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Army National guard / Firefighter, How to make it work? Path to becoming fire pilot

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  • Army National guard / Firefighter, How to make it work? Path to becoming fire pilot

    Hello, I was wondering if anyone has any experience of flying with the Air guard or army guard while also being a firefighter. My plan is to get hired on with a fire department, then slowly build enough flight hours being a flight instructor/ army national guard pilot on the side. Eventually, my goal is to become a rotary wing pilot for a fire department. I was wondering if it would it be good idea to get hired on with a department as a firefighter that already has air operations, and then apply for the pilot position once I have all my qualifications. I know LA city has a program that laterals FFs over to pilots, but I want to keep my options open. I have my bachelors, EMT, and FF1. I also signed up for medic school that starts next January/, but don't know if I'm going to be able to pull off/possible passing probation etc, while being in the guard. As of now, my plan would be too get hired with a fire department, work for about 4 years, then get a pilot slot, go to flight school, and come back to my fire job, flying only when the guard needs. I don't really want to go enlisted, but I feel that having military flying experience will help me get hired as a fire pilot one day.
    Any advice would be great, Thank you.

  • #2
    Wow goals !!!

    I am thinking you will not get an answer here

    Sounds like you need face to face with pilots at LA or San Diego or private contract
    to get the best answers

    Are you in the guard now?

    How old are you ?

    Have you tested for any fd yet?


    • #3
      Thanks for the response, that sounds like a good plan. I visited LA City, but I will definitely try OCFA, San diego, Cal Fire.

      No, Ive been talking to a recruiter for the guard, and took the ASVAB, got a high enough GT score for flight, so Im scheduled to take the flight test, which is the SIFT, and then I would have flight physicals, Etc before they hand out pilot slots.

      Im 22, Just finished up school at Cal Poly Slo. Ive tested with OCFA, and Costa Mesa. Made it to interviews with OCFA but didn't get past that. Didn't make it to interviews with Costa mesa. I don't really want to just give up on becoming a FF. I completely understand Im probably going to get turned down many of times, and paramedic school is definitely a long time. If I do go all in on becoming a pilot, enlisted, there is no guarantee of what they will do with me after I sign a contract or If I don't end up passing flight school/Medical Evaluations. The nice thing about the guard , is that they give you a flight slot before you sign anything, unlike if I were signing active duty.


      • #4

        Well you are looking at two tough careers, no matter what.

        If it were me, I would ask what happens if I do not get flight school or do not pass flight school.

        That might shape your decisions.

        Yes I tell people test anywhere and everywhere.

        Calif is a tough state to get hired in.

        Highly suggest you communicate with this person, can give you direction and some calif insight




        • #5
          Your chances of being a Guard or Reserve pilot or flight crew is MUCH more likely than being on a flight crew for a fire dept. There are probably only flight crew jobs on a fire dept. in the range of DOZENS across the US. Slim to none, and a LONG time before you'll find an opening.
          Your best bet is to pursue flying through the military, and if you want to do the fire service, take whatever dept. you can get on. They can't discriminate against you because of military service by law. You'd be able to stay in the military reserves or guard, and you're not going to get penalized for deployments or active duty training. I know many firefighters with multiple deployments, (myself included) and cops as well. Pursue the military flight option first, because that's where you'll get your "in" into the arena of flight crews. You may also want to consider flying a medical helicopter, as there are a lot more jobs in that area.
          Good luck to you.


          • #6
            Look at 4-7 thousand hours of flight time, not two seaters, but larger multi engine airframes or turbine helos if you want to try getting hired as a fire/EMS pilot.


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