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Helicopter Pilot

Salary: $35.22-$43.00 hourly / $6,126-$7,479 monthly / Range: 6474

DEFINITION: Under direction, operates a helicopter in the performance of fire suppression activities, oversees the maintenance of department helicopter(s), and performs related duties as required.


1. Pilots a helicopter in single pilot operation over all types of terrain; executes missions involving aerial firefighting, transporting firefighters and equipment to and from fires, hauling cargo (both internal and external), and dropping water and retardant on fires from buckets or tanks; flies routine and emergency missions such as patrol, search and rescue, reconnaissance, medivacs, disaster mitigation, and administrative flights; supports prescribed burning projects by hauling various aerial ignition devices to ignite prescribed fires.
2. Performs daily routine maintenance duties to ensure that helicopter remains mission operational, including pre-flight maintenance; tracks helicopter flight hours and use to determine schedule for preventive maintenance; ensures instruments are certified according to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations; ensures timely completion of large-scale phase maintenance or large component exchanges by contractors; monitors the work of maintenance contractors; recognizes the need and makes arrangements for the performance of unexpected or unscheduled maintenance or repair; performs occasional maintenance test flights.
3. Pilots or displays the helicopter in support of educational missions including Airport Day, school exhibits, and fire agency pre-fire season Aviation Day.
4. Maintains written and computerized flight logs and aircraft and pilot records to comply with FAA regulations and other federal guidelines.
5. Reads periodic publications and Airworthiness Directives from the FAA; makes necessary adjustments to helicopter operation based on information and directives.
6. May supervise and direct the work of personnel on the ground who are assisting in operations involving the helicopter.


* Must possess and maintain a valid Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Commercial Airman's Certificate with rotorcraft-helicopter rating; or,
a valid FAA Airline Transport Pilot Certificate with rotorcraft-helicopter rating.
* Must possess a valid Interagency Pilot Qualifications Card for UH-1H and UH-1 "Super Huey" helicopters and;
* Must have a minimum of 3,000 hours of helicopter flight time as pilot-in-command, including:
at least 1,000 hours of mountain pilot-in-command helicopter flight time, and at least 1,500 hours of pilot-in-command turbine engine flight time.

Applicants hired after December 26, 1988 shall be disqualified from further employment consideration if they use tobacco products in any form, on or off duty.

Appointees to this classification will be subject to mandatory testing for drugs prior to beginning work; once on the job, incumbents will be subject to mandatory testing for drugs and/or alcohol on a random, reasonable suspicion, post-accident, return-to-duty, and follow-up basis.

Knowledge of: helicopter flight control systems and equipment; Interagency Helicopter Operations Guidelines; Federal Aviation Regulations and the Aeronautical Information Manual; minor maintenance and repair of helicopters; basic math to compute hauling weights; basic recordkeeping practices.

Ability to: attend classes in order to learn firefighting methods, emergency medical procedures, and rescue operations; learn to understand and apply technical information regarding hazardous chemicals and gases, and fire prevention rules and regulations; learn to analyze fire and emergency situations quickly and accurately and take appropriate action; learn local geography, roads, and water supply systems; learn and follow departmental rules, regulations, and policies; understand and follow oral and written directions, especially during emergencies; speak clearly and audibly to communicate during operation of helicopter; apply basic mechanical principles such as leverage, force, acceleration, and friction; establish and maintain effective working relationships with superiors and co-workers; skillfully and safely operate helicopter; read and understand equipment maintenance manuals and schematics to make minor repairs; write legibly to record work performed on equipment and assignments; work independently and without close supervision.


Knowledge of: basic firefighting principles including fire behavior, weather conditions, safety hazards and precautions; principles of fire behavior, burning and firing methods, and basic air operations; basic fire suppression methods in open and mountainous terrain; local geography and water supply systems; Incident Command System; Federal Excess Property Program; local topography and area weather conditions; basic first aid; wildland fire behavior and fire weather.

Ability to: make tactical decisions in emergency situations regarding use of equipment; supervise or perform helicopter maintenance, especially on UH-1H helicopters.

Possession of a valid FAA Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic Certificate.

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: Position requires a willingness and ability to: work in unpleasant, hazardous, and stressful conditions; continue to learn new materials, concepts, and techniques; work irregular hours; wear protective clothing and equipment; complete training programs successfully; work effectively in confined areas; and tolerate offensive sights and smells. Position requires the ability to see clearly at distances of 21 to 50 feet with or without corrective lenses and to recognize and distinguish between primary colors. Position requires a sense of smell and the ability to hear normally without hearing aids. Emergency operations require working 16 to 24 hours shifts under difficult conditions such as fire and floods.

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