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Non-Commissioned Pilots in the RCAF Discussion

dimsum

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We are totally off track on this thread - mods, could you split (and combine with one of the myriad "should Pilots be officers" threads)?

My one parting shot would be if WOs (in the US sense) were instituted, that would require us to completely change the rank structure. 

a)  What would be the authority to do so - is it just a DND thing or higher?
b)  What would we call those new ranks?  Obviously Warrant Officer and Chief Warrant Officer are out because of obvious confusion

We're not even following our Commonwealth allies anymore in promoting aircrew NCMs like AESOPs, FEs, SAR Techs, and Loadies directly to Sgt (which is a separate point of discussion). 
 

PuckChaser

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Dimsum said:
We are totally off track on this thread - mods, could you split (and combine with one of the myriad "should Pilots be officers" threads)?

Maybe my leave slump has started, but I can't find another thread to merge. I've split this off. If you find one, report a post in it and I can merge everything together.
 

dimsum

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PuckChaser said:
Maybe my leave slump has started, but I can't find another thread to merge. I've split this off. If you find one, report a post in it and I can merge everything together.

I just looked up "NCM Pilots" and saw these.  Not sure if any of them are worth bringing this discussion to, but some may be brought over here if they have anything interesting.  Some of them are pretty old though.  It's up to you.

https://navy.ca/forums/threads/128980/post-1561349.html#msg1561349
https://navy.ca/forums/threads/126750/post-1527979.html#msg1527979
https://navy.ca/forums/threads/29706/post-306558.html#msg306558
 

Fishbone Jones

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SupersonicMax said:
:2c: the
You don’t believe that being of a lower rank may be detrimental when operating with O-4s and O-5s, when those folks don’t know you?  You don’t think those fine pilots deserve the same pay as their commissioned brothers and sisters?

Rank doesn’t give you competency.  But it gives you credibility, when there is no other context. Same thing when a Capt is invited to a meeting composed of Maj and LCol.  That person’s insight has a greater chance of being dismissed (rightly or wrongly) just because that person is a Capt. Rank also brings pay.

I don’t care they are commissioned or not to be honest.  All pilots need to be the same however.  Being not commissioned brings other issues such as who takes command positions and such.  Furthermore, the current non-commissioned pay scales would only exacerbate retention issues.


No. I would assume that people at your level of expertise and professionalism, would put stuff like rank aside and recognise fellow pilots for what they are. Professionals.

The person at the table I would be most concerned about would be the one that couldn't look past their personal bias over a couple of rank badges vice another's experience and performance. The fact that that WO is present at the table, should dispell any doubts that he belongs there. What would happen if they were a WO today and recieved a battlefield promotion, or a CFR to Major tomorrow? Would he all of a sudden be welcome and listened to at the table by the same one who previously snubbed him for his non officer rank?

I can't help but think it a good thing that those great sticklers of rank and social position, the British, were smart enough to allow WO/NCOs behind the controls of those Spitfire and Hurricanes.

I won't go into the pay thing. I expect if it were a problem, it could be worked out with spec pay and things like that. As it is, those flying without the benefit of a scroll don't seem to be overly concerned about it.
 

h3tacco

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Warrant Officers in the US Rank Structure are commissioned officers once they are promoted to CW2 (usually 2 years).

"Candidates who successfully complete Warrant Officer Candidate School are appointed in the grade of Warrant Officer One. When promoted to Chief Warrant Officer Two, warrant officers are commissioned by the President and have the same legal status as their traditional commissioned officer counterparts. However, warrant officers remain single-specialty officers whose career track is oriented towards progressing within their career field rather than focusing on increased levels of command and staff duty positions (FM 7-0, p. 4-22)"

https://usacac.army.mil/organizations/cace/wocc/woprogram

Not sure why US WO seemingly are always brought up as an example of NCM pilots.
 

FJAG

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Dimsum said:
...
My one parting shot would be if WOs (in the US sense) were instituted, that would require us to completely change the rank structure. 

a)  What would be the authority to do so - is it just a DND thing or higher?
b)  What would we call those new ranks?  Obviously Warrant Officer and Chief Warrant Officer are out because of obvious confusion

It would require a change to the Schedule of the NDA where the ranks (and the absence of the MCpl) are listed.

