Air Force pilot cut backs

The U.S. Air Force will be training less pilots this coming year in 2008 at roughly about 925, a decrease of about 12 percent from the 1,100 that will graduate this year which is what the Air Force Times is reporting. However it may come back up in 2009 to 1025, which is expected to remain constant for several years according to the Times. According to the newspaper the reduction is directly related to the decline in the volume of aircrafts available and will be particularly felt in the fighter pilot ranks. "If the Air Force did not slow down pilot production, the service's fighter squadrons would be overwhelmed by first-assignment pilots who could not get adequate training because there wouldn't be enough jets or instructors," the newspaper reported.

The correct percentage of experienced and upcoming fighter pilots is about 55 percent veterans and 45 percent rookies, the Times said. Transport and other types of military aircraft offer new pilots more training opportunities and the ability to ride along on a multitude of flights to gain experience. The Air Force has already reassigned almost 200 bomber and fighter pilots because there's nothing for them to fly. The Air Force Academy and ROTC program will continue accepting the same number of officer trainees but fewer of them will be offered pilot training.

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