How does lowering pilot standards affect SOF forces? If you’ve ever been pinned down by gun fire or an overwhelming enemy force in some dark corner of the earth then you know how important air support is, and how much good piloting is appreciated.

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) is now looking into bending the minimum medical standards due to a shortage of both fighter and helicopter pilots.

The vision and hearing requirements are being lowered due to a critical shortage of experienced pilots. The RCAF is struggling to retain their more experienced pilots to fly their fighter jets, SAR aircrafts and helicopters. Eye surgery was allowed a few years ago, as with it was the first time since WWII that the RCAF changed their minimum requirements. I honestly think that this was a very good decision, as eye surgery technology has greatly improved in the recent years. But bending them again because of an experienced pilot shortage, I am not really in favor, especially as there are sufficient pilots getting recruited.

“The RCAF has sufficient pilot recruits and pilots undergoing flying training, but not enough experienced pilots that are required to train new pilots, to mentor less experienced RCAF pilots,” said Maj. James Simiana to the National Post last Friday.

The RCAF is presently accepting their retired pilots back in service, alongside British military pilots who were recently laid-off.

Terry Chester, Air Force Association of Canada national president and former RCAF pilot, is right on one point: if there are no available pilots, the RCAF would become redundant.

But is it the best possible solution? I don’t really think so.

I recently wrote an article for SOFREP about the Canadian Armed Forces problems with fat kids. We are already bending the minimum standards for almost all CAF recruits. Are we going to always lower them to fill in our ranks? I hope not.