Author Topic: RCAF aircrew shortage  (Read 10434 times)

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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #75 on: September 27, 2018, 04:45:44 »
The very, very last thing my Sqn needs right now is anything that involved parades, polish and marching.  It would do nothing to increase anything that needs to be improved, and do lots to frustrate and lower the morale of already a couple of dozen very busy people. 
Do I love my job?  No.

But does it afford me the ability to go on lavish vacations and buy anything I want?  Also no.

Offline Dimsum

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #76 on: September 27, 2018, 10:28:09 »
Soldiers have been complaining about that for centuries and it never stopped people joining. We have cut way, way down on the parades and such in the last 20 years. One could even argue a correlation between declining prevalence of traditional military ceremonies and general "spit and polish" and declining enrollment/retention.

That *may* be true if folks were just sitting around twiddling their thumbs.  EITS will attest to this but there are folks I haven't seen in months because barely any of us are around the unit or if we are, we're doing day-flights instead of away trips.
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #77 on: September 27, 2018, 10:44:25 »
Yup, the ever-revolving door...
Do I love my job?  No.

But does it afford me the ability to go on lavish vacations and buy anything I want?  Also no.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #78 on: October 03, 2018, 14:48:05 »
Supply and demand..... welcome to the seller's market for aircrew


Canada faces severe shortage of pilots and aircraft workers

https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/canada-faces-severe-shortage-of-pilots-and-aircraft-workers
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Quirky

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #79 on: October 03, 2018, 20:20:52 »
Perfect timing, when my IE25 expires in less than ten years I can apply at a maintenance organization that pays just as well, but more importantly, flies modern aircraft. Nothing like training our people to fly/maintain sometimes half a century old aircraft. Technology and modernization will quickly leave the RCAF behind.

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #80 on: October 04, 2018, 08:46:24 »
Nothing like training our people to fly/maintain sometimes half a century old aircraft. Technology and modernization will has quickly leave left the RCAF behind.

 :nod:

Do I love my job?  No.

But does it afford me the ability to go on lavish vacations and buy anything I want?  Also no.

Offline MilEME09

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #81 on: October 04, 2018, 15:01:06 »
Recently the CBC posted an article, apparently this shortage is not just a RCAF issue, the civilian industry will be facing a shortage of over 7500 pilots, aircrew and mechanics within 25 years at current recruiting/attrition rates. The question I then wonder is it maybe that schools like SAIT should do more to encourage people to take programs like aircraft mechanics? maybe subsidies for students? tax incentives? If i had the money I can say I'd probably consider changing careers into being an aircraft mechanic.
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Offline standingdown

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #82 on: October 04, 2018, 23:16:09 »
Recently the CBC posted an article, apparently this shortage is not just a RCAF issue, the civilian industry will be facing a shortage of over 7500 pilots, aircrew and mechanics within 25 years at current recruiting/attrition rates. The question I then wonder is it maybe that schools like SAIT should do more to encourage people to take programs like aircraft mechanics? maybe subsidies for students? tax incentives? If i had the money I can say I'd probably consider changing careers into being an aircraft mechanic.

Why not become an AVN tech in the RegF then?

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #83 on: October 04, 2018, 23:25:03 »
Why not become an AVN tech in the RegF then?

I know a guy who is a helicopter tech in Vancouver and has been doing it for 20 years. They tried to recruit him a few years ago and he replied something like 'I'm getting twice the pay and home every night.... nope.'
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline standingdown

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #84 on: October 04, 2018, 23:45:44 »
I know a guy who is a helicopter tech in Vancouver and has been doing it for 20 years. They tried to recruit him a few years ago and he replied something like 'I'm getting twice the pay and home every night.... nope.'

Trust me, I get it. However, he has 20 years experience.

Mbr mentioned funds were an issue and wanted some kind of tax incentive. An Avn tech Cpl will make 70k + quick enough, not amazing but better than a kick in the nuts...



Online MarkOttawa

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #85 on: October 11, 2018, 12:51:13 »
Summary of piece at Macdonald-Laurier Institute:

Quote
The pilot retention crisis facing Canada’s air force: New MLI commentary

The Canada-US relationship has been front and centre in public view over the past year, with trade disputes and contentious renegotiations around NAFTA, which was successfully concluded in the renamed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. So far, the bilateral security relationship has largely escaped scrutiny.

Yet, as outlined in a new MLI commentary by Senior Fellow Richard Shimooka, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) faces serious challenges when it comes to personnel management, procurement, and capabilities that may threaten the relationship in the future.

The most immediate problem is the retention of experienced pilots and support staff. As Shimooka notes, “over 63 percent of operational squadrons are understrength, with the RCAF pilot capability about 16 percent below strength and the fighter force at least 20 percent short.”

Compounding this retention problem is the botched procurement process for a CF-18 replacement. According to Shimooka, “The new Liberal government’s decision to restart the entire process exacerbated the already precarious retention situation, tipping the balance against pilots staying.”

