Looking to fly the most advanced jets in the world? Look no further than the US Air Force, with a fleet of aircraft that are easily the most advanced in the world. Looking to get paid well to fly these airplanes? Well that may be getting easier than ever. With a large number of Air Force pilots leaving their jobs after their initial obligation the Air Force brass has decided to offer a huge signing bonus to try an entice them to stick around. A $225,000 signing bonus is something you’d expect to hear from a sports team not the government, but that is the number being waived in front of this countries best pilots. If existing Air Force pilots decide to recommit for another nine years Uncle Sam is ready to guarantee a $25,000 bonus for every one of those nine years. Talk about a great incentive to stick around.
Factors Behind the Exodus
This new offer is on the table because of the large number of pilots that have decided to leave and go into the private sector, jobs in the private sector are paying more and, let’s be honest, are a lot safer as well. Coming off a decade long war in the Iraq and also the Afgan front military pilots are looking to settle down back home in the comfort and security of airlines gigs. Their spouses are certain to behind this move as well, year long deployments in the desert can really take a toll on both the soldier, airman and the spouse back home. These factors have left the Air Force with no other option, they predict a shortage of up to 700 pilots by 2021, according to AOL Jobs. While this shortage is not sustainable it could very easily cause an extremely dangerous situation as well, having young pilots or a shortage of pilots is not a good place to be in when you are in need of defending your country. Not only are pilots wanting to come home but even the ones based here in the States are leaving, simply because the base pay rate of an Air Force pilot averages around $90,000 while the median income of the airlines is approximately $114,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The pilots that choose to remain in the Air Force and take the very lucrative deal are coming away with half of the bonus up front in a lump sum payout of $112,500, sans the taxes, and the remaining money will be paid out over the following nine years. This is not the first time the Air Force has used financial leveraging to raise the retention level of their pilots, back in 1989 they ran the Aviator Retention Program and found it to be very successful. According to AOL Jobs, we are still reaping the rewards of that program 24 years later.