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THE SURVEY RESULTS BASE Salary ranges in overall industry


Gross Salary ranges in overall industry


INSIGHT: In 2020, the largest percentage of pilots in the industry grossed between $80,000 and $130,000 per year.


Differences Between Base and Gross Pay


It’s clear that overall gross and base pay have increased over the years for helicopter pilots. However when you strip away the overtime and incentives, the base pay numbers are quite a bit lower across the industry. This is especially true in the sector of helicopter air ambulance (HAA), where four-pilot bases may be short staffed, and pilots regularly work overtime shifts. For example, specifically in HAA, 38% of the pilots earned an extra $9k to $20K in overtime and incentives, and another 27% earned more than $20K!


Key Drivers


In 2020 we saw an upward shift in median salaries for certain groups of helicopter pilots. This was the result of the continuation of a tightening labor market during the first half of the year. Competition for supply came from both the military, which was letting fewer pilots out, as well as the airlines that were successfully attracting


experienced


helicopter pilots from both civil and military ranks.


In mid-2020 however, as COVID-19 swept the globe, the pendulum swung in the


46 Mar/Apr 2021


opposite direction faster than we had ever experienced in our industry’s history. With global travel bans, the airlines began furloughing pilots, at which point former helicopter pilots came running back to the industry they had fled just a short time ago.


In a matter of just a few months, the pilot supply-demand status went from a critical shortage to a near-equilibrium situation for most helicopter operators.


INSIGHT: Median gross salaries have risen in the industry. The median gross salary for all pilots responding to the survey was $100,000 per year, which is a $25,000 increase since 2014.


EXTRA PAY (overtime, bonus, incentives) earned above base pay in overall industry


INSIGHT: Anecdotally, although it appears that overall gross pay has been rising for helicopter pilots, for a majority of pilots their pay is not growing due to a significant rise in base salary, but rather due to working more hours of overtime.


Median salaries have risen


Beginning in 2015, the rapidly tightening helicopter pilot labor pool precipitated a group rise in salaries, but it seems to have broken through the plateau that was experienced from 2017 to 2019.


• 2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 2018 • 2019 • 2020


47% of pilots made between $40k to $75K 33% of pilots made between $60k to $90K 40% of pilots made between $76k to $110K 40% of pilots made between $76k to $110K 43% of pilots made between $76k to $110K 41% of pilots made between $90k to $130K


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