Air Force Pilot Pay & Benefits

Joining the United States Air Force as a pilot is a prestigious and rewarding career path. You will experience the excitement of flying advanced aircraft and receive a comprehensive pay and benefits package.

I will provide an overview of the pay and benefits that Air Force pilots can expect while serving, including Air Force pilot compensation, including basic salary, allowances, and additional benefits.

Air Force Pilot Basic Pay

The Basic pay for US Air Force pilots is determined by their rank and years of service. The following table outlines the basic pay for officers, including pilots, as of 2024:

RankLess than 2 years’ serviceOver 2 years’ serviceOver 3 years’ serviceOver 4 years’ service
Second Lieutenant (O-1)$3,385.80$3,385.80$3,385.80$3,385.80
First Lieutenant (O-2)$3,944.50$4,303.40$4,408.20$4,514.70
Captain (O-3)$4,591.20$5,202.30$5,317.50$5,433.60
Major (O-4)$5,365.40$5,802.60$5,917.50$6,034.20
Lieutenant Colonel (O-5)$6,207.90$7,063.10$7,179.60$7,297.10

Note: These figures are base pay only and do not include additional allowances or bonuses.

Flight Pay

In addition to basic pay, Air Force pilots receive flight pay as an incentive for the specialized duties and risks associated with flying. The following table shows flight pay rates for various ranks:

RankMonthly Flight Pay (Base)Monthly Flight Pay (Maximum)
Officer (O-1 to O-3)$150$840
Officer (O-4)$250$840
Officer (O-5)$250$840
Officer (O-6)$206$840

Air Force Pilot Allowances

Being a pilot in the Air Force comes with the following allowances:

Housing Allowance (BAH)

  • Air Force pilots may be eligible for Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) based on rank, marital status, and duty location.
  • BAH rates are recalculated annually and vary by location.

Subsistence Allowance (BAS)

  • The Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) provides meal compensation and is not dependent on location or marital status.
  • As of 2024, BAS is $254.39 per month.

Air Force Pilot Benefits

As a pilot in the Air Force, you will receive the following benefits:

Healthcare Benefits

  • Pilots and their families receive comprehensive healthcare coverage through Tricare, the military system.
  • The range includes medical, dental, and vision care.

Retirement Benefits

  • Air Force pilots are eligible for retirement benefits, including a defined benefit pension plan and a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) similar to a 401(k).
  • Retirement benefits accrue based on years of service.

Education Benefits

  • The Air Force offers various educational benefits, including tuition assistance, the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and scholarship programs to support pilot career development.

Travel Benefits

  • Pilots receive travel allowances for official duties and may access military Space-Available (Space-A) travel for leisure travel opportunities.

Other Benefits

  • Additional benefits include life insurance, commissary and exchange privileges, and access to recreational facilities on military bases.


Becoming an Air Force pilot offers the thrill of flying advanced aircraft and a comprehensive pay and benefits package. 

From basic pay and flight allowances to healthcare coverage and retirement benefits, Air Force pilots enjoy a range of financial and lifestyle advantages. 

The United States Air Force provides an attractive and rewarding path for those considering an aviation career.

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