Navy pilots would prefer to have more flight time than financial bonuses aimed at keeping them in the service, according to Vice Adm. Robert Burke, chief of naval personnel, Stars and Stripes reported Monday.
His comments come as some aviators are being offered up to $175,000 to stay, as the Navy is short of strike fighter, electronic attack, and helicopter mine countermeasure pilots. The Navy needs a significantly increased retention rate of enough personnel to man these positions over the next several years to meet requirements.
The bonuses include $35,00 a year for five years, adding up to the $175,000 total, according to Federal News Radio.
Burke, however, said feedback from the fleet shows the three biggest reasons why aviators leave the service are inadequate flight time, lack of warfighting focus, poor work-life balance, and not money, even though some have claimed this is why pilots opt out for lucrative commercial aviation jobs, Stars and Stripes reported.
Tight budgets have lead to reduced flight hours for pilots in recent years, and commanders are also trying to cut back on the amount of time pilots spend on paperwork and inspections, which has decreased their time in the cockpit.
Pacific Fleet spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Leslie Hubbell said in a statement last week: "The Navy is closely monitoring the effect that our package of monetary and nonmonetary incentives are having to address the shortfalls," adding, "We will not speculate on a timeline, but we are optimistic that our measured and deliberate approach will address this issue."
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