Air Transportation: January 22, 2002


The Army's aviation branch is caught in a crossfire between an aging aircraft fleet that is harder to keep flying and a lack of money to buy new aircraft. Aircraft mechanics have to work nights and weekends to keep their birds in the air, and even so aircraft availability and readiness rates are falling. The departure of hundreds of skilled mechanics and technicians every year during the Clinton Administration hurt deeply, but morale has not improved under the Bush Administration due to the long work hours. The economic downturn after the 11 September terrorist attacks has left many soldiers without the attractive option of better paying civilian jobs.--Stephen V Cole


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