Air Force Pilots:

Developing and Sustaining a Stable, Combat-Ready Force

NSIAD-88-49BR: Published: Dec 8, 1987. Publicly Released: Dec 8, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Air Force's career-rated management process for its senior officers, particularly its pilots.

GAO found that: (1) the Air Force has been unable to maintain either a pilot inventory equal to its requirements or a stable, combat-ready force for its major weapon systems; (2) operational units were unable to give new pilots the opportunity to become experienced at a fast enough rate, since that took about 2.5 years and 500 hours of flying time; and (3) although the Air Force plans to reduce its requirements for new pilots and increase retention levels, it does not offer an alternative career path dedicated solely to flying aircraft. GAO believes that: (1) providing pilots with career options would enhance job satisfaction, increase retention and reduce the number of new pilots to be trained each year; and (2) the Air Force should perform an evaluation of the costs and benefits of an alternative career path for pilots.

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