"Some companies are offering Air Force drone pilots up to twice as much money to fly drones as contractors," according to the Air Force Times .
"Of the roughly 1,200 Air Force pilots who fly remotely piloted aircraft, about 400 are in the 18X career field, which was created exclusively for drone pilots and sensor operators. The other 800 airmen are manned aircraft pilots who are either temporarily or permanently assigned to fly drones."
"For drone pilots looking to leave the Air Force, defense firms offer more money — if they are willing to live in austere environments... Drone pilots can earn $225,000 or more if they are willing to go to Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere overseas to launch and recover drones, because it is hard to train people for that part of the mission."
"Major defense firms are also paying contract drone pilots roughly the same amount of money they earn in the Air Force to fly intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions from inside the U.S."