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Non-Commissioned Pilots in the RCAF Discussion

SupersonicMax

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My next question is related to trg/OTU bottleneck. If anyone has insight into the pilot side of the FAcT project, would you give FAcT a thumbs-up, or thumbs-down rating (overly simplified but...) and why? Training in FAcT is supposed to (the last I heard) converge and include "crew" training for the involved trades...if it isn't going to work well for one, that will impact the others.
Given the RFP went out last month, I don’t think we have a solid idea of what will be provided. I would be curious to see what the RFP says though!
 

Good2Golf

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I participated in that OA. It was primarily budget focused for practical purposes, with secondary considerations
I think it's been well argued that in our current environment, NCM pilots would not help with any of our issues therefore there is no value in creating a pilot NCM trade. A dual stream (at the officer level - this should be addressed in the next pay review for pilots) would fix the issues an NCM pilot stream could potentially solve (career captains).
Thats a facile interpretation, Max. If you're saying NCMs wouldn't resolve the "current situation" (OTF/OTU backlogs and disproportionately high pre-OFP composition of established positions), that's a foregone conclusion as it would no doubt take CMP and the RCAF together until the F-35 is due for its mid-life upgrade, to get the pers structure adjusted to support NCM pilots. The RCAF isn't even considering 'Specialist Aircrew' (like the RAF Flt.Lt and Sqn.Ldr-for-life types. You continue to believe it boils down to pay, and I think that isn't true. I know a number of NCM aircrew who CFR'd and fly now, and they all said that they would also have been quite happy to keep flying as an NCM doing what they do. At the very least, I would say that "non-yellow" CH-146 and the CH-147F would able to be supported by NCMs pilots.

Regards
G2G
 

SupersonicMax

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Pay is not the only factor but, after reviewing data on release interviews, it is one of the biggest dissatisfiers for people. The CAF can’t move base and can’t change QoL to the level people would like (the missions still need to happen - workload can’t decrease significantly) therefore pay is probably the only big dissatisfiers the CAF can influence.
Sure, NCMs could fly aircraft. But in our context, it would not improve our situation. If we want to pursue the “technical” stream, there are means within our processes to make that happen (CAG-level decision wrt postings, removal from merit list), albeit informally. Many whom I considered extremely competent pilots left the CAF because of money, QOL and location. The vast majority said they would come back if the pay is along the lines of what I proposed.
Regardless of rank, what the CAF offers has to be more attractive than what the industry offers. People don’t join solely out of patriotism anymore.
 

Eye In The Sky

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Given the RFP went out last month, I don’t think we have a solid idea of what will be provided. I would be curious to see what the RFP says though!

I'm also curious what the draft looked like. I read somewhere the expected throughput for pilot production under FAcT was supposed to increase slightly (in the 105-120 annually range). I'm not sure what current production is.

Anyone curious about FAcT, here's a link to the PSPC FAcT Program page.
 

Messerschmitt

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I posted this earlier:


View attachment 64356
Is this your own doing? Or did you get this from somewhere official? I was hearing about a new pay scale that supposedly is actually in the works and was going to hit this new fiscal year (although improbable because of covid some say)

Have you heard anything about that? Absolutely nothing official about a new pay structure, just hear say and people posting payscales in another forum.
 

SupersonicMax

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This is my own doing, what I believe would be a fair market payscale for pilots, targeted at keeping people after certain gates.
 

Zoomie

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Op Experience specifically addresses Pilot retention, of which one focus is realignment of RCAF pilot pay scale with industry standard. This OP is very much still in motion, along with Op Talent.
 

SupersonicMax

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Sure, we’ve all heard the rumours. But AFAIK, nothing concrete was put forth regarding pay increase nor initiatives related to Op EXPERIENCE for that matter (after 2 years!!!). Either internal communications are ineffective or not much has been done. Even status updates on the various Op EXPERIENCE initiatives would be seen in a positive light.
 

