The National Commission on Military Aviation Safety this week released a report on aviation accidents from 2013-2018, showing that inadequate management and often-overlooked shortfalls in training and experience can be tied to a surge in accidents, some of them deadly.
"Old jets make us work our people harder. We have to work them to death. That's a safety issue. We burn them out," one Navy official said, describing the chronic fatigue and burnout associated with supporting aging aircraft year after year.
"So much is being required of [instructor pilots] at the unit, and we have a shortage of IPs, and they are getting burned out. That's why our retention rates suck," added an Army pilot, speaking to the reason pilots weigh leaving the service.
A Marine Corps aviator was perhaps the most candid: "My kids don't know who I am" due to deployments, exercises, and perpetually long work days. "They don't know when I am going to be home. That stuff leads to the burnout and distraction while flying."
These were some of the uncensored comments military aviators and crewmembers offered within the commission's comprehensive report, released Dec. 3.