According to Gordon Lubold, writing at Foreign Policy and repeated at the Stars and Stripes, the US Air Force is concerned about the “possible exodus” of military pilots to an ever-enticing private sector:
Over the next year, the commercial airline industry is going to begin hiring tens of thousands of new pilots as aging flyers retire and the industry regains its economic footing. That could put dark clouds in the way of the Air Force’s wild blue yonder as it tries to persuade pilots to stay in a service even as top officials worry that pilots don’t have enough yoke time.
“If pilots aren’t flying in the Air Force because Read more
Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning said “just a few” fighter pilots have taken the $225,000 bonus offered by the Air Force to get their long term commitment. The reason? Boredom.
pilots are not taking the service up on the offer because of reduced flying hours caused by budget cuts, acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning said.
“If you’re not flying your F-22 because it’s grounded, you might as well go fly something else,” Fanning said.
A few weeks ago, Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh Read more
The US Air Force announced that it would continue its Aviator Continuation Pay, more popularly known as the pilot bonus, in fiscal 2012. This year, certain career fields can even get 50% up front, as opposed to equal yearly payments previously offered.
“Our goal this year is to influence retention in very specific mission areas based on forecasted shortages,” [Lt. Col. Gerard] Ryan said. “While the program is open to all initial eligible pilots, this year’s program further incentivizes our critical shortages in RPA Read more
Like the Air Force, the US Navy pays its aviators a monetary bonus to encourage retention (though it doesn’t always work, as the Air Force acceptance rate showed).
This year, due to high retention levels, the Navy altered its bonus plan; as stated now, the only aviators who will get the previous years’ $25K bonus per year are F/A-18 Hornet pilots. All others will get a bonus specific to their airframe: Read more
The Air Force has announced it is “overstrength” (exceeding its authorized and funded size) and will reduce its officer corps by approximately 2300 personnel. Some will be encouraged to leave with voluntary separation pay; others will be involuntarily separated. In addition, the Air Force intends to reduce its promotion rates.
To reduce the number of upcoming officers, subsequent US Air Force Academy class sizes will be reduced to bring the USAFA Cadet Wing size down to 4,000 from its current 4,400.
The changes will likely make many career opportunities in the Air Force — including admissions to the Academy — far more “lean,” making them both challenging and competitive.
Some have noted an apparent contradiction, however, in the Air Force’s simultaneous decision to continue the pilot bonus and its NASCAR sponsorship.
The Air Force announced it would continue the “pilot bonus,” formally known as Aviator Continuation Pay (ACP), in 2011. The program gives a bonus to pilots and now UAV pilots for a commitment extending beyond their initial service requirement. For most pilots, this occurs 10 years after they graduate from pilot training.
As in past years, these aircrew can accept a $25,000 per year bonus for an additional commitment of five years. A second (lower) level is offered for those who did not take the bonus the first time they were eligible.
For the first time, Air Battle Managers and Combat System Operators (formerly known as WSOs or Navs) are not eligible, because their “career field has stabilized.”