Author Topic: RCAF aircrew shortage  (Read 16942 times)

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Offline daftandbarmy

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RCAF aircrew shortage
« on: September 01, 2018, 11:35:36 »
CAF to replace the RAF in patrolling the black sea. Will be interesting to see how our CF-18's compare to Su 30's. Might even cause the government to be more serious in looking for a new fighter jet.
https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_157836.htm

Wow. Mali, now this.

I can hear the RCAF starting to burn out from here....
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Eagle Eye View

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Re: Re: RCAF staffing (from OP Reassurance thread)
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2018, 15:59:48 »
The RCAF has been burning out since Op Mobile 2011 and with Op Impact (plus all the remaining commitments). All aircrew trades are at critical manning and we can’t seem to produce enough newly Wing qualify folks to replace the attrition. It’s really bad.
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Offline Ashkan08

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Re: Re: RCAF staffing (from OP Reassurance thread)
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2018, 16:18:14 »
The RCAF has been burning out since Op Mobile 2011 and with Op Impact (plus all the remaining commitments). All aircrew trades are at critical manning and we can’t seem to produce enough newly Wing qualify folks to replace the attrition. It’s really bad.

So we don't have enough pilots and other aircrew trades? I thought we had too many people applying for these positions ( mainly the pilot positions). How are we expecting to man the Australian hornets and the permanent jet replacement if we can't man our current CF-18's and other aircraft.

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Re: Re: RCAF staffing (from OP Reassurance thread)
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2018, 16:37:27 »
Its a training system issue. It takes time to produce highly technical trades like aircrew. We have a similar problem in the CA and I bet the RCN sees it too. Your best instructors are needed in line units, reducing the instructors available to increase production at the entry levels, impacting people available as instructors 5-8 years from now. Its a vicious circle from all the cuts in the 1990s.

Offline dapaterson

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Re: Re: RCAF staffing (from OP Reassurance thread)
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2018, 16:44:50 »
If, after twenty years, the CAF hasn't figured out how to conduct effective individual training, it's a cop out to blame cuts made a generation ago.
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Offline YZT580

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Re: Re: RCAF staffing (from OP Reassurance thread)
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2018, 22:55:49 »
If, after twenty years, the CAF hasn't figured out how to conduct effective individual training, it's a cop out to blame cuts made a generation ago.
  Flat out not true.  In the seventies the liberal government imposed a total hiring freeze.  The results, for civilian ATC was a cronic staff shortage that resulted in hiring first fired Americans and then fired AC pilots through the late 80's and 90's. It took almost 20 years to just get back to the staffing levels of the 70's never mind meeting the needs for expansion.  Training programmes can only accept a finite number of bodies.  Only a limited number of individuals make for good instructors.  Dumping too many bodies on an instructor only results in burn out without achieving any significant staffing improvements.  Choosing just anybody to be an instructor instead of going with your best only results in more failures: a waste of extremely valuable time which cannot be regained.  Just as the new ship replacement strategy is planned for a decades long period of time and cannot be effectively shortened so too a pilot training programme is planned to produce X qualified competent crew per year.  If you want to increase that number you have to go back and start with identifying new instructor positions.  Those man-years have to be approved and balanced against the other requirements of the system.  Once approved, a selection board has to identify suitable candidates and then those candidates have to be replaced in their present position and trained: requiring other training assets to be freed up to conduct the necessary instruction.  It is a years long process and every step has to be justified to a civil bureaucracy; in itself no easy task.  So it isn't fair to fault DND for the lack of pilots.  They are meeting the system designated quotas.  Blame instead the system that doesn't provide for planned growth.

Offline dapaterson

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Re: Re: RCAF staffing (from OP Reassurance thread)
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2018, 23:12:26 »
The RCAF has known about problems for a generation and has not addressed them.  They have avoided solution spaces such as treating pilots as specialists and employing them primarily on flightline duty and removing them from generic staff positions.  They have refused to rethink pilot training which would stream helo vs fixed wing much earlier and relieve some pressure points in the system, and deliver pilots to OFP earlier.  They have built contracts that incentivize training foreign pilots over Canadian pilots.

