January 20, 2019

The Future of Pilot Training

By Brian W. Everstine

Low-cost simulators, new trainers, and Red Flag reforms aim to help USAF gear up for future great power conflicts.

The Air Force’s pilot training command must simultaneously answer two urgent, yet contradictory requirements: 
Train more pilots, but to a higher standard. Even better, invest less to train each pilot—and do it in less time.

USAF is short about 2,000 pilots today across all components and commands from its total requirement of about 20,000. But because the Air Force has been losing pilots at an accelerating pace in recent years this is not a problem that can be solved quickly. Best case, officials say, the service will reach 95 percent pilot manning by the end of Fiscal 2023.