The Peacetime Evaluation of the Pilot Skill Factor in Air-to-Air Combat

by Peter DeLeon

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Documents an attempt to develop an objective measure for peacetime evaluation of a fighter pilot's air-to-air combat skills. Previous research and combat data from Korea and North Vietnam suggest that the skill of the individual pilot is crucial in the outcome of an aerial engagement. However, it has not been possible to estimate the actual effect or to identify what makes him superior. The Air Force cannot currently evaluate its pilots' air-to-air skills objectively during either their training or operational assignments. This report proposes four research areas that address the effectiveness and evaluation of these pilots: the selection of the prospective pilot from his undergraduate pilot training program, the air-to-air portions of his combat crew training squadron curriculum, the more efficient management of pilot resources, and an examination of the costs and benefits of dissimilar air combat training. It also proposes the development of a pilot skill index.

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