In my humble opinion that part would be fairly easy. One such solution would be as follows:

1) return the WO rank to it's previous Staff Sergeant (and an Air Force and Navy equivalent);

2) rename the MWO rank to Sergeant Major (and an Air Force and Navy equivalent);

3) rename the CWO rank to Regimental Sergeant Major (or the ever popular US Command Sergeant Major and an Air Force and Navy equivalent)

4) introduce a new class of member between "Officers" and "Non-Commissioned Members" called "Warrant Officers" which lies in between the existing rank structure in seniority between Regimental Sergeant Major and Officer Cadet. It could use the terms WO, MWO and CWO or any other such designations (such as WO1 etc) depending on how many rank steps one wants.

Now comes the harder part:

5) make the consequential changes throughout the definition section and other portions of the of the NDA to define the roles, responsibilities etc etc of the three rank classes.

6) amend all of the subordinate regulations, directives, policies etc to comply.

While it might be tempting to use a different and simpler system (such as a modified recruiting entry system which would create a two track officer or other ranks career stream (such as no university requirement for officers or a direct entry at the sergeant rank level for specialists) that would not really solve the basic issues.

The trades and skills required by a modern military has for some time been becoming more and more complex. Our current bi-cameral rank structure has it's genesis in an aristocratic officer class leading an uneducated mob rank and file. That basic construct hasn't been true for a half if not a full century. IMHO we need a tri-cameral system where rank is based on the need for leadership at the combat unit level (principally NCMs and officers); a technically skilled operator and supervisor class for the more esoteric functions (principally WOs and some NCMs); and a managerial class for high command (principally officers and some higher WOs and NCMs).

A system that might have worked well for archers and swordsmen and transformed adequately well during the transition to gunpowder might not be the most suitable for AI and UAVs and autonomous ground combat vehicles and cyber warfare in a volunteer force where there is massive competition for the skilled worker/supervisor from civvy street.

If you feel that we could be well served by adding on a specialty rank structure/career track (and thereby recruiting, training and retention structures) for the ever expanding need for the highly skilled (rather than merely grafting some of those skills onto the existing two-tier career system) then it's worth ripping the band-aid off and making some deep changes.

:cheers:
 

Blackadder1916

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Most of what I'm hearing here (okay, reading, for fellow pedants) is the suggestion that we copy the US Army model, because they are the most familiar organization that has an additional "officer tier" to accommodate officer level occupations that won't be counted against their legislatively mandated cap on number of officers.  However, what number of non-officer (or officer adjacent) pilots would Canada need?  How much of the shortage of pilots is due to the requirement to fill staff billets (either RCAF specific or generic CAF)?  Do we have that many aircraft (and YFR) sitting idle because there's no available backside to stick in the seat?

The US model works for the US military because, frankly, they are bigger, more bureaucratic, more rule bound and more politically controlled that just about any other of our allies.  But their officer career management requirements are widely different from ours, mostly due to legislated decision points about what has to happen if an officer gets to stay.

Do we need pilots who spend most of a career in a squadron actually flying (and doing the other squadron level duties related to operations)?  Of course, but to sound like an old fart, back in the day, we called such a creature "career Captain" (such was not limited only to pilots).  He knew he wasn't going anywhere past that rank, did his job competently and when he got fed up with the organization (usually after 20/25 years or a bit more) tried his hand at something outside the uniform.
 

Zoomie

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IMO - we are not short of pilot applicants.  Having a different rank structure for our MOSID won't change anything.  We would have some new rank, still get paid more than a GSO, and enjoy life flying airplanes and not worrying about CFOPP or Strategic level events.  <SIGN ME UP!>

If we are contemplating NCMs in this career field why not others?  Medical Officers don't lead - so let's make them all Corporals.  Same goes for Legal Officers.  Why are platoon commanders in the CA Officers - it would make more sense for the experienced leadership to be in charge (ie Sgts/WOs).  Company Commanders should be MWOs - Majors are overkill for that job.

H3TACCO covered the US ARMY Warrant Officer entry plan - they are basically Captain's for life, but given a rank structure outside of mainstream Army (with a pay deficit).

 

Bruce Monkhouse

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It seems to me, someone who is way over his head in this conversation, that what is required is a need to realize we need to "go back to school".  We should be losing lots of (insert any trade here) to civvy street.  We keep getting them young, give them a marketable trade in exchange for thier most awesome ability years, and they move on.  IMO, we need to realize that we should exist to maintain certain tasks, but everything else should be training school, training school, training school....just in case we all of a sudden need to push through thousands of folks real quick.  We can't even train hundreds now.
 

