January 27, 2009:
The U.S. Air Force has a pilot shortage, and is taking advantage of the current shortage to entice pilots who recently retired or just left (from the army and navy as well). These officers are invited to come back, at their last rank held, to fly again, or serve in staff positions. In the first two weeks after the program was announced, over a thousand former pilots contacted the air force. The air force has over 2,000 jobs to fill (1,600 of them pilots and the rest staff jobs for certain specialties.) Those seeking flying jobs must be under 60 years old and able to re-qualify for the aircraft they formerly flew (or qualify for new ones.) The air force is also looking for pilots to operate Predator and Reaper UAVs. This job can be done by pilots who, for whatever reason, do not qualify for flight status.
Returning officers will be allowed to sign contracts for as long as four years. Former officers who took bonus payments to leave the air force, would have to return those bonuses before coming back on active duty via the new program. Since air lines (and all companies that provide aircraft, like corporate jets and industrial jobs) are laying off lots of pilots, and not hiring many new ones, the air force offer is appealing.