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12 Awesome Benefits Of Being A Military Pilot

Have you ever wanted to pull 9G's in a fighter or fly some of the largest transport planes across the globe? Here are some of the amazing benefits you'll get by flying in the military.

We worked with the USAF F-22 Demonstration Team, an experienced T-38 pilot, and a top F-35 instructor pilot to find out more. Flying in the military is a huge commitment with plenty of pros and cons. Here are some of the best perks you'll get...

1) Some Of Best Training Out There

Start to finish, your training will average a year and a half before you step into your first assigned aircraft. Most of your instructors will have combat/deployment experience and you'll rarely go more than a few days without flying. Plus, you get nearly unlimited access to world-class simulators with instructors to practice whenever you want on that equipment.

Capt. Josh Burdge

2) Free Ratings!

When you graduate UPT, undergraduate pilot training, the FAA automatically gives you SEL, MEL, Commercial, and Instrument Ratings. Plus, you can take your ATP checkride after completing the ATP-CTP class and some brief simulator training. In total, you'll save anywhere from $60,000-$100,000 of pilot training costs.

Lt. Sam Eckholm

3) No Furloughs

The COVID-19 situation is a perfect moment to capitalize on this point. Aviation industry downturns won't affect your job. You won't be at the same risk of furlough that you'll find in the airlines or corporate world.

DVIDSHUB

4) Diverse Missions

Most professional pilots fly passengers from Point A to B. In the military, you can find a wide range of mission types, including:

  • Heavy Air Transport
  • Search and Rescue
  • Special Operations
  • Fighter Missions
  • Bomber Missions
  • Medevac Flights
  • Pilot Training
  • Aerial Surveillance
  • Airspace Protection
  • Government Transport
  • Humanitarian Relief
  • Electronic Warfare
  • Submarine Hunting

Wikimedia

5) More Than 30 Days Of Leave Per Year

If you're not deployed, you generally won't fly on the weekends. Plus, you accrue up to 30 days of leave per year (and can maintain a bank of up to 60 leave days, total). All of that is in addition to federal holidays and family days, depending on your command structure.

Lt. Sam Eckholm

6) Flight Hours Don't Determine Income

You'll receive a constant paycheck throughout the year, regardless of hours flown. That's a huge difference from most jobs, which are based on an hourly rate. You'll also receive special flight pay, hazard pay if in a combat zone, and some of your income is tax-free if you are in a combat zone. General military perks include access to VA home loans, waived credit card annual fees, living stipends, etc.

Wikipedia

7) Unique Bases

You have the opportunity to move every 2-3 years, living in different places, and sometimes even overseas. Here are some of the most unique bases for pilots: Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, Italy, Turkey, Spain, Germany, South Korea, and Japan. You'll find a whole range of options, some are less-desirable and remote, and others might have you living in Hawaii.

Wikimedia

8) It's Not Just Fighters

When you think "military pilot," you might be thinking "fighter jet." That's not at all the case. The military operates over 47 types of airplanes and helicopters, from Gulfstream Vs and Boeing 737s, to C-17s and Pilatus PC-12s. Each branch (Air Force, Space Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and Army) has differing aircraft for unique mission roles.

9) But If You Want To Fly Fighters...

Needless to say, there's nothing much cooler than flying supersonic in a fighter. And the views you'll get from the bubble canopy simply can't be beaten. At the top of the food chain, you'll find the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning.

Lt. Sam Eckholm

10) Participate In Airshows

You may even have the chance to participate in an airshow during your career. Whether you're on the ground engaging with the crowd with a static display or flying as a demo pilot, you'll have plenty of people asking to take pictures with you. Seeing the impact you make on people during your service is a big plus.

Lt. Sam Eckholm

11) Quick Upgrade Time

Compared to corporate or airline flying, upgrading to flight lead, pilot in command, or instructor comes fast in the military. After just a few years, you'll find yourself in leadership positions.

Wikimedia

12) Separating: Competitive For Top Civilian Jobs

Pilots usually have a 10-year service commitment after completing training, a total of around 12 years. And if you choose to separate from the military, you'll still be set up for an amazing civilian career. The experience you build in the military is second-to-none. With your unique background and ratings, you'll find yourself extremely competitive for some of the top pilot jobs around the country. Plus, pilots in the military maintain one of the most tight-knit networks for helping each other find opportunities.

American Airlines

Want To Fly In The Air Force? Here's How You Can Do It...

We filmed with the Air Force Thunderbirds to learn more about what it takes to become a pilot in the Air Force. Here's how you can make it happen, plus what it feels like to pull 9G's in an F-16:

If you want to learn more about being a pilot, check out these links for each service branch:

What's your dream military aircraft to fly? Tell us in the comments below.

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at swayne@boldmethod.com, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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