Thursday, November 24, 2005

PLAAF Flight Hours

I previously rounded up some information on the annual number of hours flown by pilots in the PLAAF, the traditional measure of a pilot's proficiency. My comments have apparently expired (thanks Haloscan). I have therefore rounded up the data again.
  • This RAND report (PDF) compares the PLAAF to the ROCAF:
    ROCAF pilots get significantly more flying time each year than do PLAAF airmen. The training standard for Taiwanese fighter pilots is between 150 and 180 hours per year, while PLAAF pilots may as little as 80 hours in the air each year. [36]

    The footnotes offer additional information:
    Published sources such as The Military Balance credit the ROCAF with 180 hours per year and the PLAAF with 80–110 depending on the type of aircraft. ROCAF personnel we talked with told us that their training levels were around 150 hours per year, while the PLAAF’s are often closer to 40–60 hours.

    The source also points out that ROCAF flight training is qualitatively better as well (37).

  • The Jamestown Foundation says PLAAF's non-Sukhoi fighter pilots average 115-125 hours per annum.

  • Bernard Cole's Great Wall at Sea estimates PLAAF pilots get no more than 120 hours (124).

  • David Shambaugh's Modernizing China's Military explains the PLAAF keeps flight hours low to minimize accidents (as backward as the idea may be) and because pilots are given minimal amounts of fuel to prevent defections (98).