On March 31, 2021, I posted USAF: Diversity And Inclusion Lessons, which documents some of the woke insanity currently infecting, and debilitating, our armed forces. In that article, Lt. General Brad Webb, commander of the Air Force Education and Training Command, said:
One of the other areas in line with that has been aptitude tests. In fact, the chief mentioned that one as well in his talk the other day. But we are deep underway, updating pilot tests and also officer candidate tests that, at its root, you know, you get a weighted score … if you have a private pilot license. Well, that’s a socioeconomic influencer. In other words, if you’re rich enough to afford to have private pilot time, you can get a license. That ought not be weighted in such a way that you exclude, you know, various ethnic groups.’
Webb, commander of training for the USAF, is causing the Air Force to give little—more likely no—preference to pilot candidates who have shown the dedication and determination necessary to earn a pilot’s license—people who can actually fly! In that article, I noted:
It’s hard to express how alarming this is. USAF pilots have, until now, been among the most stringently vetted people in our military. They need, at minimum a bachelor’s degree, and get positive points for degrees, including advanced degrees, in aeronautical engineering, hard sciences, math and related fields. They must be in top physical condition, able to withstand the stresses of high-g flight, and they must be unusually psychologically stable. Obviously, anyone with a civilian pilot’s license should, if they qualify in every other way, get preference. That training will help lower costs and training time, and should check a number of vetting boxes. Pilots are, with some exceptions, officers, and even after their initial vetting, some don’t make it through Officer training school, and more fail pilot training. No one incapable of high-level math is going to pass pilot training, and our schools aren’t turning out many of those. No race is denied the opportunity to qualify for these slots, and no woman is denied–by regulation and law.
It’s just another example of how wokeness, a central component of which is the utter destruction of merit, is damaging America. Why would anyone want to do away with merit, particularly in a field like flying fighter aircraft? Because it violates the lunatic principle of equality of outcome. If merit is recognized, some people—actually most—are not going to be good enough to fly F-35s. This is going to be particularly true for people who did not apply themselves physically or academically in school, or whose cultures actually rejected academic accomplishment. If the institutional goal is ensuring such people fly F-35s regardless of ability and demonstrated competence—merit—we’re going to lose a lot of F-35s, pilots and wars.
With the USAF leading the way, is it any surprise the airline are following along? Megan Fox at PJ Media reports:
United Airlines is taking a bizarre business risk and announcing to the world that it will no longer hire the best pilots available but will instead make sure that 50% of their trainees for flying you around the world will be women and minorities—talent and skill be damned. I’m not making this up. I wish I were.
Their website details this diversity commitment with more wokespeak than I can usually tolerate in one paragraph.
Today, United has one of the most diverse pilot populations of any U.S. carrier with nearly 20% of our pilot group made up of women and people of color. We are working toward raising that number even higher by partnering with diversity-led organizations and continuing to remove gender and racial barriers. And we’re going one step further with plans for 50% of United Aviate Academy students being women and people of color to ensure our students reflect the diversity of the customers and communities we serve.
I suspect United Airlines is going to experience a rather rapid decline in booked seats, as well it should. Americans tend to think the people piloting the aircraft in which they are packed, sardine-like, really ought to be the best pilots available. United is going to do all it can to put “women and people of color” in pilot seats. Having made that decision, to what degree will merit matter, if it matters at all? Suppose a large number of those female and people of color candidates flame out? How could United possibly explain that? Or will United simply ensure they don’t drop out regardless of their abilities and performance? Once diversity becomes an organization’s operating principle, what room is there for safety, which one might think somewhat important where flying pressurized aluminum tubes full of people at 600 MPH many miles high is concerned?
Pertinent question for United: How, exactly, does focusing on gender and race in hiring improve safety? And no “diversity and inclusion magically improve everything!” nonsense.
