Becoming an FBI pilot isn’t quite as straightforward as becoming a pilot in the Air Force or the Navy, as the FBI doesn’t purposely recruit pilots, and like most of the specialized professions in the Bureau, everything related to their fleet of aircraft is handled in-house.
The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) has its own way of doing things and finding the best people in the organization to do the jobs that no one else can.
While the exact nature of the FBI’s recruitment process for pilots is shrouded in mystery, according to some of the pilots who have served the Bureau, the way in which they ensure that they have enough agents to keep their fleet of airplanes flying is reassuringly uncomplicated. All of their pilots are chosen from within their own ranks.
That means that in order to become a pilot in the FBI, you have to become an agent first and the FBI has a very stringent, and tough recruitment process.
They expect all of their prospective agents to have a four-year degree in a subject that has some bearing on, or relation to, the remit of the FBI. All agents should have a degree in Law, Psychology, Computer Science, or a related field or discipline that would be of benefit to the FBI.
Candidates who wish to join the FBI also need to be physically fit and able-bodied as they will be asked to perform a variety of duties and need to be adaptable and able to function under duress and in high stress environments and situations.
Once they’ve been accepted into the FBI, candidates are then enrolled in the FBI Academy and only become serving agents when they have graduated from the rigorous and demanding programs and training that is part of Academy life.
The FBI doesn’t have its own in house flight program, so all of its pilots are already licensed and able to fly, which means that any prospective pilot needs to have earned their wings and their license in the military, as a civilian aviator or had to have graduated from an accredited flight school.
The more experienced a pilot is, the more likely it is that the FBI will recruit them as pilots once they become accredited agents and have spent some time in the field, honing their skills.
It’s incredibly difficult to become a pilot for the FBI, but with the right amount of dedication, hard work, and self-belief, you can end up traveling across the country at the controls of one of the aircraft in the Bureau’s fleet.
Does The CIA Hire Pilots?
The CIA does hire pilots, and while there is much conjecture about how they select pilots to join their ranks when they do recruit a pilot, he or she becomes a member of the CIA’s Special Activities Center. The SAC, or SAD (Special Activities Division) as it used to be known, is the department of the CIA that is charged with the successful completion of cover missions.
The pilots who serve in the SAC are primarily responsible for the insertion and extraction of personnel, airborne intelligence gathering, and the supply and safety of sensitive cargo to regions of the world where no sane pilot would ever dream of flying. The pilots who work for the CIA are an exclusive and incredibly rare breed.
Pilots who fly for the SAC are usually selected for the ability to fly both fixed and rotary-wing aircraft and while there are numerous stories concerning civilian pilots being chosen to become a part of this highly secretive organization, the majority of its serving pilots are recruited directly from the military or following their term of service.
Does The FBI Have Pilots?
The FBI does indeed have its own pilots, all of whom have been recruited from within the ranks of the Bureau and are tasked with flying their fellow agents around the country to serve the American public.
As the Bureau is incredibly secretive about the way it works and is incredibly reluctant to release any information directly related to its internal operations, it’s difficult to find much information about its pilots and how the FBI handles its air transportation.
All that any civilians really know about the way that the FBI’s air operations work has come directly from Bureau sources and former agents who are more often than not, bound by confidentiality agreements, the terms and conditions of the official secrets act and the NDA’s (nondisclosure agreements) that they’re required to sign as serving agents.
It’s estimated that the FBI has a fleet of around eighty aircraft and all of the personnel that they need to maintain, fly and keep airworthy at all times.
A conservative estimate of the number of serving pilots within the FBI puts the number at somewhere close to one hundred and sixty agents who also serve as pilots, but as the FBI will neither confirm nor deny the number of pilots they have, a conservative estimate is the best guess that anyone is capable of making.