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US Air Force aims to combat pilot shortage




In this image released by the U.S. Navy courtesy of Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Navy variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35C, conducts a test flight February 11, 2011 over the Chesapeake Bay.
In this image released by the U.S. Navy courtesy of Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Navy variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35C, conducts a test flight February 11, 2011 over the Chesapeake Bay.
U.S. Navy/Getty Images

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In 1986, Tom Cruise played a cocky fighter pilot in the film "Top Gun," sparking a national interest in military aviation.

Almost 30 years later, the image of the high flying jet jockey seems to have lost some of its luster. The US Air Force is reporting a severe shortage in jet pilots, and they've introduced a new, potentially expensive incentive plan to close the looming gap.

LA Times reporter Bill Hennigan has been examining the pilot shortage, and he joins the show to explain.