A Navy Officer who has completed the appropriate course of instruction and has been designated a Naval Aviator by the Chief of Naval Personnel or the Chief of Naval Air Training is eligible to wear not only the Naval Aviator breast insignia, but also belt buckles and tie tacks or clasps featuring the insignia. The Naval Aviator tie tack/clasp is worn with the four-in-hand tie in a horizontal position one inch below the center of the tie (the uniform coat should cover it).

Nearly two-and-a-half years would elapse between the first launching of an airplane from a U.S. Navy ship and the Secretary of the Navy’s approval of performance standards to qualify and be designated as a Navy Air Pilot in April 1913—and another year would go by before the Bureau of Navigation actually signed off on an actual course for student pilots. But the Navy had not yet granted the Navy Air Pilot certificate to any of its handful of aviators; without them, there would be no experts to determine the qualifications of up-and-coming pilots. In January 1915, Rear Admiral Bradley Fiske recommended that Navy Air Pilot certificates be awarded to seven of its pilots, with Theodore G. Ellyson designated as Navy Air Pilot #1.

But an oversight by Congress led to some major confusion over nomenclature. In establishing flight pay for Navy personnel in the Naval Appropriations Act of 2016, Congress provided extra compensation only for “Naval Aviators,” i.e., the fliers completing the course overseen by the experts classified as Navy Air Pilots. To remedy this, the Secretary of the Navy changed their designation to Naval Aviator in March 2015.

But the phrase “Navy Air Pilot” refused to disappear from official Navy issuances, cropping up over and over in Navy instructions regarding training and certification. In the end, it took almost three years—from March 1915 to January 1918—before the term “Navy Air Pilot” was completely removed from all Navy instructions and replaced with “Naval Aviator.”

About us

As a certified manufacturer of uniforms and insignia, The Salute Uniforms considers it a privilege to provide the members of our nation’s military services with superior-quality apparel and accoutrements. We guarantee that every product we offer is made in the USA and meets or surpasses Mil-Spec standards. Browse our online catalog and discover how our tradition of excellence and commitment to innovation makes us your best source for military uniforms, insignias, medals, and accessories.


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