ICYMI: Changes to Restricted Release Periods (Pilots)

Magazine Article / March 1, 2020

If you are a RCAF pilot, or are a currently serving Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) member considering an occupational transfer to pilot, there have been some changes made to the Restricted Release Period (RRP) for Pilots that may affect you. These changes came into effect on the date of release of CANFORGEN 166/19.

Feedback from the pilot community had clearly indicated that the former RRP structure had a negative impact on members posted outside of Canada and on those undergoing a requalification or conversion to an alternate airframe. Given that feedback, and with consideration of the effects of this policy, the CAF modified some of its restricted release periods for pilots. For one example, an OUTCAN posting will no longer be subject to a three-year restricted release period upon return, that had been imposed under the previous policy.

The changes to the policy will affect different pilots in different ways, depending on individual employment circumstances. The new RRP will primarily apply to those pilots who enroll or complete an occupational transfer after the date of the CANFORGEN’s release. The majority of our already-serving pilots will be grandfathered under their existing periods. For some, the RCAF may consider supporting, on a case-by-case basis, a waiver of release restrictions providing it is consistent with the new policy. This measure will go a long way to helping the RCAF receive a good return on the significant investment it makes in training its pilots and to better deliver operational results.

It is anticipated that actions such as this ─ implemented under OP EXPERIENCE ─ will ultimately contribute to stabilizing and growing levels of pilot experience within the RCAF.

For more details on the changes to the RRP for Pilots, see the full article located at: http://www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca/en/magazines/rcaf-perspectives.page

Most pilots, other than those who are identified below, will not be subject to a new restricted release period. Here are the changes:

  • Pilots posted to OUTCAN designated flying positions will be subject to a restricted release period that ends on the tour expiry date, as specified in their posting message. This cancels the three-year period that previously would have been imposed after their return to Canada.
  • Pilots requiring recertification training will be subject to a one-year restricted release period, a decrease from the original two-year period.
  • Pilots attending an operational training unit (OTU) for their initial employment on a specific aircraft type will keep their current restricted release period of three years, with the exception of pilots posted to the following units where no restricted release period is imposed:
    • 2 or 3 Canadian Forces Flying Training School, as instructors
    • 419 Tactical Fighter (Training) Squadron, as instructors; or
    • 431 (Air Demonstration) Squadron as air demonstration pilots.
    • Note: A pilot who proceeds from one of these units to a new fleet for which he/she has not been previously qualified would incur a restricted release period as outlined above (i.e. for attending an OTU). A pilot returning to a fleet with a refresher does not incur a new period nor does a pilot undergoing a mandated conversion when a fleet changes (i.e. Sea King to Cyclone).
  • Newly enrolling pilots, and serving CAF members undergoing an occupation transfer to pilot, will now be subject to an initial restricted release period of ten years, an increase from the current seven.

For new pilots, the terms of service will be updated with a variable initial engagement (VIE) that accounts for these changes under the following entry programs:

  • Direct Entry Officer (DEO) and Continuing Education Officer Training Plan (CEOTP) programs - 13 years
  • Regular Officer Training Plan (ROTP) - 17 years
  • CAF-subsidized Seneca College Aviation Technology baccalaureate program (CEOTP-AEAD) - 15 years.

These changes will allow the RCAF to protect its initial investment on the training of its new pilots and also ensure that these members will be able to contribute to operations as well as help train the next generation of pilots.

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