These pilot jobs are all about air superiority Naval Aviators

Pursue enemy submarines. Search for underwater mines. Execute strategic aerial maneuvers anywhere from the stratosphere to just hundreds of feet above the sea.

Whether it’s flying a strike fighter or tracking adversaries, Navy Pilots and Naval Flight Officers (NFOs) play a crucial role. Piloting some of the world’s most sophisticated aircraft and helicopters. Taking part in important missions ranging from intelligence collection to combat operations. Earning coveted wings that put them among the most skilled and accomplished men and women in the Navy today.

Job Description

Navy Pilots and NFOs are important components in an exclusive, world-class group of Officers. To hold either of these prestigious positions, a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university is required.

Beyond that, you will undergo some of the most intense and comprehensive aviation training in the world. Doing anything from performing precision maneuvers in strike fighters to operating the communications systems aboard a helicopter.

As a Pilot or NFO, you may:

  • Fly some of the most innovative and high-tech aircraft in the world
  • Provide vital attack, defense and logistic support to the Fleet
  • Control and maintain all internal and external aircraft systems

Your ability to lead and excel under pressure will make you an essential member of this prominent unit. You will always be functioning at top speed and charged with adrenaline.

Specific Responsibilities

Fly a SH-60 Seahawk helicopter or F/A-18 Super Hornet jet. Track enemy submarines from above the ocean’s surface. Control the onboard communications system on any of over 6,000 state-of-the-art aircraft. Whether as a Navy Pilot or NFO, your job will require you to perform at the best of your ability at all times. Making use of your advanced training and unparalleled knowledge to provide the utmost safety and security in the world’s skies.

As a Pilot, you may:

  • Take part in antisubmarine warfare and mine countermeasures, as well as search and rescue operations and vertical replenishment missions
  • Receive specialized training on the advanced tactical systems found on Navy aircraft
  • Conduct enemy surveillance by collecting photographic intelligence

As a NFO, you may:

  • Study aerodynamics, aircraft engine systems, meteorology, navigation, flight planning and flight safety
  • Train and specialize in EA-6B Prowler electronic countermeasures aircraft, F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet jet fighters, E-2C Hawkeye early warning and control aircraft and P-3C antisubmarine aircraft
  • Electronically detect and track ships, submarines, aircraft and missiles

Work Environment

As a Navy Pilot or NFO, your missions will take you anywhere and everywhere across the globe. You may be prowling for enemy submarines hundreds of feet above the Atlantic Ocean. You could be piloting an E-2C Hawkeye on a radar-surveillance warfare mission. No matter where your assignment may lead, expect an exciting and adrenaline-charged environment to surround you.

Training and Advancement

America’s Navy offers some of the most advanced and comprehensive aviation training in the world. Officers who demonstrate academic and physical aptitude and a potential for leadership and responsibility are considered ideal candidates for this highly select, prestigious community of Pilots and NFOs.

Those entering aviation programs must first attend Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Newport, Rhode Island, and then complete a six-week air indoctrination course at Naval Aviation Schools Command, in Pensacola, Florida. From there, prospective Pilots and NFOs attend primary flight training.

Upon completion of primary flight training, Pilots and NFOs request an aircraft pipeline and enter the intermediate phase of flight training. This phase builds upon the prerequisites of basic flight and navigation training. The next step, advanced naval flight training, focuses on mission specifics. Upon its completion, Pilots and NFOs are awarded their “wings of gold” and report to their respective Fleet Replacement Squadrons (FRSs) for further training specific to their aircraft.

Education Opportunities

For college graduates who have become Officers, there’s the possibility to “earn while you learn.” Following your initial flying tour, you could attend the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, where you may be able to earn a master’s or doctoral degree while being paid full-time.

Pay Range

Navy Pilots and NFOs receive aviation career incentive pay in addition to their regular salary. Student Aviation Officers receive $125 per month flight pay during flight training. Your monthly flight pay incentive will depend on your time in service and increases by hundreds of dollars within a few years to the current maximum of $840 per month. In addition, you may be eligible for continuation bonuses at the end of your initial commitment.


To be a Navy Pilot or NFO candidate, you must have a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university.

After the Navy

Whether a Pilot or NFO, being a member of the world’s most respected aviation force will lead to exceptional career opportunities after your service. The flight hours and expertise you receive could lead to work for a major airline, as a private aircraft operator or as a pilot or aircraft maintainer for corporations or government agencies.

Consider Your Service Options.

There are different ways that you can commit to serve in America's Navy. Besides full-time opportunities in Active Duty, part-time Reserve positions are also available in this career area.