USAF teams up with FAA to address national aircrew shortages

Hemanth Kumar and Talal Husseini 5 June 2019 (Last Updated June 5th, 2019 15:32)

The US Air Force (USAF) has launched a collaborative effort with aviation regulator the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to counter national aircrew shortages.

USAF teams up with FAA to address national aircrew shortages
The US Air Force (USAF) has launched a new collaborative effort with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to counter national aircrew shortages. Credit: US Air Force/Heather M Norris.

The US Air Force (USAF) has launched a collaborative effort with aviation regulator the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to counter national aircrew shortages.

The objective of the initiative is to encourage greater participation of the next-generation in military aviation. The partnership hopes this will contribute to the continued and long-range health and safety of the aviation industry.

USAF Secretary Heather Wilson said: “This collaborative effort will enable the airforce and the FAA to work with industry partners to share best practices and find ways to get more people to fly.”

The collaboration will explore options and define goals to address aircrew shortage issues. The partners will particularly focus on cross-agency collaboration.

Key focus areas that the collaboration will work on include ways to attract people to critical aviation professions, how to optimise training efficiency, in addition to improving partnerships with government, academia and industry.

Acting FAA administrator Dan Elwell said: “The FAA is actively working to ensure we have the aviation workforce needed today and in the future.

“We also are working with our industry and government partners, like the airforce, to ensure that we address any barriers to people realising their dreams of becoming a pilot or aircraft mechanic.”

The effort will seek to develop a sustainable pilot enterprise that will promote aviation nationwide and produce more pilots.

Furthermore, the airforce and FAA are keen to make the process to enter the pilot career simpler and use technology, such as virtual reality and AI, to improve pilot training.

At the end of fiscal year 2018, the USAF had a total force pilot shortage of 1,937 according to USAF manpower, personnel and services deputy chief of staff lieutenant general Brian Kelly’s statement to the US Senate Armed Services subcommittee on personnel earlier this year.

Aircrew shortages are not unique to the US. Other NATO nations have stepped up collaborative efforts to address pilot shortages across member nations.