While flying a segment of an airline trip a few weeks ago I spoke with one of my company's senior pilot training managers. He was on his way to an Air Force Reserve conference in Texas and remarked that 1997 probably would be the biggest year for airline pilot hiring in history. Our company alone forecasts hiring more than 400 pilots, many from the military. The Air Force already is short pilots in some aircraft types and retention is poor. In fact, the Air Force is offering three- or four-year tours to Air National Guard pilots to fill active-duty training command instructor seats, or to take remote hardship tours with subsequent choice of active duty assignments. The pilot retention problem is going to get worse in the active-duty services and eventually will affect the Reserves and Guard as well. The primary causes are a reduction in quality of life, because of increased operational tempo, and poor senior leadership.