U.S. Air Force aeronautical ratings
are military aviation skill standards established and awarded by the United States Air Force
for commissioned officers participating in "regular and frequent flight", either aerially or in space, in performance of their duties. USAF aeronautical badges
, commonly referred to as "wings" from their shape and their historical legacy, are awarded by the Air Force in recognition of degrees of achievement and experience. Officers earning these badges and maintaining their requirements are classified as rated officers
and receive additional pay and allowances.
The first U.S. military aviator ratings were awarded in 1912, and the issuance of badges for recognition of the award began in 1913. The division of ratings into multiple skill levels and categories began in 1914 and expanded during World War I
. With minor variations in numbers and titles of ratings, the system remained largely unchanged until 1940, when the current system of pilot ratings was introduced. During World War II
, as many as 19 aeronautical ratings were recognized and awarded by the Army Air Forces
, but most were discontinued after the war when the USAF came into being.
USAF ratings gradually expanded until seven categories and 21 ratings exist currently. The most recent change added the RPA (Remotely Piloted Aircraft) Pilot
rating,... Read More