Fewer flight students to train at Fort Rucker
The Dothan (Ala.) Eagle
Fort Rucker is expecting about a 20-percent cut in the number of aviation soldiers it trains in the current fiscal year as a result of budget cuts expected Army wide.
A Fort Rucker Public Affairs statement said the post will see a budget cut of $138 million in Fiscal Year 2014, which results in the 20-percent drop in soldiers. The statement said the number of Army civilians is not expected to change.
“Obviously, a decrease in student training will have an impact across the spectrum of training here, both initial entry and advance aircraft training,” the statement read. “However, the graduate-level courses such as instructor pilot and maintenance test pilot, etc., have not been affected.”
A change in the number of flight students appears the latest challenge military personnel have faced amid furloughs and the potential for fewer flight hours before. Earlier in the spring, Department of the Army officials announced an estimated 500 pilots and 37,000 flight hours were expected to be cut from Fort Rucker.
While that number was later restored, it was unclear Monday how many flight students make up the 20-percent cut. In a previous Dothan Eagle report, Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno said 620 flight students would have been waiting for training in this fiscal year.
Odierno said then that he believed the potential loss of 500 student pilots would result in 250 fewer helicopters that could be occupied.
The announcement of fewer flight students also comes after a letter posted to the Local Lodge 2003 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Worker’s website on Friday that said Army Fleet Support was expected to cut 250 to 300 positions as a result of fewer flight hours.