It’s the toilet paper, stupid
FighterSweep has an interesting piece up from a career Viper driver over why the USAF is throwing cash at pilots to keep them working for Uncle rather than move on to lucrative jobs in the airline industry and private sector. Apparently, Big Blue doesn’t get that its not a dollar issue, but one of swapping time at the throttle for time at the desk on collateral duties:
A few years ago, my father (a Cold War F-106 Fighter Pilot of the 1970s) asked me how my F-16 career was going. “Getting about four sorties a week?” he asked. I almost choked on my coffee if I recall. “Dad, I’m lucky to get one or two a week.” I replied. His obvious next question was “Why?” and after that “How can you be ready to fight?”
During his era Cold War pilots flew, trained, and did it again the next day. That was it. Do your job and protect America. You might sit alert on some days, but generally you would go fly and train in the air or maybe the simulator. If you were a USAF pilot in the 60’s and 70’s, you flew.
We don’t do that anymore I told him. In the modern fighter squadron we have endless non-flying taskings. I explained to him how I was in charge of the squadron’s plan to move to a new building next month, attending daily meetings and hacking out emails to various technicians and involved parties. It was up to me to ensure everything from cabinets, to communications, to toilet paper was ordered and ready at the new building.