HomeNewsArticle Display

Air Force announces initiatives to lessen pilot shortage

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force officials announced three additional initiatives designed to enhance mission readiness by keeping pilots in the service and bringing retired pilots back to fill critical-rated positions.

The first is an increase in the aviation incentive pay, commonly called flight pay, for both officer and enlisted aviators for the first time since 1999, effective Oct. 1, 2017. The second is an expansion of the fiscal year 2017 Aviation Bonus Program to include non-contracted and contract-expired pilots that began Aug. 4, 2017. The third is the rated return to active duty program which brings retired pilots back into the service to fill critical-rated staff positions that began Aug. 11, 2017.

“We need to retain our experienced pilots and these are some examples of how we’re working to do that,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. “We can’t afford not to compensate our talented aviators at a time when airlines are hiring unprecedented numbers.”

Retaining experience, enhancing readiness


The Air Force was 1,555 pilots short at the end of fiscal 2016, which includes 1,211 total force fighter pilots–with the deficit expected to grow.

To address this, the first initiative is directed at all aviators and provides higher amounts of incentive pay, or flight pay. Aviators will see a reduced number of steps in the Air Force Aviation Incentive Pay table, an increase to a maximum of $1,000 per month and increased pay rates across all steps for officers beginning Oct. 1, 2017 (see tables below).

Simultaneously, enlisted aircrew members will also see their incentive pay increase. The Critical Skills Incentive Pay, previously referred to as Career Enlisted Flyer Incentive Pay, will increase to a maximum of $600 per month.

Air Force incentive pay for aviators with less than six years of aviation service hasn’t been increased since 1980. The most recent changes to incentive pay were made in 1999.

In addition to the incentive pay increases, the Air Force expanded the fiscal 2017 Aviation Bonus Program.

“The Air Force’s fiscal year 2017 Aviation Bonus take rates have been lower than what the Air Force needs,” explained Lt. Gen. Gina Grosso, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services. “The bonus is now being offered to a larger pool of pilots that includes those beyond their initial service commitments who have previously declined to sign long-term bonus contracts and those whose contracts have expired.

“This is one of many initiatives we are taking to retain experienced pilots,” Grosso stated.

The final initiative is the Voluntary Rated Return to Active Duty, or VRRAD, program that is open to all pilot Air Force Specialty Codes (11X). The service is accepting up to 25 retired 11Xs volunteering to return to active duty for up to 12 months to primarily fill critical-rated staff positions, thereby allowing current and qualified pilots to remain in operational units where they are needed to meet mission requirements.

A number of non-flying staff positions require a pilot’s expertise. The Air Force has reviewed these positions to determine if each is necessary and if it requires a pilot to fulfill its duties. Volunteers for VRRAD will help fill these positions.

“Our combat-hardened aircrews are at the tip of the spear for applying airpower against our nation's enemies,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein. “Secretary Wilson and I are committed to doing everything in our power to ensure we maintain that capability for the nation. We continue to swing away at this issue and we're looking at multiple options to improve both quality of life and quality of service for our pilots.”


Monthly Aviation Incentive Pay Rates for Officers


Years of Aviation Service


Monthly Amount

2 or less

$150

Over 2 years

$250

Over 6 years

$700

 

Over 12 years

$1,000

Over 22 years

$700

 

Over 24 years

$450

 

 

 

 

 















Monthly Aviation Incentive Pay Rates for Enlisted


Years of Aviation Service


Monthly Amount

4 or less

$225

Over 4 years

$350

Over 8 years

$500

 

Over 14 years

$600

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @AETCommand: Transforming the way we learn with technology is one of our key priorities here in the First Command! Check out the photos…
RT @AirNatlGuard: This week, @ChiefNGB visited the @PRNationalGuard at Muñiz Air National Guard Base to meet with senior leaders and discus…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: YOU are the most important reason for our mission success. Take care of each other & preserve the connections & commun…
RT @AirmanMagazine: When it comes to acquisitions, the @usairforce has the need for speed. Equipping Airmen with the best technology start…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: A distinct privilege to help unveil the F-117 exhibit, establishing this remarkable aircraft in its rightful place in…
RT @AirNatlGuard: “For me personally, the CAP and Air Guard go hand in hand. When I look back at any state active duty or state support we…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Honored to participate on a panel with my fellow Service Chiefs at the @ReaganInstitute. May our leaders of today & th…
It was just a childhood dream but it crescendoed into this #Airman becoming the only woman in the #AirForce to both… https://t.co/vzGjPe7Vri
RT @USAFReserve: Loadmaster first Reservist to complete USAF Weapons School Advanced Instructor Course (Story by the @403rdWing) #ReserveRe
.@secafoffical will speak about America’s footprint in space going forward at 5:45 EST. Watch live at https://t.co/aSlw5ceGJj
RT @DeptofDefense: LIVE: @EsperDoD delivers keynote remarks at the Reagan National Defense Forum. #RNDF https://t.co/ZXhuaTOQTm
Today, we help Col. Charles McGee, a Tuskegee Airman, combat veteran and American legend, celebrate 💯 sorties aroun… https://t.co/bcmcDr4IYW
December 7, 1941. #PearlHarbor and six other #military bases on the Hawaiian island of Oahu were attacked, beginnin… https://t.co/4GvB8yPpGV
RT @US_TRANSCOM: Take a look at @usairforce Airmen assigned to the @109thAW using their ski-equipped C-130s to deliver supplies to the Arct…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Thank you to Gen CQ Brown & the @PACAF team for the outstanding work organizing one of largest gatherings of Pacific A…
RT @DeptofDefense: Flying side by side gets the mission done. @usairforce and @RoyalAirForce participated in exercise Point Blank with @NAT
RT @HQUSAFEPA: Getting to see a chaplain in a remote location is a #blessing. Archbishop of U.S. Military Services Timothy Broglio recently…
RT @AFWERX: Did you catch @EdwardsAFB’s first-ever @TEDx event? There’s no doubt their theme, “Laying the Foundation for Tomorrow’s Innovat…
RT @DeptofDefense: Press ▶️ to get motivated by watching this video of exercise #MobilityGuardian19, Air Mobility Command's largest full-sp…