Tuesday, July 23, 2013
A salary up to $97,400 and a signing bonus of $225,000 may help the Air Force replenish its thinning rank of fighter pilots. The shortfall of 200 this year could grow to 700 by 2021 if something isn't done, officials said. The Air Force, which has about 3,000 fighter pilots, wants veteran pilots to make a nine-year commitment to fly fighters. The problem is, many military pilots find the lure of being a commercial pilot hard to resist. It costs about $6 million to train a fighter pilot. The competition between the military and airlines for pilots promises to be fierce in the future as airlines seek out young talent to replace retirees. Boeing last year estimated a global need for 460,000 new commercial pilots over the next two decades. (Source: Los Angeles Times, 07/22/13) Gulf Coast note: Pilots from all branches are learning to fly F-35s at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and Air Force pilots train on F-22s at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Naval aviators have initial training in Florida at Pensacola and Milton.