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Naval Flight Officers’ Unmanned Future

SupersonicMax

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View attachment 66586There’s a difference between mandating a MOSID 00183 and what other nations accept as a ‘pilot’…
I never suggested that all UAS require pilots at the helm but rather, those subjected to Airworthiness Processes. Class 1 UAS (like the one pictured) can be operated, in the CAF, by anyone with a Basic and/or Advanced UAS Operator course. Our regulations are very much in line with what TCCA and other civilian regulators allow.

What we’re discussing are Class 2/3 UAS which are subjected to Airworthiness Processes (to varying degrees).

What other nations accept as UAS pilot in their sovereign airspace is up to them. Several nations expressed their requirement to have winged pilots at the helm. Not much we can do about that, unless we made ACSOs pilots.
 
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SeaKingTacco

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I never suggested that all UAS require pilots at the helm but rather, those subjected to Airworthiness Processes. Class 1 UAS (like the one pictured) can be operated, in the CAF, by anyone with a Basic and/or Advanced UAS Operator course. Our regulations are very much in line with what TCCA and other civilian regulators allow.

What we’re discussing are Class 2/3 UAS which are subjected to Airworthiness Processes (to varying degrees).

What other nations accept as UAS pilot in their sovereign airspace is up to them. Several nations expressed their requirement to have winged pilots at the helm. Not much we can do about that, unless we made ACSOs pilots.
Which brings us back to convergence…
 

SupersonicMax

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Which brings us back to convergence…
Sure, in the long term, when all aircraft are uncrewed, both trades will likely become one. I the short and medium term, this is not realistic. There are reasons why pilots were not selected to be ACSOs and vice versa and with crewed platforms, we can’t change that paradigm.
 

Good2Golf

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...There are reasons why pilots were not selected to be ACSOs and vice versa and with crewed platforms, we can’t change that paradigm.
Yup, nothing can be done...paradigms can't be changed...frankly, we shouldn't even be considering operating any aircraft that doesn't have a pilot.
 

SupersonicMax

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Yup, nothing can be done...paradigms can't be changed...frankly, we shouldn't even be considering operating any aircraft that doesn't have a pilot.
I have said that in the long term, both trades will likely merge but keep reading what you want to read. Change takes time. Until we are allowed to fly big UAS in foreign non-segregated airspace with non-pilots, there isn’t much we can do. But I am not sure how you envison both the ACSO and Pilot trade becoming one in today’s environment. How would that work in reality? Just accept all ACSOs to be pilots, some that have failed pilot selection or some level of pilot training. Just allow them into the pilot trade unrestricted?
 

Good2Golf

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Do an OSQ review and a TNA for the specifics that UAS operations require. Are you saying a UAS absolutely requires 100% of the 00183 OSQ?

Edit to add: Dare I ask when the last time 00183 was looked at by a OSVB?
 
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dapaterson

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I think the last review of the pilot occ recommended splitting into rotary, fixed and fighter sub-occs to reduce training time and streamline management.

As happens sometimes, the analysis was rejected. (Like how functional logistics officer lines were rejected for the current environmental dysfunction.)
 

SupersonicMax

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Do an OSQ review and a TNA for the specifics that UAS operations require. Are you saying a UAS absolutely requires 100% of the 00183 OSQ?

Edit to add: Dare I ask when the last time 00183 was looked at by a OSVB?
The pilot (Wings Standards) QS is broad and some elements could be tailored/reduced to account for a UA Pilot occupation however, I would argue that all aspects of the QS are still relevant to all CAF pilots (Plan, Pre/Post Flight, Ground Handing, Take off, Landing, Clearhood, Formation, Nav, IFR, Composite, Emergencies are the POs. Not sure what could be changed). Formation/Clearhood/Composite are probably not required for UAS. But the same could be said for other sub-specialty (when is the last time a Gonzo flew formation and do they have a currency requirement?). Having a broad QS however allows for cross employment between platforms without having to re-do the whole training (what I have seen often is advancing based on proficiency rather than a set number of training hours when people transfer from one specialty to another)

The ACSO QS is missing critical items (the flying parts - Takeoff, Landing, IFR flying are the critical ones - IFR is shoe horned into Navigation but there is no IFR tickets for ACSOs). Until the ACSO QS - the standard to achieve Wings - is tailored to meet foreign airworthiness requirements, that’s a non-starter. There is no point in investing time, effort and money when you won’t be allowed to use the resources you train.

The only viable option, at the moment, is using pilots. UA Pilot could be a fourth specialty (after jets, multi and helo) of the pilot occupation or even its own occupation, using the Pilot QS as a starting point. Not sure how we could easily converge the ACSO and pilot occupations in the short/medium term given the differences in tasks (which is where the skeleton of a QS would start). I could see the pilot occupation taking on ACSO tasks but not the other way around. Given the health of the pilot trade however, this is highly unlikely…
 

SupersonicMax

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Funny you say that we are short of pilots.

Where I work, we are overflowing with pilots. ACSOs and AESOps, however are in really, really short supply.
Looking at the numbers from about 8 months ago, pilots were staffed at ~86% PML, ACSOs at ~92% and AESOps at ~82%.

The shortage of pilots may not be seen at the Wing level, but it is certainly felt in HQs where those positions are sacrificed to staff tactical unit positions. As an example, AF Standards is currently staffed by a non-pilot, a position that is marked as “Hard Pilot.” I do see plenty of ACSOs in HQs however (cough RAWC cough) Perhaps it’s a matter of how your occupation priorities its positions.
 

