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Air Force Pilot Pay?

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Well-known member
Mar 8, 2005
I'm assuming a pilots pay in the military has to vary quite a bit, but what's a round about figure for heavy/fighter pilots in the Air Force, and does it increase with years of service?
The following is from an Air Force Times article. It's not specific but it should give you an idea of how it's broken down:

Flight pay is intended mainly to keep pilots, navigators and other aviators in the military.

Aviation career incentive pay: This goes to officers and warrant officers and ranges from $125 a month to $840 a month. The highest rates are for 14 to 22 years of aviation service.

Aviation continuation pay: Officer aviators who remain on active duty after their service commitment ends are eligible. Annual amounts vary depending on each service’s needs and the length of time the pilot agrees to serve. For 2005, the maximum bonuses by service are:

• Air Force, $25,000 per year

• Navy, $25,000 per year

• Marine Corps, $25,000 per year

• Army (for certain warrant officer pilots only), $12,000 per year

Career enlisted flight pay: Also known as career-enlisted flier-incentive pay, this goes to enlisted crew members who meet the career criteria at rates of $150 to $400 per month.

Hazardous duty incentive pay for flying: This is also known as aircrew pay. Non-pilots aboard military aircraft, either officer or enlisted, qualify if they are not already drawing career-incentive or flight pay.

Air weapons controllers aboard Airborne Warning and Control System planes qualify for $150 to $350 per month, depending on rank and years of service. Non-AWACS officers receive $150 to $250 per month depending on rank. Enlisted aircraft crew members earn $150 to $240 a month, depending on rank.

Taxes: Flight pays are taxable except for service in a designated combat zone.
ACP has been offered in the past as an incentive to keep mid-level pilots for more years of valuable service. It was 12k/year until 97 or 98 when they more than doubled it to 25k.

The AF vehemently denied it was designed soley to compete with airline pay, but rather an incentive to keep and reward sorely needed pilots. However--bonus restrictions and availablity are almost always inversely proportional to airline hiring. Sad fact is the downturn of this industry has also reduced the types of ACP options available to active duty guys.

Good news is AF is almost always 180 out of synch with hiring wave--so reduction or elimination of ACP (the pilot bonus) is almost a guarantee of a future airline hiring wave.
Would the aviation career incentive pay be the income your getting during your normal term? So, the aviation continuation pay is obviously after the term is over, but it seems to be more than the active duty pay you would have gotten during your service term, right? Also, is the BAH money added to this income monthly? Just trying to make sure I'm getting it right.
Basic Pay all depends on rank and time in service. In addition you get BAH, flight pay, and subsistence allowance. The bonus of 25k only goes to guys that decide to stay additional years on active duty after their commitment was up.
The current rates are posted here:


Pay breaks down as follows:

Base pay (Per rank & years of service)
BAS (Sustinence)
BAH (varies per area, see seperate link)
Flight pay (varies per year, shown in table)
FSA (Family Seperation Allowance, if applicable)
HDP (Hazard Duty, if applicable)
IDP (Hostile Fire, if applicable)

Plus any eligible bonus discussed above.

Pay is unrelated to aircraft type, with the exception that the Navy will sometimes use the bonus (ACP) to manage communities (P-3, F-18, etc.) by paying different amounts to pilots in each community. Haven't seen this in some time though. Otherwise, for a given local, an 8 yr E-2 driver gets paid the same as an 8 yr F-18 pilot, as an 8 yr H-60 pilot, etc.

Any allowances (BAH,BAS, FSA, COLA (if overseas)) are tax free.

Fully funded retirement if you stick around for 20, plus TSP (Mil 401K) as well.

Add in full medical, 30 days leave (for anyone), commissary & exchange, gym, Space A, tuition assistance, etc. and the overall package is not too bad, even for an Ensign/2nd Lt (O1) in flight school.

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