From: El Paso, TX
Even though I've been playing for years, I just started to trade-out Air Squadron Commanders. I read about it an AAR and decided to try it, and it works - in the first turn after I swapped out commanders, I shot down 70 aircraft, as opposed to the usual 20. So, I'm a believer!
Yes, just like so many things, the more effort you put in, the better the results. I don't know why I never tried this, because I'm good about choosing good LCU commanders and I'm fanatical about choosing good submarine commanders (thank you, Bullwinkle).
Well, the aircraft numbers have settled down, but still produce results. In the AAR (which I can't remember else I'd credit the person), they mention that Squadron Commanders should have good "air" numbers, which I then try to combine with good "Aggres" then "Admin". For some reason, which I also don't remember, the AAR suggested not using pilots (noted with an asterisk *) as commanders, perhaps due to risk of loss through combat.
I find myself with an abundance of good commanders in the pool from which to choose, however many are pilots (*). Can I tell the game that these guys flying days are over? Or to put it another way, is there a way to manage the command pool so that the potential commanders are not pilots? Should I just assign these guys to a squadron as a regular pilot? Will a non-commander Wing Commander feel like he's been by-passed if he's under the command of a Squadron Leader?
The Gorn has some good points, but specific to a few of your comments:
1) While "air" is an important skill for air group leaders, "Agression" and "Admin" have no known impact. If you haven't seen it yet, please take a look at the Leader Skills chart, in particular the four "group" types.
2) The reason some players prefer not to have air leaders as actual pilots is that if the pilot-leader dies in combat, his replacement might have terrible skills, and you'd need to replace him (if you remember). Having a non-flying Group Leader eliminates that area of micro-management. Personally I like the uncertainty, but that's a luxury you get when playing the AI.
3) As to using pilot-leaders purely as pilots, no problem. Just be sure to add them as pilots after you've chosen your non-flying leader. And no, there isn't an "in-game effect" from having senior ranks reporting to lower ones (unlike say, Ageod's CW2)