Weinie

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This is my own doing, what I believe would be a fair market payscale for pilots, targeted at keeping people after certain gates.
Just out of curiosity, would a pilot, under your proposed payscales, maintain these rates of pay, if they were deemed unfit to no longer fly?
 

Eaglelord17

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They don't even need to try and make a new payscale, if they really wanted to they could just set it up to give signing bonuses like they can be authorized to, just make it a lump sum signed with every contract and pay out over the length of the contract yearly or semi-yearly to make up the difference.

Out of curiosity though how are CAF pilots doing in comparison to civvy pilots at the moment on pay? I imagine they are in a much better situation with this pandemic.
 

SupersonicMax

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Just out of curiosity, would a pilot, under your proposed payscales, maintain these rates of pay, if they were deemed unfit to no longer fly?
Under CAF policy, I think they would maintain their pay. Because they are unfit for the CAF doesn’t mean they would be unfit in Transport Canada’s eyes. And we still need pilot staff officers.
 

Zoomie

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Out of curiosity though how are CAF pilots doing in comparison to civvy pilots at the moment on pay? I imagine they are in a much better situation with this pandemic.
Highest IPC Captain (pilot) is making about what a 5 year co-Pilot makes at AC. They are all still making that kind of money due to a very strong union at Big Red. The only pilots furloughed at AC were those under 3-4 years seniority (ie those still on fixed pay).
 

dapaterson

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Keep in mind that since the Treasury Board ministers approve CAF pay rates, any proposal to amend them is a Cabinet Confidence and should not be shared outside of those with a need to know before it is approved.

Senior leaders occasionally forget who holds what authority, and should probably err on the side of not sharing ideas they lack the legal authority to implement... Building expectations and making promises with timelines they don't control brews dissatisfaction.

There's also much more work in changing rates of pay to align with changing marketplace demands than in reflecting inflation.
 

Weinie

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Under CAF policy, I think they would maintain their pay. Because they are unfit for the CAF doesn’t mean they would be unfit in Transport Canada’s eyes. And we still need pilot staff officers.
You are likely right. But if they are unfit for CAF service, they should be released, and then, if still fit in TC's eyes, they could feed in to the supply and demand for civilian pilots.

As to staff officers, where do you draw the line? How do you rationalize paying a pilot who flies for two years, gets broken, and then serves for 27 more in a staff position, with an artificially elevated (in his/her case) salary that now no longer reflects current experience/value? Wouldn't the new Air Ops O be a better solution to billets currently being filled by out of seat/trade pilots, thus increasing the aval pool of pilots?

I am not trying to be argumentative here. Rather, I am trying to understand how you can equate market forces, which value a commodity, to deal with this. Market forces have some influence, but are not all-encompassing.

I have watched the CAF throw money at a variety of occupations and trades in an effort to be competitive with the civilian market. ( Medical, Dental, Legal and SOF all come to mind). In some cases, it had a temporary effect, but people still left, for a number of reasons. Economics was sometimes a factor, but not all the time.

Your suggestion would mitigate some of the problem, but probably not enough to make a noticeable difference.
 

SupersonicMax

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Well, it could be mitigated by having lower salaries while someone builds experience (as in my proposed pay scale) to avoid this. Someone with 10+ years of experience as a pilot is likely still extremely useful in staff job. That expertise is not lost. COT to Air Ops for unfit pilots is an option but that pay would stick (bit not increase).
 

FJAG

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Well, it could be mitigated by having lower salaries while someone builds experience (as in my proposed pay scale) to avoid this. Someone with 10+ years of experience as a pilot is likely still extremely useful in staff job. That expertise is not lost. COT to Air Ops for unfit pilots is an option but that pay would stick (bit not increase).
That really depends on the staff job. There are very few where the expertise in flying actually matters. Most are administrative jobs that basically push paper around.

Sorry. I just don't buy into the "throw money at the problem" scenario. We can make the same argument for virtually any skilled trade right down to infantry, tankers and gunners. Their situation differs in that there is no great civilian job market to draw them away.

