Skip to comments.U.S. Air Force Having Serious Trouble Keeping F-22 Raptor Pilots
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.
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.
This article is from 2008
I know. That’s why I had posted it on the General/Chat section.
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.
Just how many hours a month do fighter pilots get to fly?
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.
Perhaps this is because Mr. FUBO gave a big, fat F-U to this bird by cancelling it. Obama.. the Pride killer.
>>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.
Does that go for the girls too?
But ya never know what’s under her canopy.
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.
Women pilots are not admired, they are tolerated. Sorry if that fact hurts people’s feelings, but it’s true.
Does the problem rates predate Obama into the Bush years, or is this an Obama specific problem?
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.
It’s not Obama specific, it’s USAF specific.
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?
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.
They tax the $%^ out of that bonus. Trust me.
When that pay finally shows up, pilots wonder what the hell happened to it.
These sound like plausible reasons -
“Flying the 5th-generation F-22 Raptor is too easy ...
F-22 pilots arent getting enough flight time in the aircraft.”
I wonder if anyone has bothered to ask the pilots. If the few fighter pilots Ive known are typical, they dont take well to boredom and they love to fly.
>>Does that go for the girls too?<<
I never know how to spell “femalichsmo” — but if course the ladies as well :)
At $36 M, I'll buy'em all as today's price is $143 M.
Thanks. I was just curious if it was C-in-C related or not. It is not. Thanks for answering.
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