Chief Pilot

$89,754 - $126,826 yearly
  • Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office
  • Snohomish County, WA, USA
  • Feb 14, 2023
Full time Admin-Clerical Chief Pilot Firefighting Government (Local) Helicopter Pilot Law Enforcement Management NVG Search and Rescue

Job Description



A resume must be submitted to be considered for this position.  If you do not submit a resume your application will not be considered. 


The primary duties of this position are in support of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) aviation unit and equipment. The Chief Pilot manages all aspects of the Air Support Unit (ASU). The ASU provides airborne law enforcement, search and rescue (SAR), and firefighting capabilities to Snohomish County and the region.  Responsible for coordinating, monitoring and developing unit training programs, maintaining Sheriff's Office aircraft in accordance with appropriate Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Regulations and appropriate aircraft maintenance programs. 


Job Duties



  1. Supervises all aspects of flight training for Sheriff's Office pilots, including conducting pilot proficiency and standardization flights and evaluating prospective pilot applicants; supervises Unit pilots during the instructional process of students. Determines flight status of Unit pilots.
  2. Manages the ASU Training program to include pilots, tactical flight officers, crew chiefs, rescue technicians, flight medics, and ground support team.  Ensures accuracy and completeness of aircrew training records.
  3. Oversees the ASU Safety Program and the assigned Aviation Safety Officer. Plans the annual Safety Summit event, organizes and schedules regular Safety Committee meetings, and drafts recommended updates to the safety policy.
  4. Oversees the ASU aircraft maintenance program by coordinating all scheduled and unscheduled maintenance with aircraft maintenance contractors.  Ensures aircraft maintenance contracts are renewed.  Periodically reviews upcoming inspections and aircraft parts for time remaining to overhaul or retirement.  Seeks quotes for replacement parts or overhaul. Coordinates and obtains authorization for all aircraft maintenance.
  5. Manages maintenance records, logs and job tags, and performs other duties related to aircraft and equipment to ensure required standards are met. 
  6. Monitors the work of contracted maintenance facilities; evaluates and schedules maintenance in accordance with manufacturer maintenance directives and Sheriff's Office requirements; inspects contract work performed.
  7. Manages ASU Flight Operations to include composing monthly flight schedules, aircrew schedules, and training events.  
  8. Coordinates regional air operations and programs as directed by the Special Operations Division Commander. 
  9. Manages the ASU annual budget.  Creates budget planning reports containing anticipated future maintenance and operational costs. Reviews allocation to ensure that all aircraft fuel and maintenance costs are within the assigned budget.  Periodically compiles statistics on operational and budgetary metrics, such as flight hours and significant maintenance expenses, to brief the SCSO chain-of-command.
  10. Coordinates and completes federal grant applications when they become available and are applicable to ASU operations and equipment.
  11. Performs duties as the subject matter expert in all matters relating to aviation and federal Public Use operations for the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
  12. Plans, organizes and conducts joint training exercises with local first responder agencies.
  13. Conducts regular meetings and training sessions on a variety of aviation and safety related subjects within SCSO and SAR.
  14. May perform duties as Pilot-In-Command (PIC) and operates all Sheriff’s Office aircraft. Conducts airborne search & rescue, law enforcement, and firefighting duties as assigned.  
  15. Conducts Tactical Flight Officer (TFO) training for all TFO’s. Performs duties as TFO with a second pilot when no TFO is available. Remains proficient in the use and operation of all Sheriff’s Office aircraft avionics and special mission equipment.
  16. As a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), conducts all aviator training for pilots to include inflight emergency procedure training, hoist operations, short haul operations, sling load training, low hover ops, snow ops, slope ops, mountain flying, pinnacle landings, confined area landings, and out-of-ground effect operations.  Incorporates Crew Resource Management, Risk Assessment/Management, and Aeronautical Decision Making in all operations.
  17. Conducts night vision goggle (NVG) training for all new aircrew members, conducts NVG proficiency training, and assists other Law Enforcement agencies in the state with NVG training and proficiency.



  1. Involved with Northwest Regional Aviation which may include the following: coordinate quarterly meetings and regular joint training events throughout the state with local, state, federal and military aviation units; organizes and supervise a regional Communications Exercise involving all NWRA partners; plans, organizes and supervises a yearly aviation joint training exercise.
  2. Involved with the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Aviation Subcommittee that may include the necessity to develop and write federal grant proposals that involve all UASI partners. Attends UASI meetings as required.
  3. Involved with the Northwest Region of the Airborne Public Safety Association (APSA). Assists in promoting APSA activities and programs.  Conduct training in areas that affect APSA partners.


Minimum Qualifications



Possession of a valid FAA Commercial Pilot's certificate with a Rotorcraft rating, AND possession of a current Flight Instructor certificate with a Rotorcraft rating, AND possession of a current Class II FAA medical certificate.

Must have a minimum of 2000 rotary wing flight hours, including at least 1000 as Pilot in Command, 1500 hours turbine, and 150 instructor hours.  

