Air Force Recalls Retired Pilots to Address Shortage

air force recalls pilots

After President Trump signed an executive order which allows the Pentagon to address the acute shortage of combat pilots, the Air Force is expected to recall up to 1000 retired pilots. The executive order was signed by the Donald on Friday and it basically amends the George W. Bush era emergency declaration which was signed following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Under current rules, the Air Force has a 25 pilots limit with regard to recalling, yet the new executive order signed by the POTUS yesterday temporary removes the respective limit for all branches of the United States military.

According to Pentagon’s official figures, the air force is short of approximately 1500 pilots. As per Navy Cmdr. Gary Ross statement:

“We anticipate that the Secretary of Defense will delegate the authority to the Secretary of the Air Force to recall up to 1,000 retired pilots for up to 3 years. The pilot supply shortage is a national level challenge that could have adverse effects on all aspects of both the government and commercial aviation sectors for years to come.”

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson confirmed in August 2017 that the service was 1,555 pilots short, including more than 1200 fighter pilots.

To me, this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The limiting factor is not the number of pilots they are permitted to bring back under the executive order, rather the limiting factor is the number of pilots who WANT to come back.

It defies credibility to think that a pilot will turn down a significant bonus, in almost every case for a fairly lucrative job with an airline, and then decide to give all that up for a non-flying job, without the bonus. “Sure I am willing to come back on active duty, giving up a lucrative civilian job, just so I can ‘fly a desk’ and do the job that I didn’t want to do in the first place.”