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Non-Commissioned Pilots in the RCAF Discussion

kev994

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My buddy did his Air Canada course in March (really bad timing), at the time the course was told that most of the narrow body pilots would be AC in 2 years; retirements, expansion, and crew day changes driving it.
 

Mick

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Interesting - I'd heard that new guys at AC were being told 2 years to upgrade when they show up for their courses, but haven't heard if that's actually the reality, notwithstanding 2020.

Yep, a friend of mine got the "welcome to WestJet" and "your 737 course is postponed indefinitely" calls within days of each other.
 

quadrapiper

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Old Sweat said:
...there was a built in steady state of attrition in the RCAF back then. A large number of aircrew had short service commissions, and would be released after about five years commissioned service.
Was there any cunning reason for this? Avoiding having to figure out progression for too many aircrew?
 

Old Sweat

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quadrapiper said:
Was there any cunning reason for this? Avoiding having to figure out progression for too many aircrew?

I think that it was picked up from the RAF, which apparently was doing this in the 1930s and later, to build up a pool of trained pilots available off the street in the even of war. Not 100% sure, but I developed this impression from reading credible histories.
 

daftandbarmy

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Old Sweat said:
I think that it was picked up from the RAF, which apparently was doing this in the 1930s and later, to build up a pool of trained pilots available off the street in the even of war. Not 100% sure, but I developed this impression from reading credible histories.

FWIW, Crab Air currently requires 12 years minimum service for their Jet Jockeys.

Fun fact: dual UK/other nationals are eligible :)

https://www.raf.mod.uk/recruitment/roles/roles-finder/aircrew/pilot
 

quadrapiper

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Old Sweat said:
I think that it was picked up from the RAF, which apparently was doing this in the 1930s and later, to build up a pool of trained pilots available off the street in the even of war. Not 100% sure, but I developed this impression from reading credible histories.
That makes sense; haven't done any significant reading, but picked up the impression that growing the national civil pilot supply was seen as a good thing post WWI, even without the "in case of war" motivation.
 

FJAG

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quadrapiper said:
That makes sense; haven't done any significant reading, but picked up the impression that growing the national civil pilot supply was seen as a good thing post WWI, even without the "in case of war" motivation.

Germany did it by training thousands of cadet glider pilots (In the absence of being denied an air force)

:cheers:
 

Blackadder1916

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quadrapiper said:
That makes sense; haven't done any significant reading, but picked up the impression that growing the national civil pilot supply was seen as a good thing post WWI, even without the "in case of war" motivation.

The through-put of Cold War era RCAF pilots may not have been the result of a deliberate effort to grow a civil pilot supply or even the "in case of war" motivation.  Well, the "in case of war" reasoning may have some basis, but it was probably more to do with immediate requirements due to the size of the RCAF at the time (50s/60s) and the need for pilots to man the dozen fighter squadrons overseas on NATO duty as well as the squadrons on the NORAD mission.

The terms of service for a potential pilot back in those days were either a "permanent commission" if one had a university degree (preferably from a service college or by a subsidized plan) that basically guaranteed one could stay to a pension or a "short service commission" for those without a degree that was for six years following wings standard.  At an appropriate period of service those with a SSC could be offered a permanent commission if they were judged worthy.  I recall reading a transcript of a parliamentary committee from the mid 1950s in which one of the big giant heads from National Defence was questioned about the reasoning of putting all those trained pilots out on the street in their early to mid thirties after having provided service to the country.  While there was some discussion about the reasonableness of discharging these officers who "had no other skills" when other duties could be found for them, the upshot was that approximately 60% of SSC were converted to permanent commissions.
 

Blackadder1916

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Came across this while looking for something else.  It's somewhat applicable to the discussion as it deals with compensation of pilots and with one of the few models of "NCO pilots".

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/868940/20200121-FOI13609_AAC-Response.pdf

I particularly noted this:

Current AAC Manning Situation

11. Pilot risk cohorts. Analysis identifies five key AAC pilot cohorts that currently pose a
significant manning risk and require immediate measures to improve retention. These are, in
manning priority order:

a. Qualified Helicopter Instructor (QH1)14/Qualified Flying Instructor (QFI). OHI/QFIs
train new pilots, maintain flying standards throughout the organisation and fulfil operational
roles. They are crucial for maintaining force generation, safety assurance and operational
effectiveness. The 18% deficit (see Table 3) in the instructional cadre already places force
generation at significant risk, limiting the ability to stabilise, build or sustain the current pilot
under-manning.

Table 3: QHI/QFI Manning — Source APC / HQ AAC Jun 15  (this table removed from this post due to formatting)

b. ORs. OR pilots are 28% under-manned. This cohort should form 60% of the front line
AAC pilot
liability and the more senior ranks provide much of the depth of organisational
KSE
. This shortfall places operational outputs at significant safety and capacity risk by
placing additional pressure upon the remaining pilots and, in some cases, forcing officers to
fill OR front line flying roles.

c. LE officers. LE officers are the long term corporate knowledge and expertise of the AAC
due to the longevity and skill set of their flying and military experience. Of this cohort, 90% are
also instructors (37 of 41).  (LE officers would be the equivalent of CFRs in the CAF)

d. DE OF2-3 officers. OF2-3 are employed both in cockpit and in critical aviation staff
roles (as well as fulfilling wider Army career requirements such as staff training). Gapping in
the OR cohort means that operational output cannot be maintained without misemploying
OF2s and OF3s in OR posts. This creates a manning risk in aviation staff and force
generation roles and places pressure on the wider Army to backfill previously held AAC E2
posts.

e. DE OF4 officers. OF4 VO has increased 6 fold over the last three years' and now
averages 5 times the DM(A) predicted steady state outflow. Promoting OF3s to counter this
outflow is not a viable solution primarily because they lack the necessary experience but also due
to the second order effect on the OF3 deficit.
 

