Thanks Alfred! I tested it out, and once I had one of these squadrons above 25, the 2nd click asked if I wanted to send to General Reserve like it's supposed to.
(When Sardaukar says to "- remember to populate air units with pilots, fill them up with "Get Pilot", set pilot draw to "Replacement" if you plan use one as training unit.", does that mean to fill them all to 25, or just until there's as many pilots as planes?)
It still doesn't explain why I can send the pilots to TRACOM by hitting YES to the "Send to General Reserve?" question in the Request Veteran screen, but since I'd have to go out of my way to do that, it shouldn't be an issue. Though, it does seem like it could be an exploit, allowing one to cull these squadrons (not that I'd do it.)
So, if I have 25 pilots in a squadron with, say, 20 aircraft, what are those extra pilots doing? I mean, if they act as replacements, then what is Group Reserve for?
You will forgive me if my answer is not directly on point because I haven't actually read Sardauker's AAR tutorial (and very good I am certain it must be).
What Sardauker is probably saying is to not waste the opportunity by leaving training places vacant. Always fill up your pilot roster to 133% of TOE. Whether a USA fighter unit with a TOE of 25 airframes has only 1 or 25 airframes on issue, the maximum number of active pilots who can be on the pilot roster is 33. Therefore continue to draw pilots until you hit 33 (or 24 pilots in the case of a 18 airframe USMC TOE, or 21 pilots in the case of a 16 airframe RAAF TOE).
"Group Reserve" is really just another term for pilots on the roster whose delay = 1.
Think of it this way. Assume we are talking about a USA fighter squadron issued with P-40E Warhawks. The TOE of the squadron is 25 airframes and lo and behold it has 25 airframes issued which are in a ready state plus 4 airframes in reserve. Its pilot roster lists 33 pilots, all with delay = 0, and therefore all pilots are considered to be "active". IOW, everything is at maximum utility levels.
In this example, although you have 33 "active" pilots on the roster, only a maximum of 25 pilots can sortie. In a practical sense, the excess 8 pilots could be viewed as being group reserve because the following day they can automatically replace (ie outside of player control) any of todays fliers whose fatigue level has reached 90. However, in the game these fresh pilots are not described as "group reserve" because that term is officially only applied to pilots on the squadron roster whose delay = 1.
The value of having such a formal definition of what constitutes a pilot being in "group reserve" is that it allows for the transfer, via the "request veteran pilot" button, pilots directly from one squadron to another, bypassing the intermediate move to "General Reserve" (again I draw your attention to the post identified in the thread I gave previously).