According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, military fighter pilots typically earn a yearly salary of $90,000 by the time they have flown for nearly a decade. The Navy and Air Force augment fighter pilots' regular military pay with what is known as flight pay. Flight pay generally ranges from $156 to $840 per month depending on a pilot's rank and length of military service.
U.S. fighter pilots must undergo several years of basic military training along with flight training. With each additional year that a pilot remains in service, his or her salary increases. Military officers also receive additional allowances, including a Basic Allowance for Housing if he or she chooses not to live on a military base. This allowance ranges from roughly $800 to more than $3,000 per month in addition to salary and other benefits.
In 1989, the Air Force launched its Aviator Retention Program, which was designed to offer incentives to keep enough fighter pilots actively serving. In 2013, shortly after a shortage of fighter pilots was projected, the Air Force offered a $25,000 sign-on bonus through the program to attract more eligible pilots.
The military must compete with commercial airliners, which pay their pilots, on average, a minimum of $10,000 more per year.