Keep in mind people become airline pilots in relatively few ways. Perhaps the smallest number come from the ranks of people who have worked hard and spent their own money to earn private pilot licenses racking up a considerable number of flight hours. A goodly number come from former military aviators, and why not? Until recently, they were highly vetted, accomplished, and capable people who flew, in many cases, military versions of the same aircraft the airlines fly, and had plenty of hours in those types. Their training is virtually always less lengthy and expensive as a result of those qualifications. In addition, the airlines can be assured they have the demonstrated experience to understand the necessity of a chain of command, and are disciplined, capable, reliable people. Others come from the ranks of people who earned college degrees in aviation related fields, which usually comes with a pilot’s license.
Regardless of a candidate’s background, they must pass the comprehensive training of the airline that hires them, and most spend time flying small, regional jets, beginning as a First Officer, eventually working their way up to Captain, a process that normally takes years. Even former military pilots who were aircraft commanders spend time in the copilot’s seat, as they learn the different procedures and rules of airline flying, to say nothing of the difference between military and civilian versions of the same airframe, which are usually considerable.
If, gentle readers, you’re getting the idea no one sits in a pilot’s seat without proving to be stable, reliable, cool under pressure, and highly capable, you’re beginning to understand the process. In addition, such people have to demonstrate those qualities, and more, over time, and many, many flight hours. Keep in mind too, pilots don’t begin to make a living wage until they become at least copilots in the major airlines. Getting there takes uncommon dedication, willingness to delay gratification and sheer force of character. Hmmm. Could that be why relatively few people of either gender—only two–or any race ever sit those seats?
Am I suggesting women and “people of color”—what an odd, euphemistic formulation forced on us by racist tribalists—cannot successfully and safely pilot aircraft? Certainly not.
Take for example, Col. Kimberly Campbell, AKA “KC—Killer Chick.” Campbell flew the A-10 in combat and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for bringing safely home her badly battle damaged aircraft. She now teaches at the Air Force Academy, her alma mater.
Or consider Tammie Jo Schults, one of the first female Navy fighter pilots, who not only flew the F-18, but was an instructor pilot. Never allowed to fly in combat, as an instructor, she did fly aggressor, simulating the tactics of America’s enemies in dogfight training. After retiring from the Navy, she became a pilot for Southwest. On April 17, 2018, the port (left) engine of her Boeing 737 disintegrated at 32,000 feet, damaging the aircraft and breaching the cabin. She expertly brought the aircraft under control, dove to a breathable altitude, and diverted to the nearest airport where she performed a textbook landing. recordings reveal her speaking with air traffic control as though having a relaxed conversation over coffee.
After landing, she took the time to speak with every passenger. That’s class; that’s courage; that’s customer service. That’s a pilot.
But what about non-white aviators? They’ve blazed brilliant contrails in military and civilian aviation. A good example is the Tuskegee Airmen, as History.com explains:
The Tuskegee Airmen were the first Black military aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corps (AAC), a precursor of the U.S. Air Force. Trained at the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama, they flew more than 15,000 individual sorties in Europe and North Africa during World War II. Their impressive performance earned them more than 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and helped encourage the eventual integration of the U.S. armed forces.
The issue is not whether people other than white men can safely fly airliners. That question has long ago been answered. The question is, whether in the age of woke, competence and safety will matter less—dangerously less—than ticking off gender and race boxes in Human Resource computers. I’m only surprised United has not specifically said they’re going to give preference to LGBTQWERTY candidates, though I suspect that box is going to be awaiting a check mark as well.
Reality and experience dictate when diversity and inclusion—gender, sexual orientation and race—drive hiring, training, job placement and promotion, formerly rigorous standards must be dumbed down, often considerably. Because such people can’t do things? No. Because those in charge have decided diversity and inclusion are more important than merit and accomplishment, and if the diverse beneficiaries of such policies are judged by standards of merit and accomplishment, a great many are not going to succeed, which calls into question the existence of those policies and the merit of those choosing to apply them.
As I’ve often written, Democrat/Socialist/Communist policies cannot possibly be wrong, and no matter how often or badly they fail, the polices, or the people who formulate them cannot be wrong, so someone or something else must be to blame. In other words, even when diversity hires fail at the cost of lives, diversity hiring—ignoring merit and safety in favor of virtue signaling—cannot possibly be to blame, lest those responsible for implementing it be found wanting.
Keep that in mind when airliners with diversity hires at the controls begin to auger in.