This is an excerpt from the chapter entitled "Diversity and the Pilot Shortage":
I have shared the history of the flight officers in the Tuskegee Airmen’s ranks not only as an interesting historical fact but to point out that this was one way that was successfully used to increase diversity in the flying ranks before the Air Force became a separate Service.
In 2018 flight officers/warrant officers are being considered once again as an answer to the pilot shortage. It raises the question of why flight officers/warrant officers weren’t previously considered as a remedy to the long-standing shortage of minority pilots. That question almost answers itself. The Air Force’s pilot shortage wasn’t a crisis worthy of crisis-level responses until there weren’t enough non-minority pilots to put in cockpits.
The Air Force has had a shortage of minority pilots since the Creech era, post-Vietnam targeted drawdown that I refer to in “Black Ceiling” as “the Great Black Out.” In this drawdown, minority fighter pilots were overwhelmingly and disproportionately selected in the Air Force’s fighter pilot cuts. In “Black Ceiling,” I stated that it is the single greatest reason we do not have greater diversity in the Air Force fighter pilot force, at every rank, even today.
The Air Force’s crisis response considerations in 2018 again reinforce the fact that the non-minority pilot shortage is viewed as a crisis, yet the shortage of minority pilots historically has not been.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish