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PAS vs. Flying Pay

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PAS vs. Flying Pay

Old 15th Feb 2019, 18:23
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PAS vs. Flying Pay

This is purely just to satisfy my curiosity - the job its self attracts me, not the money,

I have read that a pilot with 16+ years service will earn £22,490 a year as an extra to their base salary, which is about £65 a day if they are a Squadron Leader or below. Doing the maths reveals that the total is £84,622 a year for a "top rate" Squadron Leader with 16+ years service as a pilot, which is only pennies above the salary for a top rate Wing Commander's base salary.

My question is: How much more would be added on to a PAS Sqn Ldr's salary who had the same level of experience?

I am aware PAS only applies to Flt Lt and Sqn Ldr aircrew. Are aircrew in full-time flying posts who are the rank of Wg Cdr or above eligible for Flying Pay? Are PAS aircrew eligible for Flying Pay?
What are the differences between Flying Pay and the Professional Aviator Spine and their respective salaries?

Again, I don't care about the money, I am just curious.
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Old 15th Feb 2019, 18:31
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Rules on this change often. To get an idea have a look at the afprb report which had PA spine details.
Key difference is that all PA pay is pensionable and you are "stuck" in flying jobs. Which might be great or not depending on circumstances.
And you won't be eligible to transfer onto PA until later in career/after you've PVR'd!
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Old 15th Feb 2019, 18:36
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Ohhhh, the horror of being "stuck" in jobs flying aeroplanes. I couldn't even imagine how bad a life that must be!!!!

Last edited by BVRAAM; 15th Feb 2019 at 20:51.
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Old 15th Feb 2019, 19:44
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Ohhhh, the horror if being "stuck" in jobs flying aeroplanes. I couldn't even imagine how bad a life that must be!!!!
Yes, dreadful. After leaving the service I had to suffer 23 years/17,000 hours of flying aeroplanes, with not a single ground tour. Hell I tell you, hell
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Old 15th Feb 2019, 19:51
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Originally Posted by Herod View Post
Yes, dreadful. After leaving the service I had to suffer 23 years/17,000 hours of flying aeroplanes, with not a single ground tour. Hell I tell you, hell
yep and with the pension and civilian allowances, you will be starting on level 35 PA as a 38 year old transitioning to civilian. Be great to see a unique pay scale for ALL military pilots like the tarts n vicars have. True recognition for the profession.
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Old 15th Feb 2019, 20:46
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Originally Posted by VinRouge View Post


yep and with the pension and civilian allowances, you will be starting on level 35 PA as a 38 year old transitioning to civilian. Be great to see a unique pay scale for ALL military pilots like the tarts n vicars have. True recognition for the profession.
Subtle difference, they turn up already qualified, the clue is in the name....
”Professionaly Qualified Officers”
We then train them further but their initial professional qualification is at their own enterprise.
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Old 15th Feb 2019, 20:51
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Originally Posted by Sloppy Link View Post

Subtle difference, they turn up already qualified, the clue is in the name....
”Professionaly Qualified Officers”
We then train them further but their initial professional qualification is at their own enterprise.
Medics can apply for a bursary to undertake their training, others maybe eligable for a 'golden hello' as in the recent advertisements for intensive care and ER nurses.
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Old 15th Feb 2019, 21:23
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Originally Posted by air pig View Post
Medics can apply for a bursary to undertake their training, others maybe eligable for a 'golden hello' as in the recent advertisements for intensive care and ER nurses.
Still oranges compared to apples. I was taken from scratch and trained by the system bringing nothing with me other than my wit and charm.
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Old 15th Feb 2019, 21:27
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Until the MoD got rid of military hospitals the armed forces trained its own nurses and other health professionals at its own hospitals and still do so today. Only the DE cadre is trained outside the military.
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Old 16th Feb 2019, 06:50
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I retired nearly 10 years ago and the rules may have changed... Back in the day, as commissioned aircrew, you were paid your standard rank salary plus flying pay which was a considerable proportion of your overall pay. Your initial contract with the RAF was until age 38 - if you had been picked up for promotion to Sqn Ldr and beyond, before age 38, then this extended to age 55. However - if the RAF wanted to keep you after age 38 then you could sign on to be "Specialist Aircrew" which again extended your service to age 55 but instead of extra pay going onto your salary, the increments went on to your flying pay. This was fine until you retired, because your pension was calculated on your salary and your flying pay was not considered. However, the flying pay was a regular taxed payment, and therefore under EU rules, it should have been added into the pension calculation. The result was the PAS spine which then current SA aircrew could sign into (which is what I did). In effect, you no longer received flying pay but it was "converted" into normal standard salary, and it is this that has "inflated" the rank pay and given a really good pension - especially on the top increment. (Before comments come in - this is a somewhat simplified version - it was a little more complicated than that).

The other change between PAS and SA was the promotion system. Again, back in the day, the SA spine could lead to promotion to Sqn Ldr with no real change to circumstances. It worked on a "dead man's shoes" principle and was quite common - if you were promoted then you remained as SA. However, with the PS Spine, you remain on the General List promotion system and if you do pick up Sqn Ldr then you go back into general List with everyone else. (However, General List Sqn Ldrs can apply to join PAS, but this is not always forthcoming).

The bottom line - PAS is a good salary for the rank that you hold. You will not get the "automatic" sqn ldr that used to happen with the old SA system. The final pension is good, but at the expense of a more senior rank.
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Old 16th Feb 2019, 07:01
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The system has changed somewhat over the years and the clever lucky ones have managed to stay on top of it all.

Imagine hitting 55yo on the top rate of PA spine salary having flown virtually non-stop for 35 years, getting your pension (which also took account of "flying pay" which was part of your salary now and therefore pensionable) then moving across to FTRS to do exactly the same job, get the same take-home pay (FTRS salary + abated pension) as you had as a Regular then someone gives you flying pay on top of that!

Lucky buggers!
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Old 16th Feb 2019, 07:51
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SA Pension

Wensleydale

My recollection was that there was an enhancement of pension for SA which would have taken my Flt Lt pension to the same as a Sqn Ldr give or take a fiver. As luck would have it PA came along and improved things somewhat. Even better was the 05 pension for some.
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Old 16th Feb 2019, 13:44
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PAS are not purely 'stuck' flying but are eligible for flying or 'flying related' jobs i.e., ground job that require aircrew skills. So these flying related jobs are many and broad, for example you could be a staff officer at Air Cmd, a tactician in the Air Warfare Centre, a Platform Requirements Manager as part of the Delivery Team or Directing Staff at the Defence Academy to name just a few. So don't get lulled into the 'you'll always be flying' myth, it just means you won't become and IOT Flt Cdr or PSO etc.
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Old 16th Feb 2019, 13:49
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And let’s not forget PAS has been offered to mere NCA mortals for quite a few years with positive results. PPRuNe often forgets there are aircrew trades that don’t hold a commission.
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Old 16th Feb 2019, 14:15
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Originally Posted by BVRAAM View Post
I am aware PAS only applies to Flt Lt and Sqn Ldr aircrew.
In that case, your awareness is wrong

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Old 16th Feb 2019, 19:07
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Originally Posted by Wensleydale View Post
I retired nearly 10 years ago and the rules may have changed... Back in the day, as commissioned aircrew, you were paid your standard rank salary plus flying pay which was a considerable proportion of your overall pay. Your initial contract with the RAF was until age 38 - if you had been picked up for promotion to Sqn Ldr and beyond, before age 38, then this extended to age 55. However - if the RAF wanted to keep you after age 38 then you could sign on to be "Specialist Aircrew" which again extended your service to age 55 but instead of extra pay going onto your salary, the increments went on to your flying pay. This was fine until you retired, because your pension was calculated on your salary and your flying pay was not considered. However, the flying pay was a regular taxed payment, and therefore under EU rules, it should have been added into the pension calculation. The result was the PAS spine which then current SA aircrew could sign into (which is what I did). In effect, you no longer received flying pay but it was "converted" into normal standard salary, and it is this that has "inflated" the rank pay and given a really good pension - especially on the top increment. (Before comments come in - this is a somewhat simplified version - it was a little more complicated than that).

The other change between PAS and SA was the promotion system. Again, back in the day, the SA spine could lead to promotion to Sqn Ldr with no real change to circumstances. It worked on a "dead man's shoes" principle and was quite common - if you were promoted then you remained as SA. However, with the PS Spine, you remain on the General List promotion system and if you do pick up Sqn Ldr then you go back into general List with everyone else. (However, General List Sqn Ldrs can apply to join PAS, but this is not always forthcoming).

The bottom line - PAS is a good salary for the rank that you hold. You will not get the "automatic" sqn ldr that used to happen with the old SA system. The final pension is good, but at the expense of a more senior rank.
Basically then, if I have understood you correctly, the Professional Aviator Spine is the key for aircrew to stay in without promotion - as understandably not everybody wants to be the Chief of the Air Staff - until they are 55, but they can still be promoted if they choose, to Sqn Ldr, Wg Cdr and beyond?

That seems like a pretty tidy system.

Another question: Can a Wg Cdr apply for PAS and stay in as a Wing Commander in continuous flying/flying related jobs or are they expected to do staff jobs and the occasional command tour?
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Old 16th Feb 2019, 19:11
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[color=left=#000000]Basically then, if I have understood you correctly, the Professional Aviator Spine is the key for aircrew to stay in without promotion - as understandably not everybody wants to be the Chief of the Air Staff - until they are 55, but they can still be promoted if they choose to Sqn Ldr, Wg Cdr and beyond?[/color]
Remembering of course that it is a two way choice, and the RAF has to offer you the PAS terms - otherwise, if you are not promoted by the cut-off age (was 38 in my day) then you are out. As for promotion...if you have not already been picked up for promotion by age 38 then your chances of being picked up after you are PAS are fairly slender unless there is a considerable shortage.
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Old 16th Feb 2019, 19:19
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Originally Posted by BVRAAM View Post
Basically then, if I have understood you correctly, the Professional Aviator Spine is the key for aircrew to stay in without promotion - as understandably not everybody wants to be the Chief of the Air Staff - until they are 55, but they can still be promoted if they choose, to Sqn Ldr, Wg Cdr and beyond?

That seems like a pretty tidy system.

Another question: Can a Wg Cdr apply for PAS and stay in as a Wing Commander in continuous flying/flying related jobs or are they expected to do staff jobs and the occasional command tour?
Wg Cdr is outside the PA Spine. You could be promoted to Sqn Ldr and stay PA Spine, you’re eligible for promotion to Wg Cdr as a PA Spine Sqn Ldr, but the only way of taking it is to go back onto the career spine.
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Old 16th Feb 2019, 23:46
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Please excuse a question from an ignorant outsider. What does Spine mean?

I tried to look it up, honest! I even followed a link to ARRSE!

Last edited by India Four Two; 17th Feb 2019 at 00:08. Reason: Damn autocorrection!
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Old 17th Feb 2019, 02:01
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It is the part of the anatomy removed upon promotion to Wg Cdr
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