If a problem arose twenty years ago and you've been unable to solve it, the problem isn't what happened twenty years ago - the problem is you.
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Offline Eagle Eye View

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Re: Re: RCAF staffing (from OP Reassurance thread)
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2018, 23:55:09 »
As YZT mentioned, it’s a very complicated problem and an expensive one too. I can speak for AES Op, it costs $990 000 (2 CAD numbers) to train an operator from day 1 to a level A category on the CP140. The lack of instructors available is problematic, since you’re robing Operational Sqns to fill the school. The lack of real estate, combined with a lack of airplane doesn’t help the training system to pump out numbers.
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Offline CBH99

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Re: Re: RCAF staffing (from OP Reassurance thread)
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2018, 06:47:42 »
I'm throwing a question out there in regards to the topic being discussed -- then perhaps we should get this thread back on topic in regards to protecting Latvia from the imaginary Russian invasion...feeling like there are a few Air Force threads this particular topic belongs in more-so than here?


My question is -- and please only answer if your someone with some legitimate knowledge on the matter:

What are 3 things the RCAF could do and/or should do, that would ease the strain on pilot & aircrew availability?


^^ Very open ended question, and would love to see what suggestions come forth from people with experience & in the know.  More simulators?  More pilots in the front line squadrons rather than filling staff positions?  A dedicated training squadron with organic instructors, so we aren't robbing squadrons of qualified people to teach?  A few more airframes?  Changes to the training system to make it more streamlined (referring to a comment about funneling people earlier in their careers?)

Genuinely wanting to hear what could be/should be done differently for us to improve this issue?

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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Re: RCAF staffing (from OP Reassurance thread)
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2018, 11:31:09 »
I'm throwing a question out there in regards to the topic being discussed -- then perhaps we should get this thread back on topic in regards to protecting Latvia from the imaginary Russian invasion...feeling like there are a few Air Force threads this particular topic belongs in more-so than here?


My question is -- and please only answer if your someone with some legitimate knowledge on the matter:

What are 3 things the RCAF could do and/or should do, that would ease the strain on pilot & aircrew availability?


^^ Very open ended question, and would love to see what suggestions come forth from people with experience & in the know.  More simulators?  More pilots in the front line squadrons rather than filling staff positions?  A dedicated training squadron with organic instructors, so we aren't robbing squadrons of qualified people to teach?  A few more airframes?  Changes to the training system to make it more streamlined (referring to a comment about funneling people earlier in their careers?)

Genuinely wanting to hear what could be/should be done differently for us to improve this issue?

This just in... we're not the only ones with an aircrew issue:

Managed shortfall

The pilotless cockpit is estimated by some to be a decade away, though militaries, despite embracing unmanned drones, will take decades more to be totally comfortable with the idea of no pilots in their fighter, transport, maritime patrol and tactical aviation fleets.

In the meantime, they will have to continue applying innovative and focused personnel strategies to attract and retain the aircrews and technicians needed to keep those aircraft flying. And if some do seek opportunities in the commercial sector? Canadian aviation will be the beneficiary of well trained, high quality people.

https://www.skiesmag.com/features/managed-shortfall/

"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Simian Turner

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Re: Re: RCAF staffing (from OP Reassurance thread)
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2018, 22:50:21 »
I'm throwing a question out there in regards to the topic being discussed -- then perhaps we should get this thread back on topic in regards to protecting Latvia from the imaginary Russian invasion...feeling like there are a few Air Force threads this particular topic belongs in more-so than here?


My question is -- and please only answer if your someone with some legitimate knowledge on the matter:

What are 3 things the RCAF could do and/or should do, that would ease the strain on pilot & aircrew availability?


^^ Very open ended question, and would love to see what suggestions come forth from people with experience & in the know.  More simulators?  More pilots in the front line squadrons rather than filling staff positions?  A dedicated training squadron with organic instructors, so we aren't robbing squadrons of qualified people to teach?  A few more airframes?  Changes to the training system to make it more streamlined (referring to a comment about funneling people earlier in their careers?)

Genuinely wanting to hear what could be/should be done differently for us to improve this issue?

How about 3 words rather than 3 things:  Anticipate, Adapt, Act - sound familiar - the latest commitments involved little anticipation and no time for adaptation and the government skipped right to act.  The questions you are asking have little to do with reality when the first two steps are omitted. The Defence plan has People First.  Strong, secure and engaged - really.  We are not strong or secure but we are engaged on too many fronts to sustain.  The Defence plan promised:

• 88 new advanced fighter aircraft
• Next generation multi-mission aircraft (CP-140 replacement)
• Next generation air-to-air tanker transport
• Replace utility transport aircraft
• Range of remotely piloted systems
• Space capabilities (global satellite communications, surveillance of space, ISR)

http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2017/mdn-dnd/D2-386-2017-2-eng.pdf
« Last Edit: September 03, 2018, 22:57:53 by Simian Turner »
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Offline MilEME09

