Accession Number:



Alternative Compensation Plans for Improving Retention of Air Force Pilots

Descriptive Note:

Research paper

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The shortage of U.S. Air Force pilots that is projected to develop by 1994 has been a focus of Congressional attention for the past 2 years. A special study by the Congressional Budget Office CBO, Alternative Compensation Plans for Improving Retention of Air Force Pilots, examines five pay andor bonus plans that are representative of approaches currently being debated to reduce or eliminate the projected shortage. The projected shortage is not evenly distributed among pilots the retention problem is most acute for pilots in the 8th to 13th years of service in the ranks of captain and major. Pilots qualified to fly multi-engine aircraft strategic airlifters and tankers are projected to be in the shortest supply, in contrast to those who fly single-engine jets fighters and trainers, propeller-driven aircraft, and helicopters. Of the plans examined in the CBO study, one plan would simply offer bonuses from 6,000 to 12,000 to pilots qualified to fly particular types of aircraft. A second plan would increase Aviation Career Incentive Pay ACIP or flight pay, which is received by pilots of all types of aircraft and lengths of service. The other three plans offer combinations of bonuses with ACIP increases and with reductions in the number of nonflying positions authorized for Air Force pilots. All five of these compensation plans would enable the Air Force to fill virtually all of its flying requirements for all types of aircraft. The combination plan passed by the Senate in its version of the 1990 Defense Authorization Bill would offer the largest increase in the number of pilots, but at the highest cost an additional 586 million over 5 years. The combination plan passed by the House in its version of the 1990 Defense Authorization Bill would be 41 million less costly, but would attract 21 fewer pilots in the critical 8th to 13th years of service. The pure bonus plan is the most efficient, and across-the-board increases in ACIP are the least efficient.

Subject Categories:

  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Sociology and Law
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Military Forces and Organizations

Distribution Statement: