Cover: Independent Review and Assessment of the Air Force Ready Aircrew Program

Independent Review and Assessment of the Air Force Ready Aircrew Program

A Description of the Model Used for Sensitivity Analysis

Published Jul 15, 2019

by Matthew Walsh, William W. Taylor, John A. Ausink


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The Ready Aircrew Program (RAP) sets continuation training requirements for pilots of combat aircraft. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 directed the Secretary of the Air Force to arrange for an independent review of the RAP and its effectiveness in managing aircrew training requirements. The Air Force turned to RAND Project AIR FORCE to conduct the review and to make recommendations for improvements. As part of the analysis, researchers created a computational model to examine whether flying units can feasibly meet the continuation training requirements set by RAP and other training requirements when various constraints, such as the length and frequency of temporary duty assignments or deployment schedules, are taken into account. This report outlines the model, its specifications, and how it was used in the assessment of the RAP.

Key Findings

Potential negative effects of increasing annual pilot arrivals, increased time needed to meet sortie-based experience definition

  • Simulations using the computational model revealed the potentially negative effects of increasing the number of new pilots entering a squadron each year or decreasing the squadrons' aircraft utilization rates.
  • Simulations also showed that the new, sortie-based definition of experience adopted in 2018 may increase the amount of time needed for pilots to become experienced.
  • The model can be used to prospectively simulate the outcomes of a wide range of policy modifications, to understand their implications in terms of pilot absorption and squadron health, and to inform selection between potential policy options.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was commissioned by the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and conducted by the Manpower, Personnel, and Training Program within RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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