There is a well-documented pilot shortage in the ranks of all military aviation components in the US. Though the US Air Force and its reserve components have been hit the hardest of all, the US Navy is also feeling the effects in a big way, writes Scott Wolff
In its continuing efforts to combat the retention and readiness problems, the US Navy is instituting a program which creates an opportunity for pilots and naval flight officers to stay in service as flight instructors later in their careers, side-stepping the sea/shore duty rotation more common to the service.
On September 28, the office of the Chief of Naval Operations released a memo through official NAVADMIN channels, announcing the creation of the Aviation Professional Flight Instructor billet. The scope of the PFI program is specifically geared towards retention.
Not every aviator aspires to pursue command opportunities, so this program appears to be a step in the right direction for those who want to stay in the Navy, instead transitioning to the airlines, to put the days of lengthy periods at sea, combat, and mission-creep behind them.
To read the full story, see the December issue of Combat Aircraft, on sale now.