As the Army faces shortages in the helicopter pilot community, it has approved a plan to increase incentive pay for aviators, bringing rates more closely in line with the civilian aviation job market.
The new Aviation Incentive Pay (AvIP), which became effective Jan. 1, combines with the recently approved 3.1 percent pay raise to provide the largest annual pay increase for Army pilots in recent history, according to a service news release.
“The Army understands the high demands on the aviation force and their families,” Maj. Gen. David J. Francis, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, said in the release. "This adjustment is just one of many efforts underway to maintain aviation readiness and ensure support to the joint force."
The Army has long been wrestling with an aviator shortage, which emerged between 2008 and 2016 when the service fell short in accessions, creating a deficit of more than 700 pilots. It has taken steps to reverse the shortage, such as paying seasoned AH-64 Apache pilots up to $35,000 in retention bonuses to stay in service.
“This increase in AvIP, the first for Army pilots in over 20 years, will result in an increase of pay for most pilots in the regular Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserves," Francis said. The last incentive pay increase for pilots was in 1999, officials said.
The plan increases the maximum incentive pay amount from $850 to $1,000 per month for senior aviators. Warrant officers with more than 10 years of experience will benefit the most from the new rates, according to Army officials. Under the previous plan, aviators with 10 to 14 years of experience made an extra $650 per month. Under the new plan, they will make $1,000.
In the past, aviators with more than six years of experience made an extra $650 a month; now they make an extra $800 a month, according to Army officials.
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.