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Sheriff’s Helicopter Pilot – California

We are accepting applications to fill a vacancy in Santa Ynez Valley. The current vacancy is in the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. 

Under direction, operates a helicopter in the performance of law enforcement, fire suppression, and search and rescue activities, conducts routine maintenance inspections, and performs related duties as required.

Ideal Candidate will possess:

  • Reputation for honesty and trustworthiness
  • Integrity/Good moral character
  • Initiative/Drive & Energy
  • Teamwork
  • Dependable
  • Good judgment under pressure
  • Effectively communicates 
  • Self-motivated


  • A felony conviction in California, or with a conviction for an offense in another state which would be classified as a felony in California
  • Currently on Probation
  • Misdemeanor convictions may be disqualifying depending on type, number, severity, and frequency
  • Conviction of/or sustained petitions for any sex crime
  • Recent drug use
  • Failure to reveal prior use will be disqualifying
  • Unfavorable work history
  • History of domestic violence
Examples of Duties
  1. Pilots a helicopter in support of general law enforcement and fire prevention work for protection of life and property, prevention, suppression of crime, fires, and apprehension of law violators.
  2. Pilots a helicopter  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, medical evacuations, disaster mitigation, and administrative flights; supports prescribed burning projects by hauling various aerial ignition devices to ignite prescribed fires.
  3. Performs routine daily inspections to ensure helicopters remains mission operational, including pre-flight inspection; tracks helicopter flight hours and use to determine schedule for preventive maintenance.
  4. Provides airborne support for missions including patrol and aerial search and rescue missions, photography and “downlinking” missions, surveillance and intelligence gathering, support of marijuana detection/eradication operations.
  5. Transports personnel and equipment as required for specialized missions involving units such as SET/SWAT, K-9, Dive Team, or other personnel as deemed necessary.
  6. Maintains written and computerized flight logs and aircraft and pilot records to comply with FAA regulations and other federal guidelines.
  7. Readperiodipublicationand Air worthiness Directives frothe FAAmakes necessaryadjustmentto helicopteoperationbaseoinformatioand directives.
  8. May supervise and direct the work of personnel on the ground that is assisting in operations involving the helicopter.
Employment Standards
Must possess and maintain a valid Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)Commercial Airman’s Certificate with rotorcraft-helicopter rating; 

A valid FAA Airline Transport Pilot Certificate with rotorcraft-helicopter rating; 

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.

Additional Requirements: 

  • Must be US Forest Service or CalFire Carded or must be qualified to pass a US Forest Service or CalFire Carding Check Ride.  As a condition of continued employment, must obtain card within 1 year of appointment.
  • Possession of a valid and current FAA Class II or higher medical certificate.
  • Possession of a valid California Class C Driver’s License at the time of appointment.
  • 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 weight and balance and load calculations; basic recordkeeping practices.

Ability to:  attend classes in order to learn firefighting methods, emergency medical procedures as related to flight considerations, 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 needed on equipment and assignments; work independently and without close supervision; use a computer; learn software programs.

Position requires a willingness and ability to: work in 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 extended shifts under difficult conditions such as fire, hostage, or SET/SWAT operations and/or other natural disasters.

Desirable Qualifications
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; local topography and area weather conditions; basic first aid; wild land fire behavior and fire weather.

Law enforcement experience, the tactical considerations associated with operational situations, pursuits, containment perimeters, radio communication and coordination with ground units.

Ability to:  make tactical decisions in emergency situations regarding the most effective use of available Air Support Unit equipment and/or resources; ability to operate aircraft under Night Vision Goggles.

Supplemental Information
1. Review applications and supplemental questionnaire to determine those applicants who meet the employment standards.
2. Review of Personal History Questionnaire (PHQ):   Applicants will be emailed a notice to complete a Personal History Questionnaire.  If you are recommended based on your PHQ results, you will advance to the next step of the selection process.

3. Computerized Competency Assessment:  Applicants will be notified by email with instructions on obtaining and taking the competency assessment. All applicants must complete the assessment in order to advance to the next step in the selection process.

      4. Supplemental Questionnaire Ranking.   Responses to the required supplemental questionnaire will be evaluated and scored.  Candidates’ final score and rank on the employment list will be determined by their responses to the supplemental questionnaire.

Applicants must receive a percentage score of at least 70 on the supplemental questionnaire ranking to be placed on an employment list. An adjustment may be made to raw scores based on factors listed in Civil Service Rule VI. Those candidates who are successful in the selection process will have their names placed on the employment list for a minimum of three months. At the time the employment list is established, all candidates will receive written notice of their score on the exam(s), rank on the employment list, and exact duration of the employment list. The Human Resources Department will notify you by mail if your name is removed.

Applicants are encouraged to provide their e-mail address on their application to enable Human Resources to communicate more quickly with them via e-mail regarding the status of their application and the recruitment process. The County of Santa Barbara will not release any applicant’s e-mail address to a third party.

POLYGRAPH EXAMINATION: will measure the accuracy of information given during the background investigation process and is part of the background investigation.

 includes an interview and a thorough check of police records, personal, military, and employment histories, and inquiry of persons who know you and evaluate whether you: respect the law and rights of others; are dependable and responsible; have demonstrated mature judgment in areas such as the use of drugs and intoxicants; are honest; and are a safe driver.

Appointee may be subject to a post-offer medical evaluation or examination. The appointee must satisfactorily complete a probationary period.

BENEFITS The County of Santa Barbara offers generous benefits, please visit our website.


Open Until FilledAlthough this is a continuous until filled recruitment, it can be closed at anytime.
Online application and job bulletins can be obtained 24 hours a day at www.sbcountyjobs.com. To Apply: click on the open recruitment and then click on “Apply Now” in the top right corner of the job posting. 
Paper applications can be obtained and are accepted ONLY at our Santa Barbara location:

County of Santa Barbara Human Resources Department

1226 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
9:00 am - 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday

Applicants may use county computers at Workforce Resource Centers to submit an application online or to complete online assessments: (paper applications are NOT accepted at these centers):

Workforce Resource Center in Santa Maria

1410 South Broadway, Santa Maria, CA (805) 614-1550
Hours: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday

Workforce Resource Center in Santa Barbara
130 East Ortega Street, Santa Barbara, CA (805) 568-1296
Hours: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday

If you have any recruitment questions, please email Colleen Raper at cbr4686@sbsheriff.org  

The County of Santa Barbara respects and values a diverse workforce and strongly promotes strategies and activities to recruit, develop and retain qualified men and women of varied backgrounds, lifestyles, experiences and races.
County of Santa Barbara
(805) 568-2800

via Sheriff's Helicopter Pilot | Government Jobs.

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