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I haven't seen any topics on the forum for flying for or with any of the natural resource' departments. Anybody on here fly for them and care to give insight into that experience.







What would you like to know about flying for the DNR.

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I would like to know a little more about flying for the DRN as well... I am still working on Helicopter certificates and have a privated fixed wing will probably get commercial add on for airplane later on. 2 years of law enforcement tranning as well.

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I would like to know a little more about flying for the DRN as well... I am still working on Helicopter certificates and have a privated fixed wing will probably get commercial add on for airplane later on. I have 2 years of law enforcement A.A.S. with honors
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PNW (is that Pacific Northwest?)


I am looking for DNR flying information in general.


Do they (Department of Natural Resources, Ecology...) employ pilots from the inside, or do they contract out.

As a forester would there be a chance that I could use my ppl on the job, or do they require professional pilots with higher certificates?

What kinds of work do the pilots do? longline, pass. transport...?

Are there many jobs in this field?


Broad question, hoping for a broad answer.


PNW, if you're employed as a pilot with any of the natural resource depts, could you give me a description of the daily grind (if you don't mind).





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I fly for the state of Wa DNR. Each state works its programs a little different. This is how ours work.


We are career seasonal employees. This means we have 6 months minimum of employment each year that can be extended to 9 months if needed. With automatic rehire each year. We are treated the same as year around employees. We get full medical, dental, sick leave, annual leave and retirement. We have the option to stay on year around part time for 6 months. This will keep all medical and retirement going year around. We are provided new flight suites, gloves, flight helmets and boot allowance. We are paid mileage for our personal cars to drive to work. Paid $39.00 a day food allowance and all our lodging is paid for by the state when on duty.


Our department for the most part does not leave the state of Wa. though we do have agreements with several neighboring states to help them if they request. Our main base is Olympia Wa. though we do not spend much if any time there. It is the home of our maintenance facility. We spend most of our time on the east side of the state where the majority of our state and federal fires a cure. We have east side bases that all of us commute to from all over the state for our 5 day shifts. This is were we get the mileage for our POV paid. We travel to work on our Mondays and are allowed 3 hrs of paid commute time to get there and 3 hrs commute time for our Fridays to get home. We have other forward bases around the state once you arrive at our main east side base Ellensburg you will then be transported by state transportation to the other bases if thats were you are assigned.


We fly 5 UH1H Hueys. These are some the modifications we have done to them from their military configuration.

1. left seat configured PIC

2. Bubble windows with load cells & gages in the door

3. Custom instrument panels

4. Civilian communication boxs, AFF, dual FM's & AM's

5. High skids

6. Foam tanks

7. BLR fast fin's

8. BLR strakes

9. 212 transmitions

10. 703 engines


We also fly 4 AH-1 Cobras. These to have been fully modified for utility fire fighting work.


One King Air that supports our department.



Our mission is to protect state lands. Most of all our work is fire related. We are initial attack orientated and try and stay in this status as much as possible. Though we are available to assist in any disaster the state might incur. Our season starts May 1 and ends Oct 31st. The first month is spent training in the aircraft then with fire crews in preparation for the fire season. The last month is spent taking care of hunter fires and getting the equipment ready for winter. We work with are own DNR helitack crews that are assigned to the aircraft and rotate form aircraft to aircraft. This means you will work with many different crews though out the summer. Their is a manager assigned to each aircraft and assists in mission duties and handles much of the radio work when in route to the fires. Once on the fire we work the same as contractors the crew works the fire line and we fly single pilot in most cases longline because of the terrain in the state of WA.


Pay is based on a step system. And like many gov. agency's tends to lag behind the industry in pay. We top out at $4551. per month base pay. This is based on a 8hr day 5 days a week. We work a 5 day's on 2 day's off schedule. We get over time for anything over 8 hrs, past our 5th day and holidays. For 5 of our 6 months we typically work a minimum 10 hr shifts that means 2 hrs of OT each day minimum. We can work a maximum of 14hrs in a day and when its fire season we will work through our days off if requested. We can work up to 12 straight days then must take 2 days off.


Why fly for the DNR. It is a good job for the right guy. If you live in the state where the job is offered it gives you lots of flexibility for your home life. Most guys that fly fires do not live, work and stay in the same state for the whole season. We do. The equipment is very good. We have a great training program. The benefits are some of the best. On paper the pay looks bad but we get plenty of OT with paid days off and holidays I think guys out there would be surprised at what we really make its very close to most of the medium fire jobs out there we just have to put in a little longer season to make the same amount but this just extends our medical benefits and retirement. We do not worry year to year when the contracts are going to end we always have a job. Some of us fly part time in the winter for other operators some go on unemployment. We have 9 pilots and many more helitack personal you need to like working with a big organization. If you do not live in WA this job will most likely not pencil out for most guys. Its most likely why were one or two guys short. But the state will run short if they can not find the right guys to fill the positions.


I hope this answers some of your questions though remember each state DNR runs their programs different.

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