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State of Washington Classified Job Specification


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Class Code: 654H
Category: Marine-Ferry & Aircraft


The chief pilot supervises pilots that are in command of single-engine, multi-engine aircraft or amphibious seaplane aircraft for agency operations, law enforcement missions, firefighting, natural resources and administrative business; or pilot aircraft in support of agency missions, natural resource requirements and firefighting operations.

Typical Work

Supervises pilots utilizing aircraft over hazardous terrain at low altitudes for such purposes as aerial surveying and timber and fire patrol, planting fish, conducting aerial census, aerial surveys, or aerial photography; low level flights over mountainous terrain and fire areas to drop supplies and equipment and provide aerial reconnaissance over wildfires;

Incumbents have delegated authority to interview and recommend selection of applicants, conduct training, assign, evaluate and schedule work, act upon leave requests, conduct annual performance evaluations and recommend corrective and disciplinary actions;

Responsible for ensuring program pilots meet and maintain interagency, DNR, and FAA standards for pilot qualifications and are effectively deployed to suppress wildland fires and natural resource missions;

Ensures agency pilots meet regulatory guidance as dictated by the FAA, OAS/USFS, and agency policies, procedures, and regulatory guidance;

Completes required training, qualification, and documentation on agency pilot personnel for certifications;

Interfaces with maintenance staff in the selection, development, and certification of aircraft systems, parts, and operational procedures;

Develops, recommends, and gains approval for departmental guidance concerning pilot/aircrew training, standard operating procedures, and safety practices for aviation operations;

Develops and implements the agency pilot program including program direction, goals, and strategies;

Provides technical expertise and guidelines to fire management staff for program implementation;

Completes pilot employee payroll, travel, personnel actions and credit card activity;

Develops operational procedures, provides public education, and acts as representative with other agencies and stakeholders;

Assists Chief of Air Operations with contracting needs;

Performs the work of an Aircraft Pilot 2 and 3 when assigned;

Performs other work as required.

Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of: federal Air Regulations, Part 23/91/119/133/135/137; principles of flight; aerodynamics; aeromedical; high altitude effects; human factors; safety management systems; mountain flying techniques; meteorology; instrument flying techniques; fundamentals of instruction; aircraft systems; flight rules; principles and practices of effective supervision.

Ability to: conduct flight instruction and evaluation agency pilots: under extremely hazardous conditions at low altitudes and conditions of low visibility; operate from rough improvised landing sites; make quick, accurate decisions when unexpected situations develop in flight; exercise judgment and tact when dealing with the public; learn, interpret, and enforce state and federal flight laws, guidance and rules; plan and supervise the work of others; prepare reports; complete official pilot training records; complete pilot improvement training plans.

Legal Requirement(s)

There may be instances where individual positions must have additional licenses or certification. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the appropriate licenses/certifications are obtained for each position.

Desirable Qualifications

Fixed Wing Option:
  • Meets all requirements of Aircraft Pilot 3;
  • One year experience as an Aircraft Pilot 3 or equivalent (i.e. FAA Part 135 Asst. Chief Pilot, Chief Pilot/PAO Chief Pilot, Asst. Chief Pilot, and/or US Military; Standardization/Public Aircraft Operations Instructor Pilot;
  • 2,000 hours of turbine, turbo-prop and/or reciprocating engine logged flight time, including low level flight, below 500 feet, with 1500 hours Pilot- In-Command (PIC) and a minimum of 100 hours of actual/simulated instrument time;
  • A current FAA Class I or II flight Medical;
  • A current and valid Federal Aviation Agency Commercial Pilot Certificate with Instrument Rating – ASEL or Airline Transport Pilot - Airplane is required;
  • FAA Certified Flight Instructor – Airplane, current required;
  • FAA Certified Flight Instructor Instrument – Airplane.

Helicopter Option:
  • Meets all requirements of Aircraft Pilot 3;
  • 3,000 hours of Pilot-In-Command (PIC) time in turbine engine powered helicopters; including solo operations with external loads;
  • 250 hours cross country flight time;
  • 100 hours night and/or Night Vision Google flight time;
  • 400 hours of helicopter Pilot in Command mountain flight time;
  • A current, valid FAA Commercial Certificate - Helicopter with Instrument Rating – Helicopter or Airplane Transport Pilot - Helicopter;
  • A current FAA Class II flight physical, within 12 Months;
  • 100 hours in UH-1H Helicopters;
  • 100 hours Helicopter solo Pilot in Command Longline/Tank Operations;
  • 50 hours instructor experience in aerial firefighting helicopter operations;
  • FAA Certified Flight Instructor – Helicopter; Current Required;
  • FAA Certified Flight Instructor Instrument – Helicopter.

Class Specification History

New job class establishment; adopted 6/22/2023, effective 7/1/2023.