US Air Force Faces Shortage of Fighter Jet Mechanics
The United States Air Force has a shortage of mechanics to provide support for its fighter airplanes.
VOA recently reported that the Air Force has 725 fighter pilots less than the 3,500 it is permitted to have. It is training about 135 more fighter pilots this year than in 2014. But it will be a long time before they are ready for action.
Pilots must train for years -- at a cost of millions of dollars -- before they have enough experience to fly fighter jets.
The fighter pilot shortage is happening at a time when private airline companies are adding pilots. Private airlines pay more and their pilots spend less time away from home.
Two Air Force generals told VOA that the military is still able to meet the demands for fighter jet support. But they added that unless more pilots choose a career in the Air Force, the service will soon be unable to meet the demands of top commanders. They warn that this could possibly affect both U.S. troops and civilians.
But even if the Air Force can train and keep jet fighter pilots, it must have enough mechanics to maintain the jets. And right now it has a shortage of more than 3,000 of these maintainers.
Mechanics at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in the state of Virginia have much work to do. They help keep F-22 Raptor jets flying. They also work on the T-38 Talon -- a jet that is about 50 years old and must often be repaired.
This Air Force fighter pilot says the mechanics work hard.
"Maybe once a day to once every other day we'll bring back a jet that needs, has some kind of issue that needs to get fixed by our maintenance before it can get launched back up. So even at night when we're not flying, they're workin' on the planes and making sure that they're ready to go for the next day."
This senior airman is one of the mechanics.
"We all understand that the whole ‘(do) more with less' is, is happening, but I mean it, regardless, jets have to fly. So we're gonna make it happen, but yeah there's, there's definitely pain in that process."
Air Force Lieutenant General John Cooper works on ways to train and keep pilots and mechanics.
"We were livin', you know, on the edge with our maintainers for a long time, but we were able to accomplish the mission."
Now, General Cooper says budget cuts have made his job much harder. But he says the Air Force has begun enlisting and training new fighter jet mechanics. And he says if the budget does not get smaller, the shortage will end in 2021.
I'm Christopher Jones-Cruise.
1.a shortage of 缺少；短缺
A shortage of funds is preventing the UN from monitoring relief
2.Air Force 空军
I'm still in the air force, though I'll be demobbed in a couple of months.
3.fighter jet 战斗机
This is not the world's most advanced fighter jet.
4.at a cost of 花费；以...为代价
The new shopping centre was constructed at a cost of 1.1 million.
1.Private airlines pay more and their pilots spend less time away from home.
away from home 离家；出门在外
She's been away from home for many years.
Both of my sisters moved even farther away from home.
2.Now, General Cooper says budget cuts have made his job much harder.
budget cuts 预算缩减
The department has been shrinking year by year because of budget cuts.
Greece and Ireland have made heroic budget cuts.
近期，美国之音报道称，空军需要3500名战斗机飞行员，然而现在还有725个名额空缺 。与2014年相比，今年多培训了135名战斗机飞行员 。但是这些飞行员还需要准备很长时间才可以参加行动 。
民用航空公司的飞行员需求不断增加致空军战斗机飞行员紧缺 。民用航空公司付的薪水更高，而且飞行员不用长时间离家 。
两位空军将军对美国之音表示，目前军方尚且能够满足战斗机的作战需求 。然而他们还说，除非越来越多的飞行员到空军服役，否则很快将无法满足高级指挥官的作战需求 。他们警告说，这对军队和民众都将产生重大的影响 。
然而，即使空军能够培训并留住战斗机飞行员，还需要充足的机械师来维护喷气式飞机 。目前，空军缺至少3000名机械师 。
在弗吉尼亚州兰利-尤斯蒂斯联合基地的维修师们工作负担繁重 。他们既要照看F-22战机，又要保养有着大约50年机龄、修理频繁的T-38喷气式教练机 。
他说，“大概每天一次或者每两天一次，我们就要把一架出了问题的喷气式飞机送过来，让维修人员修理，然后才能重新上天 。所以，即使是晚上我们不飞的时候，他们也在修飞机，好让这些飞机第二天能起飞 。”
他说：“我们都明白，现在的处境是人少事多，无论如何，飞机必须起飞 。所以，我们会尽力而为 。但是，这一过程一定困难重重 。”
空军中将约翰·库珀（John Cooper）负责培训和管理飞行员及机械师 。
库珀中将表示，国会缩减预算让他的工作更加棘手 。但他表示，空军已经着手招募和培训新的战斗机机械师 。他还说，如果预算不减少的话，这种人员短缺状态将在2021年结束 。