Living in the Shreveport / Bossier City area is like a dream come true for me.  The air above us is constantly filled with the amazing planes that call Barksdale Air Force Base home - The B-52 Stratofortress.  We also see the B-52's buddies come to hang out with regular frequency.  It's not out of the ordinary to see AWACS, F15s, F16s, F117As, B-2s and more filling the wild blue yonder above our heads.

B-52G Stratofortress aircraft
Getty Images

Those skies might get a little less crowded unless the U.S. Air Force can fill some major gaps in the number of freshly trained pilots.  Last year, the USAF was short 750 fly girls and boys!  This is the biggest deficit in recent years, but not the first.  In 2015, we were short 511 pilots.

The reason?  Commercial airlines are hiring more and more pilots at younger ages, and offering bigger paychecks.  Don't worry, the Air Force has a plan.  They are taking a threefold approach to fix the gaping pilot hole - reducing the number of fighter pilot requirements, boosting retention and increasing the number of new pilots.

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