Police Helicopter Pilot

Helicopter Aviation & Beyond:

We take you inside the cockpit of law enforcement helicopters around the world while sharing knowledge and insight on how to become a police or sheriff helicopter pilot.

The Fresno Co. Sheriff's Aviation Unit:

(This page is offered for information purposes only and does not represent official policies or procedures of the Fresno Sheriff's Dept. or their Aviation Unit.)


To be eligible for selection into the Fresno Sheriff's Aviation Unit you must be a sworn member of the department with a minimum of 3 years patrol experience. 

However, to be competitive for a position in the unit most deputies are going to need around 5 years of patrol experience.  The Fresno Sheriff's Aviation unit patrols an area of approximately 6000 square miles, so new members of the unit must have an excellent working knowledge of the various patrol areas.

No prior aviation ratings are required in order to be selected into the unit as a new TFO.  However, members will have to obtain a commercial/instrument rating on their own, in order to work as a pilot in the fixed wing section of the unit, or a private rotorcraft rating in order to work as a pilot in the helicopter section.

Once a private rotorcraft rating is obtained members are allowed to use the department aircraft to build the time necessary for their commercial rating.  Once a commercial rating is obtained members will begin their "in house" patrol pilot training.

Fresno Sheriff's Aviation unit flies MD500E series helicopters.