Under direction, operates a helicopter and provides aerial support in the performance of law enforcement, search and rescue activities; and conducts routine maintenance inspections of the helicopter. Salary $109,973.76 - $133,918.72 Annually Excellent Health, Dental & Vision Plans Retirement (

Pilot VFR Sheriffs EC120 Helicopter Pilot

Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office • 
San Jose, California, USA
Position Type: Permanent
Job Description:

Under direction, operates a helicopter and provides aerial support in the performance of law enforcement, search and rescue activities; and conducts routine maintenance inspections of the helicopter.


  • $109,973.76 - $133,918.72 Annually
  • Excellent Health, Dental & Vision Plans
  • Retirement (2% at 62)
  • 4/10 Work Schedule + Overtime


  • San Jose Metropolitan Area, CA

COVID-19 Risk Tier – Lower Risk 

Typical Tasks:
The following are the duties performed by employees in this classification. However, employees may perform other related duties at an equivalent level. Each individual in the classification does not necessarily perform all duties listed.

  • Pilots a helicopter over all types of terrain and in varied weather conditions, pursuant to applicable FAA regulations, in support of general law enforcement for protection of life and property, prevention and suppression of crime, and the apprehension of law violators
  • Provides airborne support for missions, including patrol and aerial search and rescue, surveillance and intelligence gathering, and support of marijuana detection/eradication operations;
  • Performs routine inspections to ensure helicopters remain mission ready, including pre- flight inspections and cleaning; tracks helicopter flight hours and use to determine schedule for preventative maintenance;
  • Transports personnel and equipment as required for specialized missions;
  • Maintains written and computerized flight logs and aircraft and pilot records to comply with FAA regulations and other federal guidelines; 
  • Checks and tests the operating efficiency of radio communications and other auxiliary equipment on the helicopter;
  • Prepares performance and activity reports and initiates requisitions for supplies and repairs;
  • Participates in public safety drills and training activities;
  • Keeps abreast of and complies with FAA and FCC rules and regulations; 
  • May operate the helicopter in support of other government services and activities, such as civil defense operations, surveillance of storm damage and watershed areas, parking and street system studies, aerial photography, transporting public officials and other dignitaries, etc.
  • May be assigned as a Disaster Service Worker (DSW), as required
  • Performs other related duties, as required.
Job Requirements:

Employment Standards:

Sufficient education, training, and experience to demonstrate the ability to perform the above tasks, plus the possession and direct application of the following knowledge and abilities:            

Training and Experience Note: The required knowledge and abilities are attained through possession of a high school diploma or equivalent,

  • Completion of 2,000 hours of Rotorcraft/Helicopter Pilot in Command, 500 hours of which must be mountain flying and 500 hours of which must be in a turbine powered helicopter.  
  • Airbus H120 experience and experience in night flying both with and without night vision goggles is desirable

Special Requirements: 

  • Possession of a valid and current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Commercial Airman Certificate with a rotorcraft-helicopter rating or valid FAA Airline Transport Pilot's Certificate with a rotorcraft-helicopter rating;
  • Possession of a valid and current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Class I or Class II Medical Certificate issued by an authorized medical examiner (AME);
  • Successfully pass a complete background investigation, including fingerprints and a search of local, state, and national files for criminal history;
  • Ability to travel to alternate locations in the course of work.  If driving, possession of a valid California driver’s license prior to appointment and the ability to qualify for and maintain a County driver authorization;

*As a condition of employment, pursuant to California Government Code Sections 3100-3109 and Local Ordinance, all County of Santa Clara employees are designated Disaster Service Workers (DSWs), including extra help.  A DSW is required to complete all assigned DSW-related training, and in the event of an emergency, return to work as ordered.
Knowledge of: 

  • Helicopter operating procedures;
  • FAA and other regulations governing civil aircraft movements;
  • Flight control systems and equipment;
  • Mountain helicopter flying;
  • Precision vertical reference long-line flying; 
  • Minor maintenance and repair of helicopters;
  • Basic math to compute hauling weights;
  • Basic recordkeeping practices; 
  • Safety hazards and precautions;
  • Local geography, topography, and area weather conditions; 
  • English usage, style, grammar, punctuation, and spelling;
  • Common computer systems and applications.

Ability to:

  • Maintain FAA license; 
  • Safely operate a helicopter, including during the hours of darkness and in severe weather conditions;
  • Make tactical decisions and exercise good judgment in emergency situations; 
  • Maintain accurate records;
  • Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures;  
  • Follow written and oral instructions;  
  • Read and understand material safety data sheets and other safety communications;   
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of work, at all levels, including colleagues, the public, and representatives of other agencies.

Physical Requirements:

  • Work in hazardous and stressful conditions; 
  • Work any shift, including days, evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays; and work irregular hours; 
  • Be on standby during off-duty hours as assigned and report to duty within 60 minutes.
Salary Range: $109,973.76-$133,918.72
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