Luke AFB Facing Shortage Of Combat Pilot Instructors

By Holliday Moore
Published: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 3:45pm
Updated: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 3:47pm

For more than a year, Luke Air Force Base has faced a critical pilot shortage.

In 2017, a Brigadier General called the U.S. Air Force's 2,000-pilot shortfall a "national crisis," and launched a five-year initiative to recruit and retain pilots at bases nationwide.

A year into the program, a 1,500-pilot shortage remains.

At Luke Air Force Base, the largest fighter wing in the U.S. Air Force, 26 of its 84 F-16 and 16 of its 101 F-35 instructor positions are still open.

Luke has ramped up training to get more combat pilots by staggering the six-month training in three groups of 10 students at a time.

For its part, the Air Force is increasing pay to retain pilots and their administrators.

Staffing should be at 95 percent by its fiscal year 2023.