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U.S. Air Force Having Serious Trouble Keeping F-22 Raptor Pilots
Defense Review ^ | October 28, 2008 | David Crane

Posted on 02/01/2010 10:57:41 PM PST by myknowledge

According to a recent Air Force Times article, the F-22 Raptor has the lowest pilot-retention rate of any U.S. fighter or attack aircraft measured, at a rather abysmal 33%. Compare this to 81% for F-15E Strike Eagle pilots and 68% for F-15 Eagle pilots respectively, and, gentlemen, we’ve got a problem. Think about that for a second. If those numbers are correct (and we’re not sure about them, yet), the F-15E, a much older and less-technologically-advanced aircraft, enjoys almost 2.5 times the pilot retention rate of the vaunted F-22.

The article didn’t give an explanation, just the brutal facts. However, there are a few posibilities that immediately come to mind. 1) Dealing with USAF bureaucracy surrounding the incredibly expensive and PR-controlled F-22 program is an incredible pain in the ass. 2) Flying the 5th-generation F-22 Raptor is too easy, due to its…

highly advanced avionics and flight controls that don’t require as much pilot activity as is required by 4th generation fighter aircraft. 3) Due to said highly-advanced avionics and flight controls, the F-22 doesn’t provide as much tactile feedback as the 4th generation fighters. 4) F-22 pilots aren’t getting enough flight time in the aircraft. 5) F-22 pilot morale is just low for some reason.

Understand that the above paragraph is pure guesswork. DefenseReview has absolutely no idea what’s causing it and we have no concrete data whatsoever that would explain it. So, we’ll try to look into the situation and report back on it.

By the way, the F-16 Falcon’s pilot retention rate isn’t much better at 51%. And, the A-10 Thunderbolt II "Warthog’s" pilot retention rate is 49%. The overall fighter pilot retention percentage is a reported 57%.

This is happening despite the $125,000 bonus offered for a 5-year re-up.

Bottom line, if the reported numbers are accurate, the U.S. Air Force (USAF) has a much bigger overall problem on its hands than just retaining F-22 pilots. Rather, it has a serious general fighter/attack pilot retention problem, and it had better do something about it. Retaining experienced fighter pilots is important not only for warfighting, but also for training newer, less-experienced pilots.

If I were the Air Force, I’d do whatever I could to get the bottom of the problem as quickly as possible, and I’d do whatever necessary to solve it, and right quick. And, the USAF might just have to dig a little deeper into its wallet.


TOPICS: Military/Veterans
KEYWORDS: acemaker; airmen; aviation; f22; f22raptor; pilots; raptorpilots; usaf

F-22 Raptor pilots are leaving because the plane is way too easy to fly. Too easy to fly?

Is it because the Acemaker is too easy to fly?

Or they don't wanna become instant flying aces?

Raptor pilots should be given at least 180 AFH (annual flying hours) to help them get accustomed, but the 5th Gen jet fighter is a maintenance quagmire.

Retaining experienced fighter pilots is important not only for warfighting, but also for training newer, less-experienced pilots.

True.

1 posted on 02/01/2010 10:57:42 PM PST by myknowledge
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To: myknowledge

This article is from 2008


2 posted on 02/01/2010 10:59:04 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Werner Von Braun)
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To: sonofstrangelove

I know. That’s why I had posted it on the General/Chat section.


3 posted on 02/01/2010 11:02:18 PM PST by myknowledge (F-22 Raptor: World's Largest Distributor of Sukhoi parts!)
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To: sonofstrangelove; myknowledge

Everything about this article feels wrong.

Fighter pilots are as macho as it gets. Now, put them in the baddest big boy on the block. I don’t see any of them stepping away from being The Man.

I suspect there are a lot of data not included in this analysis.


4 posted on 02/01/2010 11:04:49 PM PST by freedumb2003 (Communism comes to America: 1/20/2009. Keep your powder dry, folks. Sic semper tyrannis)
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To: myknowledge

Just how many hours a month do fighter pilots get to fly?


5 posted on 02/01/2010 11:10:40 PM PST by SeeSharp
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To: freedumb2003

Data like your “boss” is a stooge for the Saudis and may not be eligible?

Just like Rome. The troops were away while their country was being destroyed internally and with open-borders just like you know where.


6 posted on 02/01/2010 11:17:40 PM PST by Frantzie (TV - sending Americans towards Islamic serfdom - Cancel TV service NOW)
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To: myknowledge
The article doesn't say if they just asked them why they want to go. Saves alot of guess work.
7 posted on 02/01/2010 11:21:31 PM PST by chuckles
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To: myknowledge

Perhaps this is because Mr. FUBO gave a big, fat F-U to this bird by cancelling it. Obama.. the Pride killer.


8 posted on 02/01/2010 11:48:37 PM PST by historyrepeatz
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To: chuckles

>>The article doesn’t say if they just asked them why they want to go. Saves alot of guess work.

Dont ask, dont tell? I dont buy that “too easy to fly” nonsense. If my life is on the line flying a $36 million plane, I would prefer that the jet be easy to pilot.


9 posted on 02/01/2010 11:49:30 PM PST by max americana
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To: freedumb2003
Fighter pilots are as macho as it gets. Now, put them in the baddest big boy on the block. I don’t see any of them stepping away from being The Man.

