At the beginning of fiscal year 1997, the Navy's Director of Aviation Manpower and Training initiated a study to assess the Navy's aviation manpower program. Dubbed the Health of Naval Aviation (Manpower), it provided aviation leaders the first opportunity to review the aviation manpower continuum, from an end-to-end perspective, since the force structure drawdown and base realignment initiatives of the mid-1990s. In addition, the study provided out-year projections of pilot and naval flight officer (NFO) inventories compared with requirements.
The study results raised significant concerns. Because of accession reductions in response to force structure decreases, multiple year-group populations of pilots and NFOs were significantly below requirement, and failure to meet annual training requirements resulted in a pipeline that exceeded the prescribed and budgeted time-to-train (TTT).
Recognizing the downward spiral had to be stopped, aviation leaders launched a series of initiatives to improve aircraft readiness and manpower production. This article focuses on those initiatives directly affecting the flight training process