An Active Army Pilots View of Proficiency Training
(Correction of Error - #289A)

July 3, 1999

Comment: #296

Discussion Thread:  #s

  • 288 - Task Force Hawk: Lessons Learned in Albania

  • 289 - The Lose-Lose Dilemma: Why Task Force Hawk is a Paradigm for Fiascos Waiting to Happen

  • 289A - Correction of Error 289


Hunter Keeter, "CODY: APACHE UNITS NEED EQUIPMENT, TRAINING," Defense Daily, 2 July 1999.

This comment corrects a correction and provides additional insight into the question of combat proficiency training for Army helicopter pilots. Please update your files to reflect this change:

In Comment #289A, I corrected an earlier error (in #289) regarding the designation Flying Activity Code 2 (FAC 2), which sets the standard for the number of flying hours required to maintain proficiency for aviators in staff billets in an aviation unit like Task Force Hawk. I said that FAC 2 should have a requirement of 60 hours per year (I had inadvertently typed it as 60 hrs per month). It now appears that the correction was also incorrect.

A CWO2 pilot (now flying OH-58Ds) on this list was kind enough to clarify the matter: FAC 2 implies 60 hours semi-annually or 120 hrs per year or 10 hrs per month. As you can see from his message, the correction does not change the main point -- namely that Army helicopter pilots are not getting enough flying time in a wide enough variety of circumstances to maintain warfighting proficiency -- a point that seems consistent with General Cody's recent testimony before the House Armed Services Committee [see referenced article]  as well as his memo on the lessons learned from the Task Force Hawk deployment [see Comment #288, Attachment #3].

-----[begin CWO2 XXX's correction]-----

Mr. Spinney ...

For what it's worth I just thought I should clarify that "FAC 2" aviators flight hour requirements are different for each airframe flown by the army (as are FAC 1 requirements). But what was misstated in this particular article by yourself, and the individual correcting you, was the time frame of the required minimum hours.

The "60 hours" flight time you both mentioned is a SEMIANNUAL requirement, not monthly as you stated (we'd actually be proficient at our jobs if we got that kind of flight time, which will never happen) or annually as your "corrector" stated. Easy enough to mistake but both give an inaccurate picture of army pilots proficiency requirements.

Flying the OH-58D(I), I am supposed to get a whopping 70 hours every six months. This is about enough to keep us proficient from not killing ourselves. It is nowhere near enough to keep us proficient in our war fighting abilities.

I'm sure the FAC hour requirements went in most ears and out the other, but I just wanted to clarify.

Chuck Spinney

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