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How Much Does an Air Force Pilot Get Paid?

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A career as an Air Force pilot is both personally and financially rewarding. Air Force pilots are paid using several different pay scales. Pilots receive basic pay, allowances, flight pay, continuation pay and other pay depending on where the pilot is stationed and if the pilot is married or single.

Basic Pay

The basic pay for a pilot is the same as for any other officer of the same rank in any United States military service. The starting rank for an Air Force pilot is second lieutenant. That pay scale is identified as O-1. Pay scales raise to the level of O-10, the pay scale for a general officer. As officers rise in rank, their pay also rises. Officers also are paid more for their length of service. For instance, a second lieutenant with two years of service will be paid less than a second lieutenant with four years of service. As an example of basic pay, as of 2011, a second lieutenant with less than two years of service will receive $2,784 per month and a lieutenant general with 30 years of service will receive $14,975.10 per month.


Pilots receive the same allowances as other officers in the Air Force. Housing allowance ranges from $627 a month for an unmarried second lieutenant to $1,729 per month for a married general officer. Family separation allowance is $250 per month and is paid to officers who are a located away from their families on a permanent basis. Air Force officers receive a one-time clothing allowance of $1,405.94.

Flight Pay

Air Force pilots actively on flight status receive flight pay. Flight pay increases as the pilot becomes more proficient in his flight skills. Flight pay then decreases as pilots take on more administrative duties later in their careers. Flight pay starts at $125 per month for pilots with less than two years of service. Flight pay gradually increases to $840 a month by the fourteenth year of service. It then gradually decreases to $250 a month for pilots with more than 25 years of service.

Aviation Continuation Pay

Aviation continuation pay is a bonus paid to encourage pilots to stay in the service beyond their initial 10-year commitment. Pilots who commit to stay for an additional five years of service are paid $25,000 per year for the five-year contract. Pilots must complete their contract prior to the sixteenth year of service. Pilots who chose not participate in earlier continuation pay programs may participate in this program for a lower rate of bonus. These pilots receive $15,000 per year for each year of service prior to the sixteenth year.

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