Predicting Active Duty Air Force Pilot Attrition Given an Anticipated Increase in Major Airline Pilot Hiring

by Nolan Sweeney

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The U.S. Air Force has traditionally been a significant source of pilots for the major airline industries. For much of the 2000s, two wars and a sputtering economy aided in managing the attrition of Air Force pilots. But now, amid myriad converging factors, there is a large projected increase in major airline pilot hiring that resembles the late 1990s surge, in which the Air Force endured its largest loss of pilots since the post–Vietnam War pilot exodus. Using logistic regression analysis and focusing on active duty Air Force pilots in the first three years following completion of their initial active duty service commitment (ADSC), this dissertation predicts future pilot attrition given the estimated increase in major airline hiring and recommends several policies that the Air Force can implement to better weather an increase in attrition.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Historical Review of Air Force Pilot Attrition

  • Chapter Three

    Historical Analysis

  • Chapter Four


  • Chapter Five


  • Appendix A

    Other Specifications

  • Appendix B

    Instrumental Variable

  • Appendix C

    Variable Description

  • Appendix D

    Interview Script

Research conducted by

This document was submitted as a dissertation in June 2014 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Nelson Lim (Chair), Natalie Crawford, and Raymond E. Conley.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Dissertation series. Pardee RAND dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a Pardee RAND faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

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