From: Hiawassee, GA
I wonder if you could have another odd gentlemen's agreement. Let Japan activiate the USSR. Send USSR air units to an undefended "frontline" base for Japan to attack. This would allow you to "harvest" lots of allied pilots without messing up much in the real game.
FWIW, I'm living with the pilot bug, generally evading it, and I'm in November '44. My opponent and I have a "Harvesting Treaty" where we take turns invading Marcus Island and in between pack it with disposal planes and pilots. If you take some army transports for example, disband one into the other and do not return the disbanded group in 60 days, you can begin to manage your pilot numbers. We send the pilots to the slaughter in Marcus. It's a pain, and it's not fun, but it keeps the game working. I've never played WITP this late into the game, and would hate to give it up.
I'm lean on my pilots and I sacrifice a lot to flak areas and try to keep my total well below 18500 pilots on map (use tracker). I don't fill up replenishment carrier units, and I no longer add pilots to groups. I'm always retiring/disbanding beat up fighter units and bombers into other ones to keep fewer viable. The Allies get so many air groups at this point in the game there's no way to use them all anyway. My opponent does the same (forgot his pilot limit, but it's much less). Unfortunately, the Soviet Air Force is now gaining more units rapidly, and they are not "active", so that's putting a further squeeze to my available Allied air units.
"Rangers Lead the Way!"