Spotlight Back on Military Pilot Training After Accident 年輕飛官執飛F-16V失事 飛官人力訓練受矚

The issue of Taiwan's shortage of fighter pilots is back in the spotlight following the recent F-16V accident. One retired general suggested that the military recruit retired pilots who are still in good physical shape to serve reserve pilots.

On Jan. 11, an F-16V piloted by a young Air Force captain crashed into the ocean during a bomb drop training mission. The long-term issues of the difficulties of training fighter pilots and the shortage of such pilots were thrust back into the spotlight. 

Former Air Force Deputy Commander Chang Yen-ting suggested that the military recruit retired pilots whose physical conditions meet flight fitness standards to form a reserve pilot squadron. Chang used the example of Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation Chairperson Hu Kai-hung. Hu is 62 and a former fighter pilot. When AIDC delivered the second indigenous advanced jet trainer to Taitung, Hu personally co-piloted the aircraft. 

Chang Yen-ting, Former Air Force Deputy Commander: “We spend so much money on training. It takes NT$200 to NT$300 million to reach 3,000 to 4,000 hours of flying time. It would be too much of a pity if these people leave the military and go into the private sector.”

Huang Yang-te, a former F-16 seed instructor, said young pilots should be the targets of an Air Force reserve pilot squadron, so that their future career planning won't be limited by current retirement age regulations. This would also avert the issue of having to strengthen the physical condition of retired pilots and retrain them in plane controls and tactics.

Huang Yang-te, Former Air Force F-16 Seed Instructor: “Some 20 years ago, the first to third groups of seed instructors flew F-16C/D Block 42 planes with the (US) National Guard. If we can emulate the National Guard, then pilots can make decisions when they're still captains or majors about staying in the unit in the long term. If they decide to stay, they'll continue flying, and that'll be the best result.”

Chang said for the reserve force, the military can consider the retirement age of 65 years for civil aviation pilots, while Huang said the current retirement age for instructors is 58. Air defense capabilities can be reinforced by using retired officers or extending the service period for pilots. However, all this will ultimately depend on the Ministry of National Defense's personnel planning and military requirements.








前空軍F-16種子教官黃揚德說:「在二十幾年前我們的種子教官的,第一批到第三批的種子教官,是在(美國)國民兵飛,第42批次 F-16C/D如果可以仿效國民兵,其實他可以在上尉少校的時候就做了決定,他要長時間留在這個部隊裡面,留下來就是要飛行,發揮到最大的成效。」