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Military Airplane Pilots

Military Career

General Information


Airplane pilots in the Military train, organize, and equip the nation’s air services to support the national and international policies of the government. They operate many different jet and propeller planes. Aircraft range from combat airplanes to supersonic fighters and bombers. In addition to flying aircraft, airplane pilots develop flight plans, check weather reports, brief and direct all crew members, and perform system operation checks to test the proper functioning of instrumentation, controls, and electronic and mechanical systems on the flight deck.

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Work Environment

Airplane pilots may be stationed at airbases or aboard aircraft carriers anywhere in the world. They fly in all types of weather conditions. Military pilots take off and land on airport runways and aircraft carrier landing decks.

Workplace at a Glance

What you can expect to experience while on the job

  • Responsibility
  • Exposure to job hazards
  • Physical activity
  • Decision making
  • Repetitiveness
  • Level of competition
  • Time pressure

Comparable Industries

  • Transportation, Distribution & Logistics
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Military Outlook

Service Branches

Jobs in this career field may be available in other service branches. Call or email a particular branch for more info.

Military Status

  • Officer
    • Managerial/professional
    • College degree required

Military Workforce

Airplane Pilots in the Military


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Salary Information

Median Military Salary This is the median, or the midpoint, of the salary range for this career.


Military Salary Range Salary varies based on years of service, degree level, special pays, family status and location. Learn more about Military benefits.

$23,019 - $502,205

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Most Common Education Levels

People in this career achieve this level of education.

  • Bachelor's degree 61%
  • High school 18%
  • Less than high school 8%
  • Associate's degree 6%
  • Post-secondary certificate 5%
  • Some college 1%
  • Master's degree 0%
  • Doctoral degree 0%
  • Post baccalaureate 0%
  • Post-doctoral training 0%
  • Post-master's certificate 0%
  • First professional degree 0%

Military training

Officers typically enter the Military after they have completed a four-year college degree; enlisted service members can transition to officer positions through a variety of pathways and earn a degree while serving. Like other officers, airplane pilots complete a comprehensive training program covering responsibilities, military structure and etiquette, traditions, and leadership development. They also participate in a rigorous pilot training program. Initial training includes time spent in flight simulators, classroom training, computer based training, and cockpit training. Advanced training begins when pilots successfully complete initial training and are awarded their “wings.” Advanced training consists of instruction in flying a particular type of aircraft. Training content may include: Aircraft aerodynamicsJet and propeller engine operationOperation of aircraft navigation systemsFlying in all weather conditionsFederal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulationsEmergency proceduresFlight briefs

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Skills at a Glance

Skills helpful in this career

  • Verbal skills
  • Critical thinking & problem solving
  • Equipment operation & maintenance
  • Math & science skills
  • Technology design & control
  • Leadership


  • Transportation
  • Geography
  • English Language
  • Mechanical
  • Computers and Electronics

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