If you have a pilot's license and want to work in law enforcement then becoming a police pilot might be the perfect job for you!
But knowing where to start when you are looking to enter this occupation can be difficult because every law enforcement agency has different policies surrounding this.
In basic terms you have two options if you want to become a police pilot. You can go through flight school and become a qualified pilot first and then enter the police force and apply for a pilots job.
Or, you can enter the police academy and complete your flight training alongside your police work, achieving the required qualifications to become a pilot while also working within the police.
These are the two options that you have, but depending on the specific police agency that you are applying for they will require you to go through a different process.
Some agencies will only employ those who already have a pilot certificate, while others will allow you to work on this skill within the police force.
It all depends on the specific force you are looking to join. But generally speaking, these are the two paths that are available to you.
How do I become a police pilot in the UK?
If you want to become a police pilot in the United Kingdom then the process is a little different. Just like in the USA, the process will also differ slightly from police agency to agency.
But in most cases, to become a police pilot in the UK you will need to have already obtained your pilot’s license.
To become a police pilot in the UK there are some strict criteria you will have to meet before you will be considered for the job.
These criteria include passing a strict medical test that is known as a ‘Class 1 Medical’ in the UK. You will also have to have at least 1500 hours flight time on your logbook.
Within these 1500 hours you will have to have a minimum of 50 hours completed at night, with at least 10 of these completed with you as the chief pilot.
So becoming a police pilot in the UK is not an easy process.
This is why you really need to be passionate about this line of work to get the job because it will take a long time and cost a lot of money to achieve it.
What does a law enforcement pilot do?
As you will expect, the main job that a law enforcement pilot does is fly a helicopter or a plane.
The main difference between a regular pilot and a law enforcement pilot is the situations in which they are required to pilot a vehicle.
Generally speaking, law enforcement pilots tend to work in emergency situations when a fast response is needed and travel by helicopter is faster than car.
As well as working in these emergency situations, it is also the law enforcement pilot’s job to look after their vehicle.
The pilot must regularly check on their aircraft and ensure that it is always in good working order.
This is very important as these aircraft often have to be ready to use in a very short period of time when an emergency situation arises.
If the pilot does not keep up regular maintenance on their aircraft then this can limit their ability to do their job properly.
But the main job that a law enforcement pilot is expected to do is be on call when emergencies arise, and be prepared to pilot their helicopter in these situations in a calm and professional manner.
How much do police pilots make?
Working as a police pilot can be a very stressful job so, as you will expect, it is usually a well-paid position with the average salary standing at $58,000 per annum.
Generally speaking, any job which requires you to be a pilot will be fairly well-paid due to the amount of money and effort that is required to obtain your pilot license.
Of course, there is a huge fluctuation in how much police pilots earn depending on the area that they are based, and often the flight and job experience that the individual has.
In some areas of the United States, police pilots are paid as little as $20,000 a year. In some other areas, people completing the same job can earn more than $100,000 per year.
This is a huge difference which is mainly affected by the budget of every individual police agency.
Some departments have more money than others, so they can afford to pay their employees more, whereas others have less money, so they will pay less.
So if you are considering becoming a police pilot, remember that the area that you are based will affect your salary.