Accession Number:



Retaining U.S. Air Force Pilots When the Civilian Demand for Pilots is Growing

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Research Report]

Corporate Author:

RAND Corporation

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The aviator retention pay ARP and aviator pay AP programs are key tools that the United States Air Force USAF uses to manage the retention of aviators and address external market forces that can affect the retention of military aviators, including changes in the demand for pilots in the commercial airline industry. ARP is received by rated personnel who commit to a multiyear obligation. The amount typically varies with the occupation and length of the obligation incurred. Three common options that have been offered by the Air Force are a three-year contract, a five-year contract, and an until-20-years-of-aviation-service until-20-YAS contract at amounts of up to 25,000 per year for pilots. Historically, all rated personnel have received AP, which provides compensation for a career that is more hazardous than most military careers and also acts as a retention incentive. AP provides up to 840 a month for midcareer officers. However, these two programs are now discretionary under Department of Defense Instruction DoDI 7730.67. Consequently, the ongoing use of these programs, the amount budgeted for ARP and AP expenditures, and changes to the allowable amounts payable under these programs must be justified. This means that the USAF needs to be able to anticipate potential changes in pilot retention so that it can ensure that the resources required to maintain pilot inventory at or near desired levels are in place in a timely manner. Several changes in the commercial airline industry could make it harder for the USAF to retain pilots, which could justify an increase in ARP andor AP The commercial airline industry will be hiring pilots in increasing numbers over the next 20 years to replace its aging pilot workforce. In addition, recent changes to Federal Aviation Administration FAA regulations on pilot rest and on the number of flying hours needed to qualify for an airline transport pilot certificate could add to this demand.


Subject Categories:

  • Commercial and General Aviation
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]