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Even though the number of fighter aircraft in the Air Force inventory is decreasing, the demand for experienced fighter pilots is increasing because new nonflying staff positions are thought to require people with fighter skills. The authors use a dynamic mathematical model to show that, under current conditions and management practices, fighter units are unable to “absorb” enough new pilots — that is, provide enough flying hours to give them the experience they need — to meet the increased demand and that attempting to do so can decrease unit readiness. They also show how increasing credit for simulator training, new approaches to developing fighter pilot-like skills (such as unmanned aerial systems), and the integrated use of active, guard, and reserve fighter aircraft for pilot development can help the Air Force meet the increased demand for staff personnel with fighter pilot skills while maintaining the health of its fighter units.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    How the Crisis in Fighter Aircrew Management Developed

  • Chapter Three

    Modeling the System

  • Chapter Four

    Air Force Policy Decisions: 2006–2008

  • Chapter Five

    The Potential Role of Total Force Integration Initiatives

  • Chapter Six

    Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Appendix A

    A Model for Dynamically Tracking Fighter Pilots Through Operational Squadrons

  • Appendix B

    The 2005 Aircrew Review

  • Appendix C

    Working Group on Transformational Aircrew Management Initiatives for the 21st Century

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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