While this does sound tantilizing, Be prepared for a LONG application process. I checked into this and they said to plan on 18-24 months from first application to a class in the Academy.
Also, dont know if the policy has changed, but in the past you have to seve as a reguar "Special Agent" for 2-3 years before applying to the aviation unit. This may have changed if they have needs, however.
I went ahead and sent in an app. (I have spare time!) and took the first battery of tests a week ago, but I suspect I will get recalled by my airline long before the FBI gets my background check done.
As far as I know the only Federal Law Enforcement Agency that will hire pilots off the Street is the US Marshal Service. All other agencies you must become an agent first. The maximum hiring age is 35.
But things could have changed in three and half years since I left the Marshal Service. By the way, most the airplanes they operate are single engine Cessna’s.
The operation out of OKC "Con-air" is operated by the Dept. of Justice, which is different than the FBI. They transport federal pirsoners around in DC-9's, 727's, and some business jets. But I guess you already knew that........
The FBI had a recruiting day at my base about a year and a half ago, and they said they were looking for pilots so I decided to stop by. It turns out that when they say they are looking for pilots, what they mean is that they are looking for agents who could on occasion fly a Cessna for aerial surveilance. You shouldn't plan on getting many hours there.
If I'd wanted to fly a desk I would've just stayed in the Navy.
From what I understand, the competition for these jobs is pretty stiff. I don't know if a four-year degree is required, however, I think they use a point system so it would be to your benefit. These are some of the requirements outlined on the website:
"Candidates for Customs pilot positions must have a current FAA commercial pilots' license with the appropriate rating, a minimum of 1500 flight hours, a current FAA Class II medical certification, be under the age of 37 and be able to successfully complete a background investigation and drug test." I also recall a 500 hour multi requirement. It looks like they are currently recruiting only p-3 pilots, but their needs change periodically.
The 35-year age restriction (or 37, it could have changed) is for agencies that require that their pilots be an agent first. It has something to due with maximum retirement age and maximum years one can be a Federal Law Enforcement Officer. You have to retire after 20yrs and one has to retire by the age of 55 (or maybe 57 now) or something like that.
There is no age restrictions for pilots hired straight off the street with agencies such as the U.S. Marshal Service (we hired a ex-airline guy who was 62, he didn’t last too long, we flew too much for him). As for the U.S. Customs, when I was with the USMS their pilots had to become U.S. Customs agents first, I guess that has changed from what an earlier post claimed.
About 5 years ago the I.N.S. (Immigration & Naturalization Service) and the U.S. Marshal Service merged their two flight departments. I will not get into what a major mistake that was. We were operating 3 Boeing 727s and 4 Sabre 80s, the INS had 2 broken down Convair 580s and a Merlin. Just before the merger the INS got a baby DC-9-10 from the FAA. The INS chief pilot became our boss, go figure. Anyway the whole mess is run out of OKC.
The INS and the USMS is under the Department of Justice, U.S. Customs is under the Treasury Department.
However, a lot of agencies use contract pilots or did anyway.
Boy, could I write a book, probably go to jail though.
I guess you could say that US Customs pilots have to be agents first. However, they do hire pilots, train them at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center to be federal agents, and then stick them in Customs aircraft. I was quite interested in the program and spoke at length with a Customs pilot at a career fair a few years ago. Con-pilot clearly has the inside scoop on this subject, as well as the experience. I would imagine, despite the small aircraft, that flying for the FBI might be an interesting career choice. I'm keeping my options open.