FJAG

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Ditch said:
If we are contemplating NCMs in this career field why not others?  Medical Officers don't lead - so let's make them all Corporals.  Same goes for Legal Officers.  Why are platoon commanders in the CA Officers - it would make more sense for the experienced leadership to be in charge (ie Sgts/WOs).  Company Commanders should be MWOs - Majors are overkill for that job.

H3TACCO covered the US ARMY Warrant Officer entry plan - they are basically Captain's for life, but given a rank structure outside of mainstream Army (with a pay deficit).

Nope. Not corporals but WOs. While I served in the legal branch I often wondered why we took in legal officers at the rank of Captain and then promoted them automatically after two years to major (not sure where that stands anymore it fluctuated between two and four years during my tenure). We had the two standard arguments that were listed above for pilots: credibility by rank and pay. Quite frankly credibility by rank was never an issue for me when I served as a battery captain with the guns. When my corporal medic gave me his opinion on a medical issue I listened to it and took his advice because he had the medical training which I didn't. His credibility came with the training and experience he had.

As to pay. That's the easiest to fix for specialists. If there's a "pay deficit" for WO ranks then it's part of a policy decision based on a myriad of factors. It wouldn't be the first time that a policy doesn't make sense to the rank and file but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's an irrational policy.

:cheers:

 

Eye In The Sky

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FJAG said:
As to pay. That's the easiest to fix for specialists. If there's a "pay deficit" for WO ranks then it's part of a policy decision based on a myriad of factors. It wouldn't be the first time that a policy doesn't make sense to the rank and file but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's an irrational policy.
:cheers:

I'm following this thread, but with no iron in the fire either way. 

Just to note, though, Officer pay is broken down into GSO, Pilots, Medical and Dental, and Legal.  A top IPC Pilot Captain earns $9941/month, a top IPC GSO Capt / Lt (N) makes $8718. 

*IF* the CAF was to create Pilot NCO and / or Warrant Officers...seems to me the pay could be adjusted for NCMs to something along that line;  maybe a Spec Pay 3 and 4 trade group.  I make more than Standard trade group WOs/PO1s (as a Specialist Level 1); SAR Techs and airborne grease monkeys Flight Engineers make Specialist Level 2, etc.

Specialist Level 3 - NCO Pilots and Specialist Level 4 - Warrant Officer pilots.  Or, a separate table for Pilot NCM...like the Pilot one for Officers.

:dunno: 
 

SupersonicMax

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Eye In The Sky said:
I'm following this thread, but with no iron in the fire either way. 

Just to note, though, Officer pay is broken down into GSO, Pilots, Medical and Dental, and Legal.  A top IPC Pilot Captain earns $9941/month, a top IPC GSO Capt / Lt (N) makes $8718. 

*IF* the CAF was to create Pilot NCO and / or Warrant Officers...seems to me the pay could be adjusted for NCMs to something along that line;  maybe a Spec Pay 3 and 4 trade group.  I make more than Standard trade group WOs/PO1s (as a Specialist Level 1); SAR Techs and airborne grease monkeys Flight Engineers make Specialist Level 2, etc.

Specialist Level 3 - NCO Pilots and Specialist Level 4 - Warrant Officer pilots.  Or, a separate table for Pilot NCM...like the Pilot one for Officers.

:dunno:

I still don't understand the advantages of going through a whole rank structure re-organization that will give a group, doing largely the same functions as their officer counterpart, a lower salary.  As h3tacco said, there is no shortage of applicants.
 

dapaterson

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Splitting pilots into non-commissioned flying pilots (whose carers would be spent on the flightline) and pilot-officers (who might get a 50/50 flying / desk ratio) is one way to reduce the demand for pilots overall, and to compensate for the disruption of lifestyle and additional responsibilities associated with a second track.

Frankly, it's well past time to reconsider the team approach to CAF compensation; bespoke payscales for occupations (vs basic, spec 1 and spec 2) makes more sense, provides greater flexibility to respond to the labour market and, in a longer term, probably would save money for the CAF.  We're mired in a 1950s HR mindset in no small part because the CAF has no HR specialists able to progress t othe strategic level (Log HR officers prove my point, thank you).

