The Air Force will miss the projected number of new pilots it hoped to train in fiscal 2023, falling roughly 120 aviators short of its goals at least partly due to mechanical issues with training aircraft.
With little more than a week until the fiscal year ends Sept. 30, the Air Force is set to finish with 1,350 new aviators instead of 1,470, according to 19th Air Force spokesman Benjamin Faske.
The service has averaged around 1,300 new pilots each year for nearly a decade. Recent shortages have been attributed to a range of issues such as delays in getting new engines into T-38 Talon training jets, a lack of instructors and longer waiting times for fresh airmen.
The 19th Air Force commander, Maj. Gen. Clark Quinn, in an emailed statement to Military.com, said the T-38 Talon training jet engine issue has harmed the Air Force's schedule of getting budding pilots the experience they need.
“The specific problem with the engines, it's been about a year and a half to two years now,” Quinn said in the emailed statement. “We dialed back flying hours just a little over a year ago. It has not gotten worse, but it has also not gotten better. It's pretty much stagnated where it is.”
Additionally, thunderstorms that ran through Oklahoma this summer damaged more than a dozen T-6A Texans, a two-seat training aircraft that…