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​Capt. Brendhan Goss makes eye contact with his crew chief during a preflight inspection before closing the canopy on an A-10C Thunderbolt II Aug. 13, 2010, at Moody AFB, Ga. Air Force photo by A1C Benjamin Wiseman.

​The coming shortfall of pilots, both in the military and in the private sector, could develop into a national crisis if not addressed, according to the head of Air Mobility Command. Gen. Carlton Everhart, in an op-ed posted Tuesday on Military.com, writes that about 1,600 mobility pilots are eligible to leave the military in the next four-plus years, at a time when the command is already short by more than 300 pilots. At the same time, commercial airlines are expected to be short by about 16,000 pilots by 2020. “The math demonstrates the challenge is not looming, it is here,” Everhart wrote. “The time to find solutions is now.” Pilots can be attracted to the private sector because it means more time at home, newer equipment, and the “potential to achieve balance.” And if these pilots do not decide to keep serving in the Reserve or Air National Guard “that problem becomes a crisis,” Everhart wrote. “If our airmen don’t continue to serve with our Total Force partners, the Active force will face additional strain.” The pilot shortfall in the fighter force has been a public problem for years, there needs to be a national dialogue to address the strain, said Everhart.

See also: Pilot Shortage Back with a Vengeance from the August 2016 issue of Air Force Magazine.