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Air Force Ups Pay, Bonus as it Struggles to Retain Fighter Pilots

In case some of you are wondering who the best is, they are up here on this plaque.

Top GunThat line from the 1986 film Top Gun — a film about Navy aviators — sums up the surprising problem besetting the Air Force. It can’t retain its fighter pilots. Increasingly, its pilots are remembered with retirement plaques.

It wasn’t that long ago that 80 percent of the service’s fighter pilots would re-up after their initial 11 year commitment. Today, the percentage is 65. And unless that improves, the Air Force estimates that its current 200 pilot shortage will grow to 700 in the years ahead.

To combat the problem and get more experienced aviators to stay the Air Force announced a lucrative retention program upping the pay for pilots and offering a bonus worth $225,000 for experienced pilots who sign-on for nine more years. (more…)

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