Must have at least 2 years of experience managing an aviation unit including supervision of training, maintenance and personnel.

Must be a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident; minimum 21 years of age, no maximum age.



A valid Washington State Driver’s License, unrestricted except as to vision, is required at time of appointment.




Possession of an Instrument-Helicopter rating certificate.

Possession of Night Vision Goggle Instructor qualification. 

Possession of an Aviation Safety Officer training certificate.


Additional Information




Knowledge of:

  • the FAA rules and regulations applicable to rotor wing operations and public use aircraft
  • principles of law enforcement practices and procedures
  • federal, state, and county laws, ordinances and charter provisions related to law enforcement and the policies and procedures of the Sheriff’s Office
  • geography of the county
  • principles and practices of air operations supervision


Ability to:

  • analyze and resolve complex law enforcement problems and complex helicopter operations problems
  • establish and maintain good working relationships with all local, state, federal and military aviation partners in the region
  • analyze situations quickly and objectively to determine proper course of action.
  • coordinate, supervise and evaluate work of subordinate employees
  • remain proficient in the use and operation of all Sheriff’s Office aircraft avionics and special mission equipment
  • develop program plans, implement policies/programs
  • evaluate work accomplishments of subordinate personnel and air crew, to include civilian volunteers
  • communicate effectively, both written and verbal, with people regardless of age, sex, social, cultural or ethnic background
  • establish and maintain effective working relationships with Sheriff’s Office personnel, personnel of other agencies, and the general public
  • assess skills and potential of employees
  • lead, motivate, and manage unit to ensure staff is organized, responsible and effective




Positions in this class typically require managing helicopter flight operations; standing for prolonged periods; work outdoors possibly in inclement weather; operate a motor vehicle on public roads for travel throughout the county; piloting helicopters for long periods of time throughout the County and adjacent areas in hazardous situations and adverse weather conditions, exposure to hazardous materials, diseases, and airborne/blood borne pathogens; daily wearing protective gear and equipment; precise control of fingers and hand movements; daily strenuous physical tasks; and lifting, moving and carrying objects over 20 pounds.   Shift, holiday and weekend work is required. 


Snohomish County is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) employer.
Accommodations for individuals with disabilities are provided upon request.
EEO policy and ADA notice


Snohomish County offers a comprehensive benefits package to employees that receive a regular appointment who work at least 20 hours a week. 
Visit to learn more about the following benefits.

County Benefits
  • Medical Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Retirement
  • Basic Group Term Life Insurance/ Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance
  • Long Term Disability (LTD)
  • Commuting Benefits
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • Partners for Health Employee Wellness Program
  • Leave & Holidays 

Voluntary Benefits

  • Deferred Compensation 457(b)
  • Supplemental Group Term Life Insurance
  • Additional Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance (AD&D)
  • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
  • Supplemental Individual Insurance Policies

Healthcare Premiums

  • Regular full-time employees: If you work 35 or more hours per week, you will pay these monthly premiums for medical insurance. The County pays the monthly premiums for vision, dental, and basic life insurance.
  • Regular part-time employees: If you work between 20 and 34 hours per week, you will pay pro-rated monthly premiums for medical, dental, vision, and basic life insurance. The County's contribution toward the premium for an employee in a regular part-time appointment will be pro-rated in an amount equal to the F.T.E. percentage the employee is assigned.


Following are a series of supplemental questions designed to assess your job-related experience and qualifications. Please note that as part of the screening process your responses will be reviewed in conjunction with your general online application. The employment history and education detailed in your general application must validate/support your responses to the supplemental questions. If your responses cannot be validated, you will not proceed to the next steps of the review/selection process.

A resume is required to be submitted, but it will not substitute for the general online application or supplemental questions; responses such as "see resume" or "see application" will not be considered.

Do you agree to answer each question truthfully and that your responses can be supported by your general application/work history and by your references?

  • Yes
  • No
Do you possess a valid FAA Commercial Pilot's certificate with a Rotorcraft rating, AND possession of a current Flight Instructor certificate with a Rotorcraft rating, AND a current Class II FAA medical certificate?
  • Yes
  • No
Do you hold a minimum of 2000 rotary wing flight hours, including at least 1000 as Pilot in Command, 1500 hours turbine, and 150 instructor hours?
  • Yes
  • No
Do you have at least 2 years of experience managing an aviation unit including supervision of training, maintenance and personnel?
  • Yes
  • No
Do you possess an Instrument-Helicopter rating certificate?
  • Yes
  • No
Do you possess a Night Vision Goggle Instructor qualification?
  • Yes
  • No
Do you possess an Aviation Safety Officer training certificate?
  • Yes
  • No
Do you have a valid Washington State Driver's License, unrestricted except as to vision? This is required at the time of appointment.
  • Yes
  • No
Are you a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident and a minimum 21 years of age?
  • Yes
  • No
Have you submitted a resume with this application?
  • Yes
  • No