If you need to pay people for flying in order to keep them in the flying field away from the civilian job market then make it a flight allowance which is only payable to those actually flying. It incentivizes staying in or going back to flying positions where the need is. A grounded staff officer looses his marketability. Personally I'd rather see the excess money paid to hiring many more skilled maintainers (and spare parts) for the squadrons than feeding already fat staff officers' pocketbooks. (Air Force - 2,900 officers (not counting those in other headquarters etc); 9,800 NCMs - o_O)

Oops. My cynicism is showing again.

:D
 

Zoomie

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I don’t know any dedicated Pilot staff officer positions that involve pushing paper around. Most are tactical level operations positions that require experienced operators (ie Pilot, ACSO, AEC). Ottawa is a different story as I have zero clue what happens there - probably lots of short days and dry cleaning DEU.

If a pilot goes on PCAT and loses their medical, they are released or offered COT. We don’t employ career Captains in a staff job - they will always eventually be pulled back to their flying community by their respective SOAs.

Penalizing a Pilot by going to a staff job (ie removing pay more than just flight pay) would cause our ranks to hemorrhage even more as every pilot will enjoy a staff tour eventually.
 

Weinie

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I don’t know any dedicated Pilot staff officer positions that involve pushing paper around. Most are tactical level operations positions that require experienced operators (ie Pilot, ACSO, AEC). Ottawa is a different story as I have zero clue what happens there - probably lots of short days and dry cleaning DEU.

If a pilot goes on PCAT and loses their medical, they are released or offered COT. We don’t employ career Captains in a staff job - they will always eventually be pulled back to their flying community by their respective SOAs.

Penalizing a Pilot by going to a staff job (ie removing pay more than just flight pay) would cause our ranks to hemorrhage even more as every pilot will enjoy a staff tour eventually.
That was not my point.

And yes, you have (probably fortunately) little awareness of the sheer amount of staff jobs filled by operators from all arms, including pilots, that exist in Ottawa. I am 100% confident that the staff jobs at Sqn level are both meaningful and relevant, likely the same could be said for some percentage of jobs at Wing/Division. But my conversations with most folks during my last 15 years at NDHQ (yes I know) lead me to believe that there are a shitload of pilot guys/gals (from Capt to Col) who would rather be flying. (and most of whom will never pilot an AC again). They are filling staff jobs that could be better filled by others, but the RCAF has determined that only a Pilot can fill that spot. (hmmmmm...trying to keep PML numbers doesn't necessarily translate into a long-term retention strategy.)
 
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Eye In The Sky

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If you need to pay people for flying in order to keep them in the flying field away from the civilian job market then make it a flight allowance which is only payable to those actually flying. It incentivizes staying in or going back to flying positions where the need is.

The sounds like Aircrew Allowance...and it isn't much. Aircrew Allowance (AIRCRA) isn't based on trade, but on points (every month you are in a flying position and collect AIRCRA= 1 point, basically).

Should pilots make more AIRCRA than the other Commissioned/Non-commissioned aircrew trades? I say "no"; they already make more than me and other Aircrew trades of comparable rank by virtue of the Pilot pay table amounts.

Ref: the topic of "should pilots maintain vested rights to pay for COT (Medical)"...why not? The rest of the CAF does.
 

Weinie

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The sounds like Aircrew Allowance...and it isn't much. Aircrew Allowance (AIRCRA) isn't based on trade, but on points (every month you are in a flying position and collect AIRCRA= 1 point, basically).

Should pilots make more AIRCRA than the other Commissioned/Non-commissioned aircrew trades? I say "no"; they already make more than me and other Aircrew trades of comparable rank by virtue of the Pilot pay table amounts.

Ref: the topic of "should pilots maintain vested rights to pay for COT (Medical)"...why not? The rest of the CAF does.
I asked that question. We have been debating whether or not Pilots should be paid more from a retention standpoint. Their actual value to the institution is as a pilot, their value to external market forces is as a pilot. If they can not fulfill that value equation, then their desirability (market value) drops significantly. You wouldn't pay a high-precision welder with nervous tics a lot of money.
 
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