USAF Aviators Get so Little Flight Time They Are Only Able to Retain the Most Basic Skills

The Pentagon is now so proficient at shoveling billions to Lockheed there isn't enough money left over to keep the pilots sharp

As Pentagon budgets have ballooned, pilot skill, and with it real US airpower has actually declined, under the watch of generals more concerned with securing for themselves retirement kickbacks from the industry

This text from 2018 explains that US Marine aviators are flying about 15 hours a month, and that is after a recent increase. The US Air Force pilots are flying even much less, just about 10 hours per month:

The Marine Corps’ aviators have increased their monthly flight hours per pilot, and are now flying substantially more than Air Force pilots, military officials said.

Both the Marine Corps and Air Force are facing pilot shortages and aircraft readiness problems that have left a large number of aircraft grounded.

But the Marine Corps says it has made strides over the past year increasing monthly flight hours.

The Marines are averaging between 14 to 16 hours a month per pilot, while the Air Force is averaging just a little above nine to 10 hours per pilot per month, according to testimony Wednesday from Gen. Glenn M. Walters, the Marine Corps assistant commandant, and Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen W. Wilson at a Senate Armed Services hearing on military readiness.

Another article explains what that means:

When I started flying in the Marine Corps two decades ago, pilots assigned to line units regularly got about 30 hours per month. That gradually dropped to 20. With 30 hours, one steadily improves. With 20, one is at least confident in fundamental skills.

With 15 and below, one is just focusing on the bare essentials. Once a pilot goes below about 15 hours, his skills start to atrophy.

Pilot skill is the single most important factor determining the effectiveness of aircraft in combat.

Yet the Pentagon prioritizes the procurement of new expensive hardware to such an extent that there isn’t enough money left over to properly develop the pilots.

It doesn’t help that many newer US planes are so unnecessarily complex and reliant on technologies so infant that keeping them flight-worthy is a constant struggle and flight hours are in the tens of thousands of dollars. ($135,000 for the B-2 bomber, $70,000 for the F-22.)

Thus, not only is the brass set to replace a vast array of specialized aircraft with the complex, multi-role F-35, which is inferior to the planes it is replacing in their specialist roles. It is shoveling such a high portion of the Pentagon funds to the defense contractors, there aren’t enough resources left over to properly train their men on the equipment they buy.

I don’t know to what extent simulator hours can make up for low flight hours. I also don’t know what the situation is in other armed forces. In Russia for example, even though their planes are somewhat cheaper to fly, their financial constraints are that much greater.

However, one thing that is clear is that for all those incredible billions spent through its military budget over the last two or three decades US airpower has not grown but has stood in place or has actually diminished. If it has not yet, it very likely will decrease when F-35s start replacing the superior and more reliable specialist aircraft en masse.

But don’t worry. Lockheed, Raytheon, Boeing and General Dynamics have made a killing along the way. That’s the important thing. At least it is to Congress and the generals.

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1 year ago

[…] on Camera Apparently Planting Marijuana in a Car for the Second Time (alt?) The Intercept1815 GMT USAF Aviators Get so Little Flight Time They Are Only Able to Retain the Most Basic Skills (alt) Anti-Empire1814 GMT Erdogan advises Turks to stay home, boosts economy (news) The Daily Star […]

yakka
yakka
10 months ago

AKA The U.S. AIR FARCE

Zaphod Braden
Zaphod Braden
10 months ago

The Generals & Contractors are all well provided for …. that is all that matters to the M.I.B.C.

David Chu
David Chu
10 months ago

Hey, this is good news! The less capable these Yankee mercenaries are (and that is exactly what they are), the less chance they will be effective against Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, etc.

cechas vodobenikov
cechas vodobenikov
10 months ago

apparently Us pilots r reasonably adept at murdering wedding parties, cardboard tank replicas,, etc…perhaps they cannot afford to pay the Canadians for their natural gas

Jihadi Colin
10 months ago

A few years ago, in exercises, USAF F/A – 18s lost to Indian Air Force pilots flying….1970s manufactured MiG 21s. That would’ve been when Amerikastanis were flying more than they are now.

JustPassingThrough
JustPassingThrough
10 months ago

15 hours a month.
so what do these heros do with all their spare time.?

Begemot
Begemot
10 months ago

Officers club.

JustPassingThrough
JustPassingThrough
9 months ago
Reply to  Begemot

…watching tommy cruise conquer the world.

Canosin
Canosin
9 months ago

LGBTQ training……what else

Melville Pouwels
10 months ago

dont reckon israel will care !… when the yank is down & the writing is on the wall, the jew will have less resistance to forcing washington’s “nuclear hand”. israel isnt starting her underground bunker till xmas time, plus 12 months to finish. we’ve all got one “holiday” left

JustPassingThrough
JustPassingThrough
9 months ago

2 months to go?

Begemot
Begemot
10 months ago

They train for their opposition. So how much flying skill is required to go up against the Taliban or ISIS air forces?

Zaphod Braden
Zaphod Braden
9 months ago
Reply to  Begemot

ISIS has ZERO antiaircraft abilities. the TRAITORS in the Pentagon could have dropped bombs from HOT AIR BALLOONS or BIPLANES ……. We KNOW who the Pentagon is working for and it is NOT America.
That would be a “tragedy” for Israel and Turkey who are plotting to seize Syrian land for “greater” Israel and the “caliphate” of Turkey all the while genocidally flooding White, CHRISTIAN Europe with muslum invaders …………. they had to get that war going again …..
Israel and Turkey Coordinating Attacks? Syrian Army Engaged on Two Fronts as Ankara and Tel Aviv Organise Strikes From North and South: https://militarywatchmagazine.com/article/israel-and-turkey-coordinating-attacks-syria-s-war-on-two-fronts-as-ankara-and-tel-aviv-organise-strikes-from-north-and-south

gnuneo
gnuneo
9 months ago
Reply to  Zaphod Braden

There are probably more devout Christians in the M.E. than in the whole of Europe, so I’m guessing what concerns you is “whiteness”?

Don’t you think that is a really rather shallow way to judge the worth of a person?

As well as being completely unscientific. “White” is culturally defined. A European Spaniard is “white” – but an American Hispanic is not. How does that work out?

Robert Bruce
Robert Bruce
9 months ago
Reply to  Zaphod Braden

gnuneo makes a good point. The Christians in the ME are indeed more than likely more devout, as they are treated as second class citizens. Many young Arab Christian girls are kidnapped, raped, and forced to convert to Islam. A lot of them move to the US, but the ones that stay home must take a lot of abuse.

Séamus Ó Néill
Séamus Ó Néill
10 months ago

Well obviously they have , in their meagre hours training , been taught to carpet bomb ancient civilisations back to the stone age , to butcher or genocide the maximum number of civilians , to participate in the maximum number of war crimes possible……good old America…we utterly detest and despise you !

Anti-Empire