More Flying Hours Needed

Recent cuts in Air Force flying hours have had a very concrete effect, said Lt. Gen. Raymond Johns, USAF’s deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and programs, at AFA’s Air and Space Conference Tuesday. The decline has degraded some aircrew’s ability to drop live weapons, consequently the Air Force needs to get those flying hours back up in 2009 and 2010, he said. There is a “wow factor” the first time a pilot feels a live weapon come off the rail, Johns noted, but in the real world “we don’t have time for a ‘wow factor.’” There are limits to what simulators can do, he said, and crews can’t train for just one mission, they must be prepared for the full range of missions they might be asked to perform.