Does that go for the girls too?

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

10 posted on 02/02/2010 12:01:50 AM PST by ansel12 (anti SoCon. Earl Warren's court 1953-1969, libertarian hero, anti social conservative loser.)
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To: ansel12

But ya never know what’s under her canopy.


11 posted on 02/02/2010 12:12:08 AM PST by historyrepeatz
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To: freedumb2003

Look at it this way. There are a very limited number of F-22s, and a limited number of squadrons under a microscope. All you need is a couple douchebag CO’s and a wing commander or two and you’ve got a retention problem.


12 posted on 02/02/2010 12:16:50 AM PST by USNBandit (sarcasm engaged at all times)
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To: historyrepeatz

Women pilots are not admired, they are tolerated. Sorry if that fact hurts people’s feelings, but it’s true.


13 posted on 02/02/2010 12:19:31 AM PST by 999replies (Thune/Rubio 2012)
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To: myknowledge

deployment tempo?


14 posted on 02/02/2010 12:38:30 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who support our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: myknowledge

Does the problem rates predate Obama into the Bush years, or is this an Obama specific problem?


15 posted on 02/02/2010 1:21:41 AM PST by Freedom_Is_Not_Free (Depression Countdown: 48... 47... 46...)
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To: myknowledge

I wonder what the overall retention rate is for AF pilots? Knowing that might indicate it’s a broader issue. Fighter pilots don’t leave their cockpits to go to heavies or a desk (unless it’s time to punch the staff tour ticket for promotion) so this tells me most of them are leaving the Air Force after their hitch is up.

If it is one of the problems cited in the article I would suspect flying time is the issue. That was the major concern among pilots when I was in.


16 posted on 02/02/2010 1:46:05 AM PST by saganite (What happens to taglines? Is there a termination date?)
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To: Freedom_Is_Not_Free

It’s not Obama specific, it’s USAF specific.


17 posted on 02/02/2010 1:48:37 AM PST by myknowledge (F-22 Raptor: World's Largest Distributor of Sukhoi parts!)
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To: myknowledge

There are few hiring pilots outside the Air Force, so thats not the reason. Could it be F22 pilots know politics killed their aircraft and that may have had some impact on their morale? Maybe some of them are Christians and are upset with the Air Force for promoting witchcraft to the level of Christianity and Judiasm? Maybe they are upset with Gates and his henchmen’s plans to allow homosexuals into the military? Maybe they are unhappy about seeing targets in Afghanistan and having to go almost to the White House to get approval to shoot those targets? Maybe they are sick and tired of Emperor Obama and his hatred of the military? Maybe they are tired of seeing Nancy Pelosi use the Air Force as her limo serice? Maybe, maybe, maybe?


18 posted on 02/02/2010 3:16:32 AM PST by Bulldawg Fan (Victory is the last thing Murtha and his fellow Defeatists want.)
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To: myknowledge
I'd suspect the main cause of retention problems is the perception that the F-22 is a lame duck since production was shut down. Hell, 0 wouldn't even do a photo op with the plane.

It's a real shame, since in fact the F-22 is the top fighter in the world. Production should NOT have been stopped. The exports would have brought a pretty penny down the line.

19 posted on 02/02/2010 3:29:09 AM PST by PreciousLiberty (In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they're not.)
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To: myknowledge
This is happening despite the $125,000 bonus offered for a 5-year re-up.

They tax the $%^ out of that bonus. Trust me.

When that pay finally shows up, pilots wonder what the hell happened to it.

20 posted on 02/02/2010 3:42:41 AM PST by SkyPilot
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To: myknowledge

These sound like plausible reasons -
“Flying the 5th-generation F-22 Raptor is too easy ...
F-22 pilots aren’t getting enough flight time in the aircraft.”
I wonder if anyone has bothered to ask the pilots. If the few fighter pilots I’ve known are typical, they don’t take well to boredom and they love to fly.


21 posted on 02/02/2010 3:45:23 AM PST by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
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To: ansel12

>>Does that go for the girls too?<<

I never know how to spell “femalichsmo” — but if course the ladies as well :)


22 posted on 02/02/2010 4:23:34 AM PST by freedumb2003 (Communism comes to America: 1/20/2009. Keep your powder dry, folks. Sic semper tyrannis)
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To: myknowledge
Glad I got to see an F-22 close up at an airshow last summer.
F-22 vertical climb
23 posted on 02/02/2010 4:31:01 AM PST by The Great RJ ("The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money." M. Thatcher)
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To: max americana
Dont ask, dont tell? I dont buy that “too easy to fly” nonsense. If my life is on the line flying a $36 million plane, I would prefer that the jet be easy to pilot.

At $36 M, I'll buy'em all as today's price is $143 M.

24 posted on 02/02/2010 6:52:43 AM PST by USS Alaska (Nuke the terrorist savages - In Honor of Standing Wolf)
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To: myknowledge

Thanks. I was just curious if it was C-in-C related or not. It is not. Thanks for answering.


25 posted on 02/02/2010 9:08:38 AM PST by Freedom_Is_Not_Free (Depression Countdown: 48... 47... 46...)
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