Many employees of the US federal government are paid according to the GSE salary tables. Are the FAA test pilots paid on the same table? For example someone could be in the grade 14 step 6 rate. Or, are they paid according to some other pay table?
Not exactly. Few if any FAA employees are paid on the General Schedule. Instead, the FAA has its own pay plans:
- Core Compensation Plan (FV)
- Air Traffic Compensation Plan (AT)
- Executive Compensation Plan (EV)
- FG Pay Plan
Similar to the Federal General Schedule (GS), applies to mainly salaried employees whose positions have not yet been converted to the Core Compensation Plan.
- FW Pay Plan
As an example, here is a job announcement for an "Airspace System Inspection Pilot" based in Anchorage, AK. The position is on the FG pay plan, as an FG-13 or FG-14.
Yes, FAA test pilots are paid based on the General Schedule for the levels of GS-1 through GS-18.
If you are interested in reading the job description, one can be found on AvJobs.
The relevant section for pay is this one:
Wages and Benefits
Most Federal Civil Service employees in the aviation field are covered by the General Schedule and their salaries vary according to their grade level (GS-1 through GS-18). Within each of the grades provided in the General Schedule, provision is made for periodic pay increases based on an acceptable level of performance. With an acceptable level of competence, the waiting period of advancement to steps two, three and four is one year, steps five, six and seven is two years, steps eight, nine and ten is three years. The starting grade is normally GS-7. Trainees are paid while learning their jobs.
The entry level is GS-9. Entrance salary will vary with the degree of the applicant's experience and training.
I'm not aware of the FAA having a corps of test pilots; that's usually the domain of the OEMs themselves who have their own private test pilots employed by them. Military test pilots are paid at their officer rank grade level. NASA also has test pilots who work for them, who are paid on the GS pay grades, generally a GS 12-13 job for starters.