The Coast Guard Needs Designated Instructor Pilotsan unusually high number of Class-A mishaps, resulting in the loss of not only aircraft, but also the lives of 18 aviators and air crew. This has shaken the community to its core. Perhaps most alarming is the lack of a single causative factor attributed to this unprecedented series of mishaps. The service has thoroughly investigated each incident, and the aviation community immediately responded, but additional steps are warranted to ensure that Coast Guard aviators and air crew can safely and effectively execute their challenging, diverse missions.
Unraveling the Conundrum
A cadre of Coast Guard pilots should be attached to a program similar to those of aeronautical engineers and flight-safety officers, where applicants apply through their commands to a selection panel of experts who thoroughly review records and command endorsements. In theory, this process selects high-caliber aviators to serve in specific billets with significant responsibility, and to develop as professionals in their respective fields.