The full report, titled NORAD, Continental Defence, and the Polit Retention Crisis Facing Canada's Air Force, is available here [ https://macdonaldlaurier.ca/files/pdf/201801002_Commentary_Shimooka_NORAD_RCAFwebreadyFinal.pdf ].

Of particular concern was the Liberal’s government’s decision to pursue an interim fleet of Super Hornets. This was heavily criticized, not least in a 2017 MLI paper that detailed an expert consensus against the proposal. And, shortly afterwards, the government reversed course and opted instead to procure a number of retiring Australian F/A-18As.

“[T]he acquisition of used RAAF aircraft will not address pilots’ concerns surrounding the aging fighter fleet and functional obsolescence,” warns Shimooka. “The new Liberal government’s decision to restart the entire process exacerbated the already precarious retention situation, tipping the balance against pilots staying.”

Given the problems of aging airframes and pilot retention, the RCAF faces diminishing interoperability and operational relevance to the US Air Force for both domestic and expeditionary operations. As Shimooka concludes “US force planners must now weigh the value of the CF-18 when considering future operations.”
https://www.macdonaldlaurier.ca/pilot-retention-crisis-facing-canadas-air-force-new-mli-commentary/

Mark
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Offline GarryB

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #86 on: October 25, 2018, 21:21:45 »
1) Many potential pilot recruits would not want to risk the chance of being assigned rotary wing vice fixed wing.

I've been told that approx. 62% of the RCAF cockpits are rotary and, given the huge advancements in drone technology, many jobs in the civilian rotary world have become obsolete. Thus little future on the outside for rotary experience compared to the immense shortages facing the fixed wing and airline industries.

2) Requiring 3 years of additional service after an OTU is a huge deterrent for prospective recruits which could extend their obligatory service once in the RCAF

The realities are that the easiest and fastest, least risk way into the airlines (and aviation industry as a pilot) means not joining the military.

Loved the airforce training and career I had but given the scenarios today not sure I would have joined.  Sad but true...

Offline Ditch

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #87 on: October 25, 2018, 23:04:05 »
ATPL-H holders are rare and sought after in civilian market, much better starting wages for helo drivers.

Pilots owe 7 years after Wings, the 3 year restricted release policy won’t impact the NWG on their first OTU.

Who’s grass is greener?   I live a much better home life in the AF vice if I was turning pairings at Big Red or the Teal machine.  I’m home every night, work short days, don’t fly in stupid weather, never feel pressured to fly.

We don’t have a shortage of people wanting to fly and serve their nation - we just have a throughput issue.
Per Ardua Ad Astra

Offline bradley247

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #88 on: October 26, 2018, 06:43:20 »
Pilots owe 7 years after Wings, the 3 year restricted release policy won’t impact the NWG on their first OTU.

It affects their second tour though, and greatly affects their decision to stay. With training delays and tour lengths these days, the majority of pilots on orphan fleets will be forced to sign a 3 year RR that goes past their 7 if they want another flying tour, which in turn forces them to sign an additional 4 year TOS for the “privilege” of being allowed to keep doing their job (as your TOS must cover the entirety of the RR period).

 I know multiple experienced pilots who, forced to choose between a ground tour or losing their move, have refused to sign a new RR and released because of that policy.

Who’s grass is greener?   I live a much better home life in the AF vice if I was turning pairings at Big Red or the Teal machine.  I’m home every night, work short days, don’t fly in stupid weather, never feel pressured to fly.

We don’t have a shortage of people wanting to fly and serve their nation - we just have a throughput issue.

Consider yourself lucky then, because not all fleets are like that. We are so short of people in my community that we are burning people out. People are running on five or less days off a month for months on end (which they will never get back), and they’re away from their families for months each year. The rare times they are home, they’re inundated with mandatory fun and other BS. 

As a result we are hemorrhaging pilots, and every single one I’ve spoken to that has left says the grass is much greener on the other side; their quality of life is better, they have a schedule they know in advance and guaranteed days off each months.

Pumping new pilots into the RCAF isn’t going to solve the problem. We have an experience shortage as much as we have a pilot shortage. You can only decrease the experience level so much before planes start to crash and people start to die.

Offline Ditch

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #89 on: October 27, 2018, 02:23:05 »
I know multiple experienced pilots who, forced to choose between a ground tour or losing their move, have refused to sign a new RR and released because of that policy.
Why didn’t they just take the ground tour?  That’s why they exist, to give drivers some rest and M-F schedule.

Can’t whine about a tough flying schedule and then balk at the opportunity to take a break.

Quote
People are running on five or less days off a month for months on end (which they will never get back), and they’re away from their families for months each year. The rare times they are home, they’re inundated with mandatory fun and other BS. 
That’s a failure in Squadron leadership.  Weak backbone and the inability to say “no”.  MALA , FRMS, HPMA - all good four letter acronyms to combat everything you just listed.

