The USDA - Forest Service has a diverse organization with Regional Offices located in all parts of the United States. Our activities are primarily focused on the suppression of wildfires but also encompass other realms of aviation. A large portion of our aviation activities are handled by contractors, some on full service contracts and others on an as-needed basis.
A high percentage of individual jobs include inspecting aircraft and pilots for contract compliance as well as administrative duties for Regional and National Programs. Our average pilot flies approximately 250 hours per year, most of which is during the fire season of May through October. Our personnel are also actively engaged in performing training for specific aviation related courses within natural resource management, flight training and administering check rides.
Hiring is done at the local level for each Regional Office. Advertising of each job that may come open for application is normally through the USAJOBS for that specific Region and rarely advertised through publications such as magazines or Trade-a-Plane. The easiest way to search for pilot positions is on OPM's USAJOBS, in the series block enter 2181 or 2101. The 2101 series are generally management positions, which may include some flight duties but are not line pilots.
The Forest Service operates a wide variety of aircraft including Cessna 206's, DHC-2 Beavers on floats, King Airs, DHC-6 Twin Otters, Turbine DC-3's, Shorts SD-3's, a Cessna Citation, Bell 206B III and two Bell 209 Cobras. These aircraft perform missions for smokejumper and paracargo delivery, leadplane for airtankers, air attack, aerial photo and Infrared fire mapping.