SeaKingTacco

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Looking at the numbers from about 8 months ago, pilots were staffed at ~86% PML, ACSOs at ~92% and AESOps at ~82%.

The shortage of pilots may not be seen at the Wing level, but it is certainly felt in HQs where those positions are sacrificed to staff tactical unit positions. As an example, AF Standards is currently staffed by a non-pilot, a position that is marked as “Hard Pilot.” I do see plenty of ACSOs in HQs however (cough RAWC cough) Perhaps it’s a matter of how your occupation priorities its positions.
I suspect the real gap is at the Capt ACSO level.

And if ACSOs don’t do the RAWC jobs then…pilots instead (I am not a super huge fan of RAWC, BTW)?
 

dimsum

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I suspect the real gap is at the Capt ACSO level.
It's been a long time since I've seen the numbers but yeah, Capt ACSO was where the gap is. Above that, at least last time I checked, ACSO is fairly healthy.
 

SeaKingTacco

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It's been a long time since I've seen the numbers but yeah, Capt ACSO was where the gap is. Above that, at least last time I checked, ACSO is fairly healthy.
In other words, if an ACSO manages to survive to Major, they are generally ”lifers” after that and do alot of the unglamorous jobs holding the RCAF together.

The problem is at the flying Sqn level. At least in MH, it is a very demanding job technically/tactically, with a very high Op Tempo (lots of sea time) and on top of that, it can be very physically demanding with the backdoor/hoist work (I suspect it is much the same in LRP, minus the physical labour part).

Not everyone is attracted to that lifestyle and not everyone who is attracted survives their first tour. It is a difficult problem.
 

SeaKingTacco

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The pilot (Wings Standards) QS is broad and some elements could be tailored/reduced to account for a UA Pilot occupation however, I would argue that all aspects of the QS are still relevant to all CAF pilots (Plan, Pre/Post Flight, Ground Handing, Take off, Landing, Clearhood, Formation, Nav, IFR, Composite, Emergencies are the POs. Not sure what could be changed). Formation/Clearhood/Composite are probably not required for UAS. But the same could be said for other sub-specialty (when is the last time a Gonzo flew formation and do they have a currency requirement?). Having a broad QS however allows for cross employment between platforms without having to re-do the whole training (what I have seen often is advancing based on proficiency rather than a set number of training hours when people transfer from one specialty to another)

The ACSO QS is missing critical items (the flying parts - Takeoff, Landing, IFR flying are the critical ones - IFR is shoe horned into Navigation but there is no IFR tickets for ACSOs). Until the ACSO QS - the standard to achieve Wings - is tailored to meet foreign airworthiness requirements, that’s a non-starter. There is no point in investing time, effort and money when you won’t be allowed to use the resources you train.

The only viable option, at the moment, is using pilots. UA Pilot could be a fourth specialty (after jets, multi and helo) of the pilot occupation or even its own occupation, using the Pilot QS as a starting point. Not sure how we could easily converge the ACSO and pilot occupations in the short/medium term given the differences in tasks (which is where the skeleton of a QS would start). I could see the pilot occupation taking on ACSO tasks but not the other way around. Given the health of the pilot trade however, this is highly unlikely…
That is actually a good summary of both QSPs provides a good starting point for discussion on how various QSPs ( and Occ Specs) might have to change to accommodate the introduction of RPAS into CAF service.
 

Good2Golf

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That is actually a good summary of both QSPs provides a good starting point for discussion on how various QSPs ( and Occ Specs) might have to change to accommodate the introduction of RPAS into CAF service.
Which should be actively worked now, to include elements within FAcT so that it doesn’t become a “too hard to do now” thing that’s put off for a decade or two whilst hand-wringing about “how to we make it work?” abounds.
 

dimsum

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In other words, if an ACSO manages to survive to Major, they are generally ”lifers” after that and do alot of the unglamorous jobs holding the RCAF together.

The problem is at the flying Sqn level. At least in MH, it is a very demanding job technically/tactically, with a very high Op Tempo (lots of sea time) and on top of that, it can be very physically demanding with the backdoor/hoist work (I suspect it is much the same in LRP, minus the physical labour part).

Not everyone is attracted to that lifestyle and not everyone who is attracted survives their first tour. It is a difficult problem.
yup. My take on it is unlike pilots, ACSOs don't have an easy out (airlines) so once you've invested that much time, you might as well stay in.


The ACSO QS is missing critical items (the flying parts - Takeoff, Landing, IFR flying are the critical ones - IFR is shoe horned into Navigation but there is no IFR tickets for ACSOs). Until the ACSO QS - the standard to achieve Wings - is tailored to meet foreign airworthiness requirements, that’s a non-starter. There is no point in investing time, effort and money when you won’t be allowed to use the resources you train.
Given that RPAS have automatic takeoff and landing, and some of them (like the Global Hawk) don't even have stick/throttle so really no manual TO/ldg capability anyways, 2 of the 3 critical parts may not matter so much.
 

SeaKingTacco

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yup. My take on it is unlike pilots, ACSOs don't have an easy out (airlines) so once you've invested that much time, you might as well stay in.



Given that RPAS have automatic takeoff and landing, and some of them (like the Global Hawk) don't even have stick/throttle so really no manual TO/ldg capability anyways, 2 of the 3 critical parts may not matter so much.
I suspect you right about why retention is so high amongst ACSO Majors (and above).
 
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