(a)Eligible Career Enlisted Flyer Defined.—In this section, the term “eligible career enlisted flyer” means an enlisted member of the armed forces who—
holds an enlisted military occupational specialty or enlisted military rating designated as a career enlisted flyer specialty or rating by the Secretary concerned, performs duty as a dropsonde system operator, or is in training leading to qualification and designation of such a specialty or rating or the performance of such duty;
satisfies the operational flying duty requirements applicable under subsection (c).
The Secretary concerned may pay monthly incentive pay to an eligible career enlisted flyer in an amount not to exceed the monthly maximum amounts specified in subsection (d). The incentive pay may be paid as continuous monthly incentive pay or on a month-to-month basis, dependent upon the operational flying duty performed by the eligible career enlisted flyer as prescribed in subsection (c).
Continuous monthly incentive pay may not be paid to an eligible career enlisted flyer after the member completes 25 years of aviation service. Thereafter, an eligible career enlisted flyer may still receive incentive pay on a month-to-month basis under subsection (c)(4) for the frequent and regular performance of operational flying duty.
(c)Operational Flying Duty Requirements.—
Upon completion of 10, 15, or 20 years of aviation service, an enlisted member who has not performed the minimum required operational flying duties specified in paragraph (1) during the prescribed period, although otherwise meeting the definition in subsection (a), may no longer be paid continuous monthly incentive pay except as provided in paragraph (3). Payment of continuous monthly incentive pay may be resumed if the member meets the minimum operational flying duty requirement upon completion of the next established period of aviation service.
For the needs of the service, the Secretary concerned may permit, on a case-by-case basis, a member to continue to receive continuous monthly incentive pay despite the member’s failure to perform the operational flying duty required during the first 10, 15, or 20 years of aviation service, but only if the member otherwise meets the definition in subsection (a) and has performed at least 5 years of operational flying duties during the first 10 years of aviation service, 8 years of operational flying duties during the first 15 years of aviation service, or 12 years of operational flying duty during the first 20 years of aviation service. The authority of the Secretary concerned under this paragraph may not be delegated below the level of the Service Personnel Chief.
If the eligibility of an eligible career enlisted flyer to continuous monthly incentive pay ceases under subsection (b)(2) or paragraph (2), the member may still receive month-to-month incentive pay for subsequent frequent and regular performance of operational flying duty. The rate payable is the same rate authorized by the Secretary concerned under subsection (d) for a member of corresponding years of aviation service.
(d)Monthly Maximum Rates.—
(e)Eligibility of When Performing Inactive Duty Training.—
Under regulations prescribed by the Secretary concerned, when a member of a reserve component or the National Guard, who is entitled to compensation under section 206 of this title, meets the definition of eligible career enlisted flyer, the Secretary concerned may increase the member’s compensation by an amount equal to 1⁄30 of the monthly incentive pay authorized by the Secretary concerned under subsection (d) for a member of corresponding years of aviation service who is entitled to basic pay under section 204 of this title. The reserve component member may receive the increase for as long as the member is qualified for it, for each regular period of instruction or period of appropriate duty, at which the member is engaged for at least two hours, or for the performance of such other equivalent training, instruction, duty or appropriate duties, as the Secretary may prescribe under section 206(a) of this title.
(f)Relation to Incentiveor Diving Duty Special Pay.—
If, immediately before a member receives incentive pay under this section, the member was entitled to incentive pay under section 301(a) of this title, the rate at which the member is paid incentive pay under this section shall be equal to the higher of the monthly amount applicable under subsection (d) or the rate of incentive pay the member was receiving under subsection (b) or (c)(2)(A) of section 301 of this title.
(h)Specialty Code of Dropsonde System Operators.—
(i)Definitions.—In this section:
The term “operational flying duty” means flying performed under competent orders while serving in assignments, including an assignment as a dropsonde system operator, in which basic flying skills normally are maintained in the performance of assigned duties as determined by the Secretary concerned, and flying duty performed by members in training that leads to the award of an enlisted aviation rating or military occupational specialty designated as a career enlisted flyer rating or specialty by the Secretary concerned.