3584622 New Air Force program hopes to bolster pilot retention

A 1st Fighter Wing F-22 Raptor taxis before take off at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., July 11, 2017. The wing conducted night flying training missions to keep pilots current on skills needed to operate in the dark. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Master Sgt. Benjamin Wilson)

By Matt Saintsing

In an effort to combat a growing pilot shortage, the Air Force will give some fighter pilots and aircrew the option to stay longer at desired bases.

Announced Thursday, the Second Assignment In-Place Pilot Program (SAIP) will give active duty, late-career fighter pilots, and weapon systems officers the stability they seek, while ensuring expertise is not lost.

“We’re in a retention crisis, which means changing the way we do business such as looking at an expanded bonus window as well as trying something new” said Lt. Gen. Chris Nowland, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for operations. “Second Assignment In-Place is another way to incentivize experienced aviators to stay in uniform and shape future generations of warriors.”

Additionally, the program will be open to airmen who have less than a three-year active-duty service commitment that fill instructor pilot, or evaluator pilot assignments.

Gen. David Goldfein, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, threw his support behind the initiative in an effort to “increase pilot retention and improve quality of life and service” for airmen.

“We asked our aircrews for feedback and learned that late in their careers, people want stability for their families,” said Nowland.

SAIP will be available to 11F and 12F Air Force Specialty Codes at the following sixteen bases at three major commands:

Air Education and Training Command

12th Flying Training Wing, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas; 14th Flying Training Wing, Columbus AFB, Miss.; 81st Fighter Squadron, Moody AFB, Ga.; 33rd Fighter Wing, Eglin AFB, Fla.; 47th Flying Training Wing, Laughlin AFB, Texas; 56th Fighter Wing, Luke AFB, Ariz.; 54th Fighter Group, Holloman AFB, N.M.; 550th Fighter Squadron, Kingsley Field, Ore.; 71st Flying Training Wing, Vance AFB, Okla.; 80th Flying Training Wing, Sheppard AFB, Texas.

Air Combat Command

53rd Wing, Eglin AFB, Fla.; 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB, Fla.; 325th Fighter Wing, Tyndall AFB, Fla.; 355th Fighter Wing, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.

Air Force Materiel Command

96th Test Wing, Eglin AFB, Fla.; 412th Test Wing, Edwards AFB, Fla.

Connect: @MattBSaintsing | Matt@ConnectingVets.com

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