Call of the Airlines

Air Education and Training Command doesn’t see much change in its pilot production needs, or capacity, for the next 10 years, and it will remain at about 1,000 pilots a year, AETC chief Gen. Robin Rand said Wednesday. Talking with reporters during AFA’s Air & Space Conference in National Harbor, Md., Rand said the 1,000 figure pertains to cockpit pilots and is exclusive of the need for remotely-piloted aircraft operators. However, Rand noted that the extension granted to commercial airline pilots allowing them to retire at 65 has simply postponed a big commercial hiring surge, and “we have to be prepared” to replace pilots who want to go fly for the airlines “in the next year or two.” Some mobility pilots are getting an early start and have taken voluntary separation opportunities as part of the current drawdown, but Rand said fighter pilots are ineligible.