighter pilots (aka; “The White Male Club” – you can’t make this stuff up) who are a threat to the future unmanned gender neutral PC Air Force.  Genius!

It makes it much easier for our Political Managers in Washington to go to War at the drop of a hat without risking any American blood.  When you send an unmanned aerial vehicle into hostile airspace and kill a few “bad guys” it reduces any political liability you may have if one occasionally crashes or is shot down.  Then there’s the added benefit of being able to commit hostile acts all over the planet in name of our “War on Terror” without any approval from Congress.  Brilliant!  Besides, that old document historians refer to at the US Constitution is outdated and irrelevant.

The only downside is the occasional mishap due to a lack of proficiency from our outdated manned aircraft force.  Most of these mishaps will likely happen in the pigs.pnglanding phase.  Over 70% of all aircraft accidents are in the landing phase.  Unfortunately there will be more and more of the very sad picture you see below.  Now for me, I’m trying to be an optimist.  If you were unfortunate enough to be the pilot of the Viper below, there is a silver lining.  When you show up at the bar that night and are rolling the pigs, just produce this photo as evidence of your no shit “leaning jowler” worth 15 points!



FU apologizes for all the sarcasm, now we need to re-cage our brains so we can return to reality.  Maybe this video from the good old days will help.  What Red Blooded American wouldn't want to go off and become a fighter pilot serving this wonderful county of ours after watching this?  Recommend you watch it before and after the reading the WSJ article.  It should help get your blood pressure back down.

Warning Sounded on Cuts to Pilot Training


Air Force Responds to Cost Concerns by Reducing Flight Hours to 120 Hours or Less, Fewer Than Those of Allies—and China

By Julian E. Barnes

Dec. 19, 2013

A decision by Air Force officials to reduce flying time in order to cut costs has meant many U.S. pilots now receive fewer training hours than counterparts among some European allies, India and even China, according to U.S. military officials.

The training cutbacks, ordered as part of a government budget squeeze, are giving rise to concerns about the preparedness of fighter squadrons in some areas, notably South Korea, where tensions with North Korea remain high.

U.S. pilots in South Korea flew only 120 training hours this year, Air Force officials said, and pilots in the U.S. flew on average even fewer hours-far less than a generation ago, when officers logged up to 300 hours yearly.

According to U.S. intelligence assessments, Chinese pilots receive as many as 150 hours of training a year, officials said.


An Air Force F-16 fighter jet set to land during an exercise at the Osan U.S. Air Base in South Korea in April. 

U.S. officials noted China is investing heavily in pilot training and developing a new stealth fighter. "They are making a concerted effort to increase the quantity and quality of their training while we are doing the opposite," said one official. A Chinese embassy representative in Washington didn't respond to a request for comment.

In addition to training cutbacks, the Air Force last year temporarily closed its elite training center in Nevada, the Weapons School, and canceled its top training exercise, known as Red Flag, meant to improve pilots' combat-survivability skills.

The Air Force had planned to spend $4.7 billion this fiscal year on training, but budget cutbacks trimmed that by $434 million.

Some liberals and deficit hawks in Congress argue that Pentagon spending should be curbed even more. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) noted Thursday that the U.S. spends as much on defense as the rest of the world combined.

Military officials counter that spending cuts in the past two years have led to a decline in "readiness"-a euphemism for the likelihood service members can survive a fight and overpower U.S. enemies.

Independent defense analysts said the budget dynamics of recent years have forced many short-term Pentagon fixes-such as grounding planes and cutting flying time-instead of long-term or permanent changes such as reducing the force, closing bases or retiring older planes.

"The strength of the Department of Defense is to think beyond today," said David Berteau, a defense analyst at the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and International Studies. But he said the budget dynamic has inhibited the ability to do that. "The question is do you maintain more airplanes and airmen or do you have a smaller force but a more ready one?" he said. "That is the core trade off; it is capability vs. capacity."

The budget bill cleared Wednesday by the Senate will allow the Air Force to restore some flying hours. But many of the cuts will continue. "Readiness and training problems will persist because the top line is coming down," said Raymond Conley, a defense analyst at Rand Corp., a think tank that does research for the government.

Many lawmakers oppose solutions such as closing bases or retiring older airplanes. "Once you retire a whole air platform, it's not like you can press a button and bring them out of mothballs," said Rep. Rob Wittman (R., Va.), chairman of the readiness subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee. "The whole idea of this nation's strategy needs to be driven by where the threats exist, not budgets."

Air Force officials warn that the reductions could have national security implications. "Our training system is still the best in the world," said Air Force Lt. Gen. Burton M. Field, the service's deputy chief of staff for operations. But funding cuts are putting that at risk, he said. "Are we there yet? I don't think so. But I do know we are at a place where we have a lot of squadrons that aren't ready to go to the Korea fight."

The Air Force's budget squeeze is compounded by the bills it faces to modernize its force. To offset purchases and restore training, officials are considering the elimination its KC-10 refueling tankers, A-10 ground attack planes, and MQ-1 Predator drones. But those cuts are unpopular with some lawmakers, who appear likely to block them, officials said.

The training cutbacks have fallen heaviest on younger, more inexperienced pilots. Experienced pilots resumed flying first because they have responsibility for training junior officers. As a result, it takes longer for young pilots to move from wingman to flight lead to instructor pilot, according to the Air Force.

"You know the game chutes and ladders? What we are finding right now is the chutes are longer than the ladders," said Lt. Col Brian Stahl, a F-16 pilot. "We need to get the younger pilots back flying more, and that is what we are having difficulty doing right now."

Air Force officials worry that basic skills have grown rusty. "When pilots don't fly, they make mistakes," Gen. Field said. "In a high-threat environment is when mistakes become deadly."

SOURCE: Warning Sounded on Cuts to Pilot Training -


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Posted by PUCH on
Posted by butch71 on
Cutting back is wrong. Sorry I'am not running the show or we would not be cutting back. We would be building better armed forces. We actually have four enemies to face. They are: China, North Korea, Iran, and terrorism.
Posted by Hangman on
Sounds to me like we are getting ready for the "NWO". Got to reduce so we don't intimidate anybody. Sounds like a wimpy way to run a government that is looked up to around the world and instill respect in your enemies, and make them think twice or even thrice before taking you on. All they have to do is ask and I can tell'em how to go about it. But, what do I know? I'm only the Crew Chief!!!!!
Posted by DuckPerry on
Only 120 hours a year!! OH NO...what will the Airlines say when AF pilots apply with only 1000 hours? Waiver?
Posted by neilcosentino on

The CINCS need to require every air base AAF, USN, USMC, USMC... USAF to have an aeroclub!

Expected results:

More pilots
More flying
More new club GA ADS-B equipped aircraft,
More CFIIs
Posted by jsragman on
Duck Perry: already taken care of. Military pilots need 750 hrs to qualify for an ATP.
Posted by Ltfuzz on
I graduated in class 62F-Z, experimental test class for the Talon held at Randolph. Thanks for posting the training video. I am sick at what has become of my service. This administration is trying to kill off the Nation. The PC crowd invaded the services long ago. Our leaders are not what they used to be after Korea and Viet-Nam. Had to kiss it, I suppose, to get any good OERs.
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