How Much Do Air Force Pilots Make?

If you’re thinking of a career in the Air Force, you might be wondering: How much do Air Force pilots make?

How Much Do Air Force Pilots Make?

In this article, I will cover some key information about joining the Air Force, including how much Air Force pilots make.

Let’s get started.

How Much Do Air Force Pilots Make?

An Air Force pilot is an elite job role within the military, and Air Force pilots are some of the highest-paid military personnel.

So, how much do they earn? The answer is, it can depend!

An Air Force pilot’s salary differs and is determined by your rank as a pilot alongside the length of service that they’ve completed.

Typically speaking, in America the average salary for an Air Force pilot is a whopping $145,003.

In addition to this, when it comes to earning bonuses as an Air Force pilot can receive an average of $5,716 (or typically around 4% of their current salary).

It’s important to note that alongside their annual salaries, there are a variety of perks that come with the role of Air Force pilot.

These include but are not limited to:

  • 30 days of paid vacation
  • Tuition assistance
  • Housing and food allowances
  • Insurance discounts
  • Retirement package

In addition to this, Air Force pilots have been known to be paid retention bonuses.

This type of bonus is designed to encourage the pilot to extend their service.

Salary Ranges For Air Force Pilots

As I’ve mentioned, your salary as an Air Force pilot can range depending on your rank. So, what are the salary ranges?

In the U.S., the salaries of Air Force Pilots can range significantly from $26,972 to $708,579, with a median salary of $129,635.

While the middle 57% of Air Force Pilot’s salaries range from $129,640 to $322,527, the top 86% of pilots make $708,579 to $724,954 every year.

How Much Tax Will You Have To Pay As An Air Force Pilot?

How much tax you’ll pay as an Air Force pilot will entirely depend on your salary. The higher the salary, typically the more tax you will pay.

However, the amount of tax that you pay will depend on the tax bracket that your salary sits in.

To come up with an accurate calculation for the amount of tax that you will be paying as an Air Force pilot, you will first need to know your salary before tax.

From there, you will be able to determine which tax bracket that your salary sits in and can deduct the percentage of tax from that figure.

Is Being An Air Force Pilot A Good Career?

Is Being An Air Force Pilot A Good Career?

Being a pilot in the Air Force can be a very rewarding as well as an exciting career.

Not only does it offer an individual with a stable income, but becoming an Air Force pilot provides a lot of opportunities to increase your savings rate.

The career potential is very high as an Air Force pilot.

You’ll become highly trained, will learn a variety of different skills, and will be paid a very good salary to travel all over the world.

However, if you’re interested in becoming an Air Force pilot (see also “Does The Navy Have More Planes Than The Air Force?“), you need to make sure that you’re prepared for all aspects of the job and aren’t joining just for the money.

While a career as an Air Force pilot can set you up nicely, it’s important to remember the realities of the job.

Although every deployment will provide you with the opportunity to further accelerate your path towards financial independence, there’s no getting away from the fact that the lifestyle can be challenging and frustrating.

That being said, having a stable paycheck early in your adult life can afford you invaluable experiences in the future, including covering a period of job uncertainty after you separate.

In addition to this, a salary of this size would allow you to never work again after you make the decision to retire.

Whatever the reasons you have for becoming an Air Force pilot, you will need to make sure that it isn’t just the money that is motivating you.

While the perks of the job are extensive, how hard the job is should never be underestimated either.

You have to travel a huge amount and will have to be away from your family for significant periods of time, which is a sacrifice in and of itself.

Before you commit to the job, make sure that you know exactly what the job entails and what you’re signing yourself up for.

Will You Keep Earning Flight Pay Even If You Stop Flying?

The answer to this question depends. Typically speaking, a pilot will keep receiving flight pay provided that they are actively flying.

However, if you are medically grounded or decide to opt for a non-flying job as a pilot, you may lose your flight pay if you aren’t mindful of your choice.

Generally speaking, a pilot is required to meet certain “gates” in order to be eligible for continued flight pay.

Currently, you have to carry out 12 and 18 years of aviation service for these Operational Flying Duty Accumulator (also known as OFDA) Gates to appear.

These gates have different requirements that you will need to hit.

If you carry out 12 years of aviation service, you will need a total of 96 active months of active flying.

If you meet the requirements of this particular gate, then you will continue to be paid through 18 years of aviation service.

On the other hand, if you carry out 18 years of aviation service, you will require a total of 120 months of active flying, and you will continue to receive flight pay until you reach 22 years of aviation service.

In Summary

As you can see, the salary of an Air Force pilot can vary, but it is generally a very well-paid job.

If you’ve always wanted to become a part of the Air Force, then now is the time to start planning for your future.

Hopefully after reading this article you have a better understanding of whether becoming an Air Force pilot is the right role for you.

Good luck finding the right role for you!

Jacob Stern
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