County of Sonoma (CA): Sheriff’s Helicopter Pilot

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office Helicopter Unit is now hiring. Successful candidate must have precision vertical “long-line” pilot-in command experience.

Starting Salary up to $57.89/hour ($120,113/year)* plus additional cash & benefits!

Our helicopter, Henry 1, is a Bell 407GXP. A highly maneuverable, four bladed, single turbine engine manufactured by Bell Helicopter, out of Fort Worth, Texas. Henry 1 is equipped with upgraded avionics (Garmin G1000), new law enforcement mission equipment, can be flown with a single pilot, and is configured for up to five passengers or during emergency medical calls (three crew members and a patient).

At the County of Sonoma, we offer expansive opportunities for growth and development, the ability to be a part of a challenging and rewarding work environment that provides continuous training and education, and the satisfaction of knowing that you are working to better our communities. You can also look forward to excellent benefits*, including:

  • A cash allowance of approximately $600 per month Stand-by pay of $6.82 per hour
  • Differential pay for evening and night shifts Overtime pay
  • Pilots FAA certified as a trainer receive additional premium pay for hours spent training other pilots
  • An annual Staff Development/Wellness Benefit allowance up to $850
  • Competitive vacation and sick leave accruals, 12 paid holidays, and an additional 8 floating holiday hours per year
  • May be eligible for up to 8 weeks (320 hours) of Paid Parental Leave after 12 months of County employment
  • Onsite workout facilities
  • Significant County premium contribution to several health plan options
  • County contribution to a Health Reimbursement Arrangement account to help fund post- retirement employee health insurance/benefits
  • Retirement fully integrated with Social Security

*Salary is negotiable. Benefits described herein do not represent a contract and may be changed without notice. Additional information can found in the Sonoma County Law Enforcement Association’s Memorandum Of Understanding (SCLEA MOU).

As part of the Sheriff’s Office selection process, the most qualified candidates will be required to perform a flight proficiency test.

How to apply:

Applications are accepted on-line at: Paper applications may be submitted by person, fax (707-565-3770), email, or through the mail. All applications and appropriate supplemental information as outlined in the job bulletin must be RECEIVED by the time and date specified on the first page of this job announcement. Continuous recruitments may close without notice at any time that a sufficient number of qualified applications have been received. Applications received after the recruitment closes will not be accepted.

The Sheriff’s Helicopter Pilot is a position of trust and confidence, performing various airborne law enforcement support functions, including aerial search and rescues, medical evacuations, and fire suppression activities. Our Sheriff’s Helicopter Pilots ensure Henry 1’s airworthiness and general condition are compliant with Sheriff’s Office requirements and industry standards, and that all required maintenance and activity documentation is accurately completed. Henry 1’s mechanical services are provided by contract.

Henry 1 and the crew are based out of the Charles M. Schultz (Sonoma County) Airport in Santa Rosa, and work a 7 on 7 off schedule, are compensated for stand-by and overtime hours, and on- call during their work week when not at the hangar.

As a technical, non-peace officer position in the Sheriff’s Office the Pilot reports to, and is responsible for assisting, the Sergeant in charge of the Helicopter Unit. The unit consists of a Sergeant (Supervisor), tactical flight officers (Deputies), two helicopter pilots, and several extra- help paramedics. Additional pilots and paramedics may be hired on an extra-help basis to augment the crew.

For more information about the Sheriff’s Office work family of over 560 employees, and the Helicopter Unit’s efforts to aid in protecting and securing the half-million residents within the 1,768 square miles of Sonoma County, please visit the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office website.

To learn more about our community and explore the beauty of our County’s picturesque coastline, majestic redwoods, historic towns, fine dining, award winning wineries, and wide variety of entertainment and cultural activities, please visit and

The Civil Service for this position is Helicopter Pilot. This employment list may also be used to fill future full-time, or extra-help (temporary) positions as they occur during the active status of the list.

Minimum Qualifications

Education and Experience: Any combination of education, training, and experience that clearly demonstrates possession of the knowledge and abilities for the position. Normally, this would include graduation from high school or an acceptable equivalent certificate, and 2,000 hours of turbine helicopter Pilot-in-Command time, which includes 300 hours of mountain flying, 100 hours of night flying, and 200 hours of precision vertical reference long line flying.

License and Certificate: Possession of a valid Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Commercial Airman Certificate with rotorcraft-helicopter rating or a valid FAA Airline Transport Pilot’s Certificate with a rotorcraft-helicopter rating; possession of a valid and current Class II Airman’s Medical Certificate issued by an FAA authorized medical examiner; possession of a valid driver’s license at the appropriate level including necessary special endorsements, as required by the State of California to perform the essential job functions of the position.

Other Requirements: Applicants must successfully complete a thorough background investigation prior to appointment including a polygraph test; emergency operations may require working 16 hour shifts under difficult conditions such as fire and floods.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Considerable knowledge of: safe helicopter operating procedures; Department of Transportation, FAA, and other regulations governing civil aircraft movements; flight control systems and equipment; mountain helicopter flying; precision vertical reference long-line flying; minor maintenance and repair of helicopters; basic math to compute hauling weights; basic recordkeeping practices; terrain, weather, and flying conditions in California.

Ability to: Safely operate aircraft; perform the duties of a helicopter Pilot-in-Command under the direction of the Sheriff or his authorized representative; safely and expeditiously perform aerial rescues utilizing precision vertical reference long line techniques with external loads; safely operate the helicopter during hours of darkness, with and without the use of night vision goggles, including approaches to a landing and departures from off-airport locations; conduct water retardant bucket operations; learn local geography; maintain accurate records; review records and assess aircraft needs; learn and follow departmental practices and policies; work effectively and efficiently with departmental personnel and other external contacts; exercise good judgment in emergency and stressful situations; communicate clearly and concisely orally and in writing; work in hazardous, and stressful conditions; continue to learn new techniques; wear protective clothing and equipment; meet physical fitness requirements to maintain FAA license and perform the essential functions of the position; meet and maintain pilot weight limitations not to exceed 230 pounds, or as otherwise directed by the Department, to ensure compliance with aircraft maximum weight restrictions; work any shift including days, evening, nights, weekends, and holidays; be on stand-by during off-duty hours as assigned and report to duty within 30 minutes, or as otherwise directed by the Department; refrain from activities which might impair the ability to perform assigned duties while on duty or on stand by.

The County of Sonoma prioritizes and is committed to continuously providing a workplace where equal employment opportunity is afforded to all people. Please view the County’s Equal Employment Opportunity Policy for further information.

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