An entire generation of AvCad/Pre-Flight/V-5 pilots has moved on. Conspicuous by their absence, too, are many pilots of this generation, whom the Nary confidently expected to retain. If the cockpits are to be filled, a lot of hard questions have to be asked. Why, for example, should flight training qualification be a matter of degree—a college degree?
Each of the 539 flight students who were recently dropped from the pilot training program involuntarily had performed satisfactorily. Each was released “without prejudice” (indicating eligibility to re-enter the program at a later date if any so desire). Of this number, 51 were in advanced training and within five to six months of winning their Navy wings. This action was necessary to meet force reductions required by 1 July 1971. The national economy has slowed its overall pace and is accompanied by reduced commercial airline recruiting of military pilots and the laying off of some 2,000 pilots between January 1970 and July 1971.