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Re: Re: RCAF staffing (from OP Reassurance thread)
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2018, 12:13:34 »
How about 3 words rather than 3 things:  Anticipate, Adapt, Act - sound familiar - the latest commitments involved little anticipation and no time for adaptation and the government skipped right to act.  The questions you are asking have little to do with reality when the first two steps are omitted. The Defence plan has People First.  Strong, secure and engaged - really.  We are not strong or secure but we are engaged on too many fronts to sustain.  The Defence plan promised:

• 88 new advanced fighter aircraft
• Next generation multi-mission aircraft (CP-140 replacement)
• Next generation air-to-air tanker transport
• Replace utility transport aircraft
• Range of remotely piloted systems
• Space capabilities (global satellite communications, surveillance of space, ISR)

http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2017/mdn-dnd/D2-386-2017-2-eng.pdf

All programs to start after the next election, pending budget, public opinion, the whims of bureaucrats, and what ever the magic eight ball says.
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Offline dapaterson

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Re: Re: RCAF staffing (from OP Reassurance thread)
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2018, 13:08:48 »

What are 3 things the RCAF could do and/or should do, that would ease the strain on pilot & aircrew availability?



1. Treat pilots as specialists, and only rarely post them out of hard flying positions.  Given the significant cost to train pilots to wing standard, having them fly desks is a waste of an expensive, rare resource.

2. Revisit MND recommendation 10A - Degreed Officer Corps, Reg F.    Not all officers require degrees.  Raising the requirement to Maj and above, for example, would reduce the requirement for ROTP intake and thus reduce the timeline to OFP for officers.

3. Implement the recommendations from the CAF Establishment Study.  The problem space of TEE/TES is understood; there's a lack of willingness to admit that we have overbuilt Trained Effective Establishment without considering the institutional pieces needed to enable it (BTL, SUTL, SPHL, NES...).
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Re: RCAF staffing (from OP Reassurance thread)
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2018, 13:38:04 »

2. Revisit MND recommendation 10A - Degreed Officer Corps, Reg F.    Not all officers require degrees.  Raising the requirement to Maj and above, for example, would reduce the requirement for ROTP intake and thus reduce the timeline to OFP for officers.


Good heavens, are you suggesting that we re-introduce 'Sergeant Pilots'!? How dare you, Sir  :sarcasm:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergeant_pilot

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Offline Dimsum

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Re: Re: RCAF staffing (from OP Reassurance thread)
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2018, 20:54:59 »
1. Treat pilots as specialists, and only rarely post them out of hard flying positions.  Given the significant cost to train pilots to wing standard, having them fly desks is a waste of an expensive, rare resource.

I'm not sure how it's going, but there was a push to start an Operations Officer trade (probably following the RAAF) that would help alleviate a bit of a the shortfall from posting Pilots, ACSOs and such to Ops positions.
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Offline Eagle Eye View

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RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2018, 09:33:30 »
Link to article,

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/air-force-pilots-shot-1.4827862

The Royal Canadian Air Force is contending with a shortage of around 275 pilots and needs more mechanics, sensor operators and other trained personnel as well in the face of increasing demands to conduct and support domestic and international missions.
The Air Force says it is working to address the deficiencies and that they have not negatively impacted operations.
Still, officials acknowledge the situation has added pressure on Canada's flying corps and will represent a real challenge for the foreseeable future.
"Right now we're doing everything we can to make sure we recruit, train and retain enough personnel to do our current mission," said Brig.-Gen. Eric Kenny, director general of air readiness.
"In the next 20 years, it's going to be a challenge to grow the force at the rate that we would like."

The shortfall in pilots and mechanics was referenced in an internal report recently published by the Department of National Defence, which also flagged underspending on maintenance for bases and other infrastructure, as well as reductions in annual flying times thanks to Conservative-era budget cuts.
Some of those issues have since started to be addressed by the Liberals through their new defence policy, but the personnel shortage remains an area of critical concern given the need for pilots and others to fly and maintain the military's various aircraft fleets at home and abroad.
Those include the planes and helicopters involved in Canada's military missions in Iraq, Latvia, Mali, and Ukraine; domestic search-and-rescue aircraft; and the CF-18 fighter jets deployed in Romania and guarding against a foreign attack on North America.