I manage a team of operational crews on a 24/7, 365 mandate - I ensure they get their 8-10 SDOs per month and manage them accordingly if they need a break.

Someone is saying “yes” to the RFEs that your Squadron is flying, find out who that person is and have a frank discussion with them, vice an anonymous website.

Throw me a PM if you like and I will chat with your OpsO - I undoubtably know someone around his/her office and can strike up a conversation. 


Per Ardua Ad Astra

Offline bradley247

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #90 on: October 27, 2018, 09:32:19 »
Why didn’t they just take the ground tour?  That’s why they exist, to give drivers some rest and M-F schedule.

You missed the point. It’s not about getting a break, it’s about being penalized no matter what if they want to keep doing their jobs. It takes away their options and forces their hand.

If they do another flying tour, they don’t have the luxury of sliding over to another squadron flying the same aircraft. They are forced to sign a 3 year RR and a 4 year TOS. Depending when they get posted, that can make it 5-6 years before they could release with a move.

If they take the ground tour, they are now going to go uncurrent, and be forced to sign a 2 year RR, and once again a 4 year TOS if they ever want to fly again.

Don’t forget as well that those RR periods aren’t reciprocal, they have no obligation to keep you flying for those three years. I’ve seen more than one person posted to a ground tour or shipped off to Moose Jaw a year or two into their 3 years.

People who want to keep their options open face the choice between a 100% chance of losing their move (worth tens of thousands potentially) or just walking away, many are choosing the latter. I’m in the same boat in the coming year and strongly considering the latter as well; I actually want to stay and fly, but I feel like the penalty for staying is so high that it’s essentially a now or never decision, get out now or commit for life.

That’s a failure in Squadron leadership.  Weak backbone and the inability to say “no”.  MALA , FRMS, HPMA - all good four letter acronyms to combat everything you just listed.

It’s an institutional failure, not a squadron failure. We are desperately short on crews, and most of the BS we put up with is outside of the squadrons control.

MALA and FRMS do nothing to take long term fatigue into account. If I got enough sleep in the last week, I should be 100% ready to go, but nowhere does it account for not having enough SDOs in the past quarter.

Offline SupersonicMax

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #91 on: October 27, 2018, 11:36:59 »
I they take the ground tour they are now going to go uncurrent, and be forced to sign a 2 year RR, and once again a 4 year TOS if they ever want to fly again.

There are clever ways to get around that, such as keeping the guys on staff tour with a minimal currency such that they don’t require an OTU after they get back.  That’s what we do.

Offline garb811

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #92 on: October 27, 2018, 14:44:41 »
Sorry for wandering in on this one, but I recall there used to be a program to keep pilots current even when posted to a desk job, along the lines of continuation jumping for airborne folks not posted to a jump position.  Has that fallen by the wayside? Tracking that would be hard to do for those bound to a desk in Ottawa but if someone is posted to an active Wing, wouldn't it make sense to give them cockpit time even if they are posted to Wing Ops or whatever?

Offline kev994

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #93 on: October 27, 2018, 14:59:20 »
If someone is a current AC for a platform flown on the wing and has time to fly regularly, then sure. But right now we have more FOs than we know what to do with so we have no capacity to fly more FOs. And then there are quarterly sims that they need to go to Trenton for a week for... it’s not feasible for more than 1 or 2 augmentees.

Offline SupersonicMax

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #94 on: October 27, 2018, 16:50:48 »
Sorry for wandering in on this one, but I recall there used to be a program to keep pilots current even when posted to a desk job, along the lines of continuation jumping for airborne folks not posted to a jump position.  Has that fallen by the wayside? Tracking that would be hard to do for those bound to a desk in Ottawa but if someone is posted to an active Wing, wouldn't it make sense to give them cockpit time even if they are posted to Wing Ops or whatever?

There is no formal program.  It is normally an arrangement between the individual, his unit and the supporting Wing.  We send guys from Winnipeg/Ottawa back to the Wings to get at least one flight every 365 days (which is the absolute minimum in order not to do an OTU).

Offline GarryB

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Re: RCAF aircrew shortage
« Reply #95 on: November 09, 2018, 17:30:39 »
"ATPL-H holders are rare and sought after in civilian market, much better starting wages for helo drivers."

Flying with a guy the other day who does IFR training in helos and said less than 10% of the guys are finding employment in the civilian world.

"Who’s grass is greener?   I live a much better home life in the AF vice if I was turning pairings at Big Red or the Teal machine.  I’m home every night, work short days, don’t fly in stupid weather, never feel pressured to fly."

Been on both sides.  In the civilian world I get to choose where I live, what lifestyle I want based on equipment and seniority, no secondary duties and a very good salary and pension.  Loved my time in the airforce but would say my quality of life (flying 9 days a month) has never been better.