Pressures on the pilot occupation are due to (a) several RCAF commanders who thought flying wasn't as important as staff jobs, and made employment decisions to reflect that perspective and (b) the RCAF's willingness to take on new fleets without adjusting the training system to produce the requisite number of pilots (or FRP some desks to return pilots to cockpits).
 

FJAG

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SupersonicMax said:
I still don't understand the advantages of going through a whole rank structure re-organization that will give a group, doing largely the same functions as their officer counterpart, a lower salary.  As h3tacco said, there is no shortage of applicants.

Pay isn't the issue that I look to for doing this. What my opinion is based on is that you can then develop two tracks: one for specialists who can be recruited and trained quicker (no four year university jail) and who will spend their careers in the cockpit developing their skills and not on numerous courses and postings for leadership or management development that take them out of the seat; and a second track that provides some seat time in the airframe for experience and then concentrates on developing leadership and management for higher command.

As I said before, the Air Force currently has 2,900 officers for 9,800 other ranks; 671 majors, 2,030 captains and lieutenants for  some 390 airframes. Obviously only a small portion of the officers are doing actual flying duties and far fewer are fulfilling leadership functions. It simply doesn't need that high an officer to airframe and officer to other ranks ratio.

:cheers:
 

dapaterson

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No one goes to Portage thinking "If I play my cards right, someday I'll be the A35 at 1 CAD in Winnipeg!"
 

FJAG

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dapaterson said:
No one goes to Portage thinking "If I play my cards right, someday I'll be the A35 at 1 CAD in Winnipeg!"

They could be one of these though for their whole career:

Warrant

150A Air Traffic and Air Space Management Technician
150U Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations Technician
151A Aviation Maintenance Technician (Nonrated)
152C OH-6 Pilot
152E AH-64E Attack Pilot
152F AH-64A Attack Pilot
152G AH-1 Attack Pilot (RC)
152H AH-64D Attack Pilot
153A Rotary Wing Aviator (Aircraft Nonspecific)
153B UH-1 Pilot (RC)
153D UH-60 Pilot
153DD UH-60 MEDEVAC Pilot
153E MH-60 Pilot
153L UH-72A Pilot
153M UH-60M Pilot
154C CH-47D Pilot
154E MH-47 Pilot
154F CH-47F Pilot
155A Fixed Wing Aviator (Aircraft Nonspecific)
155E C-12 Pilot
155F Jet Aircraft Pilot (C-20F/J, )
155G O-5A/EO-5B/RC-7 Pilot

And I would add some additional stuff to that.

:salute:
 

tomahawk6

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You could adopt the US Warrant Officer flight program which takes qualified enlisted soldiers and turns them into officers. During Vietnam the demand was high for chopper pilots. It would still take a year for the finished product to get his wings and in combat. But faster than waiting for ROTC to crank out Lt's that would go on to flight school.
 

Eye In The Sky

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FJAG said:
They could be one of these though for their whole career:

Warrant

150A Air Traffic and Air Space Management Technician
150U Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations Technician
151A Aviation Maintenance Technician (Nonrated)
152C OH-6 Pilot
152E AH-64E Attack Pilot
152F AH-64A Attack Pilot
152G AH-1 Attack Pilot (RC)
152H AH-64D Attack Pilot
153A Rotary Wing Aviator (Aircraft Nonspecific)
153B UH-1 Pilot (RC)
153D UH-60 Pilot
153DD UH-60 MEDEVAC Pilot
153E MH-60 Pilot
153L UH-72A Pilot
153M UH-60M Pilot
154C CH-47D Pilot
154E MH-47 Pilot
154F CH-47F Pilot
155A Fixed Wing Aviator (Aircraft Nonspecific)
155E C-12 Pilot
155F Jet Aircraft Pilot (C-20F/J, )
155G O-5A/EO-5B/RC-7 Pilot


And I would add some additional stuff to that.

:salute:

;)
 

Eye In The Sky

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SupersonicMax said:
I still don't understand the advantages of going through a whole rank structure re-organization that will give a group, doing largely the same functions as their officer counterpart, a lower salary.  As h3tacco said, there is no shortage of applicants.

To produce more folks like Capt Paul Turpie, and Capt Mary Cameron-Kelly?

Both are amazing pilots, I've had them both for a Skipper at some point (MCK was my first deployment Skipper), professional officers and damn nice people.  Obviously, too, they are the exception, not the rule where they've managed to stay Junior Officers and continue to do what they love to do;  fly. 

 
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