HC Deb 10 November 1954 vol 532 cc1174-5
6. Mr. de Freitas

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air the average cost of training pilots and other aircrew, respectively, to operational standard.

Mr. Ward

In round figures, the cost, up to the time of joining a squadron, can be taken as: pilots and navigators, £25,000; air signallers, £15,000; and flight engineers and air gunners, £8,000.

7. Mr. de Freitas

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air what factors are used, in relation to the numbers of aircraft, for calculating future requirements of pilots and other aircrew.

Mr. Ward

Our calculations are based on an assessment, for each aircraft type and rôle, of the aircrew needed to meet our estimated requirements in the event of war. They take into account the immediate reinforcement of the front line in war by aircrew with recent operational experience who are for the time being employed on other duties, or who have recently been transferred to the Reserve. I am afraid that, as I told the hon. Member on 14th July, it would not be in the public interest to give details.

Mr. de Freitas

Is not the present factor too high, and does it not lead to a great waste of money in the production of pilots and other aircrew beyond what we can possibly expect to employ in another war?

Mr. Ward

The hon. Gentleman knows very well from his own experience the complication of this matter. It is not easy. However, I can assure him that the figures on which we are working are the result of an extremely thorough review which we carried out in the last few months, and represent the most accurate and objective assessment at which we can arrive.

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