MilEME09

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Here's a interesting report from 1997 that looked into this very issue.
 

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SupersonicMax

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Here's a interesting report from 1997 that looked into this very issue.
I read the report and it is very shallow and only skims the surface without addressing any issues beside saving a few bucks. You have to remember the context of the 90s (aviation industry, FRPs, trying to save every buck, demographics, etc).

There is no chance in hell you’ll retain pilots on a WO salary in today’s world. Remember: we’re having a retention issue.
 

Eye In The Sky

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There is no chance in hell you’ll retain pilots on a WO salary in today’s world. Remember: we’re having a retention issue.

The NCM perspective on that might be different, though. Many NCMs might love to be pilots if they had that option to pursue "in a NCM trade", which would be different than competing for Commissioning and the pilot trade via that avenue. Some who apply for Pilot via UTPNCM might not be selected for Commissioning, but show aptitude towards pilot and get an offer for the WO flying trade. They'll never fly fighter or Globemasters, but they'd still fly.

And...for most if not all...it would be a pay/pension boost. I'm a WO locked into Spec 1 by trade; if WO Pilot was "Spec 4" or a different table altogether like it is for Officers, I might be one of those who gave it a whirl (well, if I was younger...).
 

kev994

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The NCM perspective on that might be different, though. Many NCMs might love to be pilots if they had that option to pursue "in a NCM trade", which would be different than competing for Commissioning and the pilot trade via that avenue. Some who apply for Pilot via UTPNCM might not be selected for Commissioning, but show aptitude towards pilot and get an offer for the WO flying trade. They'll never fly fighter or Globemasters, but they'd still fly.

And...for most if not all...it would be a pay/pension boost. I'm a WO locked into Spec 1 by trade; if WO Pilot was "Spec 4" or a different table altogether like it is for Officers, I might be one of those who gave it a whirl (well, if I was younger...).
That doesn’t solve any problems though, we have tons of applicants but not enough training bandwidth the replace the much more experienced people who are leaving.
 

Eye In The Sky

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I thought FAcT was going to solve all those issues. Isn't it ready to implement "now"? :cool:
 

Zoomie

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I don’t think an NCM pilot would be easier to retain or train than our current crop of Officer Pilots. We have ”Captains for life” in our trade because of a genuine lack of desire to do anything else than fly. They don’t get distracted by having to take higher education (ie Masters), have zero incentive to grind CAFJODs or any other DP2/3 education.

Do NCO pilots get upgraded to Command? Maybe they only get to monitor the AP/FD on long trans oceanic flights (aka Relief Pilot) - they wouldn’t care if they get upgraded as they have no intention of leaving to go to Big Red, right?
 

PuckChaser

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Is that going to solve anything? Why would a NCM have any less civilian career ambition than an Officer pilot? If that NCM pilot had a CPL, multi-engine rating and other quals desired by Big Red, why wouldn't they try to poach him or her just as much as an Officer?
 

FJAG

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Is that going to solve anything? Why would a NCM have any less civilian career ambition than an Officer pilot? If that NCM pilot had a CPL, multi-engine rating and other quals desired by Big Red, why wouldn't they try to poach him or her just as much as an Officer?
It's a bit apples and oranges. In the US, flying WOs are all in the Army and they fly helicopters while the Air Force and Marines are all flying officers (and the Navy too these days although I think they had flying WOs in the past for aviation as well)

Civvy jobs for helicopter pilots are far from lucrative.

🍻
 

PuckChaser

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I think that's important to state, FJAG. If we're talking about NCM pilots for the CAF are we talking about all airframes, or certain airframes? Does that mean we move TACHEL to CA and Martime Hel to RCN as there's less requirement for that shiny Big Red contracts?
 

kev994

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It's a bit apples and oranges. In the US, flying WOs are all in the Army and they fly helicopters while the Air Force and Marines are all flying officers (and the Navy too these days although I think they had flying WOs in the past for aviation as well)

Civvy jobs for helicopter pilots are far from lucrative.

🍻
When I was OUTCAN with the USCG two of my coworkers had learned to fly with the US Army, they had only ever flown helicopters, zero fixed wing time. One guy got a job with a commuter airline and they gave him $50,000 to go get his fixed wing licenses. Then they gave him another $10,000 for convincing his buddy to work for them.
 

dimsum

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I think that's important to state, FJAG. If we're talking about NCM pilots for the CAF are we talking about all airframes, or certain airframes? Does that mean we move TACHEL to CA and Martime Hel to RCN as there's less requirement for that shiny Big Red contracts?
But RN and other naval forces also use commissioned officers as pilots. The USN hasn't had WOs in those positions for over 50 years - I'm not sure the RN, RCN, etc ever had NCMs as pilots.

The split to other services is another issue but again, not really sure how that would solve anything if rotary-wing folks can get poached by the airlines. Kev994's scenario may just be in the US but I suspect Canadian airlines are hiring based on total time, not just multi-engine time? I'm not sure.
 
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