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New Air Force Initiatives Seek to Help Address Pilot Shortage

The U.S. Air Force has unveiled three initiatives to increase incentive pay for pilots, expand the service branch’s aviation bonus program and bring retired pilots back to active duty.

The Air Force said Friday the first initiative will authorize higher incentive pay or flight pay for all aviators based on their years of service, beginning Oct. 1.

The initiative seeks to lessen the number of steps in the Air Force Aviation Incentive Pay table and provide monthly incentives of up to $1000.

The Air Force also expanded the fiscal year 2017 Aviation Bonus Program to include pilots that are not under contract and those with expired contracts.

Lt. Gen. Gina Grosso, Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services, said the military branch expanded the aviation bonus offer to a larger pool of pilots because the take rates did not meet the Air Force’s needs.

The Air Force also launched the Voluntary Rated Return to Active Duty program, which is open to retired pilots under the 11x Air Force Specialty Codes who wish to perform up to 12 months of active duty service.

VRRAD participants will primarily hold critical-rated staff positions to allow current and qualified pilots to serve in operational units where they are needed.

The initiatives are designed to help the Air Force address a growing pilot shortage that has reached a deficit of 1,555 aviators in FY 2016, including 1,211 total force fighter pilots.

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