The Air Force is worried about running out of pilots because they may switch to civilian life. The Air Force is competing with commercial airlines, so the chance of losing many pilots is a factor. Readiness is another problem because many planes and jets are not being used in the Air Force due to cuts.
Pilots may be leaving the Air Force in great numbers in the future, according to The Virginian-Pilot. The Air Force is very concerned about losing its trained, talented pilots to competitors who could lure them away with more benefits and better pay. The problems are slowly building, so the chance of losing a great deal of people is real.
The Air Force is looking toward the future in apprehension as it studies reports from commercial airlines that indicate they need more pilots. Airlines are getting ready to retire many of their current pilots, so there will be plenty of openings for new ones. However, this leaves the Air Force with the potential issue of not having enough people to fly the jets or planes.
The readiness issue is another factor that makes the Air Force worried about the future. Since many jets and planes are not able to fly due to budget issues, pilots are also sitting idly. They may get bored with this inactivity and choose to go to another place.
Some are questioning the sudden concern about pilot shortages since there is not one happening right now in the Air Force. In fact, it is one of the military branches that plans to cut back on members due to the end of the war in Afghanistan. Some people feel this sudden concern about pilot numbers may be a way to pressure others into increasing the budgets.
However, the Air Force insists that the concerns are real and not based on an attempt to get more budget leeway. Instead, they point to the airlines, and the disturbing numbers that are appearing from this industry. The airlines may need 50,000 pilots over the next decade, and there are few sources that will give them such high numbers of experienced workers. The Air Force could become a victim of the airlines as they fish for talent and steal away the best pilots. Lucrative packages and benefits could sway some pilots to leave the military permanently, and the Air Force is worried this is going to start happening soon.