The Air Force is authorized to have 1,580 pilots, but Kenny said in an interview that the Air Force is short by around 17 per cent, or about 275 pilots. It is facing similar deficiencies when it comes to navigators and sensor operators who work onboard different types of aircraft as well as mechanics, he added.
'It's definitely a challenge'
Kenny also acknowledged the threat of burnout as service members are forced to pick up the slack left by unfilled positions, and the added challenge in the coming years as the Air Force receives new drones, fighter jets and other aircraft — which will require even more people to fly and maintain.
Efforts have been made to address the shortfalls, including more focus on retaining service members with tax breaks, additional support and services for family members to ease military life, and plans to free up experienced personnel by assigning administrative staff to do day-to-day tasks.
Several initiatives have also been introduced to speed up recruitment and training and attract older pilots back into the Forces, which has borne some fruit, while the military looks at changing the length of time pilots and others are required to serve before they can leave.
But the current training system means the Air Force can only produce 115 new pilots each year, which commanders have said is insufficient to meet its needs given the number that have been leaving for commercial opportunities in recent years.

The Department of National Defence is drawing up plans for a new system that officials hope will be in place by 2021 and include the ability to expand or shrink the number of trainees in any year given the Air Force's needs.
Kenny said the shortfalls will remain a challenge since the current system will remain in place for several more years — and because it takes four and eight years to train a pilot from scratch.
"We know what capabilities we're receiving and now we can start working to make sure that we have personnel that are trained to be able to meet those requirements," he said. "But I'm not going to lie: It's definitely a challenge."

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Offline DetectiveMcNulty

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2018, 13:54:20 »
Time to open up a trial run for NCM Pilots? I guess it's the training system that's the problem though...



« Last Edit: September 18, 2018, 13:59:41 by Spectrum »

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2018, 14:19:57 »
Or, retention bonuses?  The USAF is implementing ones for aircrew and maintainers.
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Offline Eagle Eye View

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2018, 14:23:56 »
Imo cutting the excess of secondary duties and the ever increasing amount of dog and pony show tasking would be a good start.
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Offline DetectiveMcNulty

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2018, 14:27:14 »
An even better idea, EITS.

I know two dudes ("geek" type + SOF guy) in the US military that both re-upped for nice bonuses.

So...is anyone listening?

Offline CBH99

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #20 on: September 18, 2018, 14:50:33 »
Imo cutting the excess of secondary duties and the ever increasing amount of dog and pony show tasking would be a good start.


Dog & pony show taskings?   Genuinely curious what your referring to? 

**No biased intended...I have 0 experience in this area at all, just the general idea of what various types of planes do.  Are you meaning like airshows & such?
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Offline Eagle Eye View

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #21 on: September 18, 2018, 15:06:29 »
I was referring to the outside work weekend tasking, show the uniform sort of thing. I can only speak from my experience, but I've noticed a significant increase in those sort of tasking and secondary duties. For example just to name one; originally what had started as a simple RCAF run to counter-act the Army run, now has grown into a significant event that not only draws all the resources available on the Wing, but requires up to a year a continuous committee meetings to prep it.

Adding to this, the shortage of qualified aircrews is stretched so far that we seeing more members wearing multiple hats at the same time, without being properly trained nor compensated for it.

Again this is one example, but something is clearly wrong when we have aircrews on their BB dealing with non-mission related issues while flying.

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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #22 on: September 18, 2018, 15:19:50 »
The butter on the bread is thin in some units for sure.  At this time, I have 2 positions I'm filling (both are separate, full time jobs), plus 1 Wing and 2 Sqn secondary duties.  They all compete against each other daily.  Going away is a "break", all I have to worry about then is flying the YFR allotted and picking restaurants.

I find that 'non-operational' things sometimes trump "operational" things;  tail wagging the dog.  Huge frustration the past few years...add that to it a next-to-impossible to complete *to do* list each day, and people will start to burn out.  Throw in op tempo and time away from your postal code...
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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2018, 17:56:52 »
Certain Mess Exec positions having to be aircrew are great in theory, but then you end up with people who aren't three over half the time. 
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

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Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #24 on: September 18, 2018, 19:11:59 »
Tweet from Matthew Fisher:
https://twitter.com/mfisheroverseas/status/1042177394432454658

Quote
Matthew Fisher
‏ @mfisheroverseas

"Canadian air force short 275 pilots."
Accurate story. Why extreme attrition?Big reason is F-35 procurement fiasco.Waves of expensively trained pilots quit because of govt dithering on that.Their fury has been out there to be written about for several yrs...

Mark
Ottawa
Ça explique, mais ça n'excuse pas.