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Classification & Qualifications General Schedule Qualification Standards

Aircraft Operation Series, 2181

Individual Occupational Requirements

This standard should also be used to evaluate the pilot qualifications of candidates for positions having a requirement to fly airplanes and/or helicopters in the performance of their work, but are classified to other occupational series.

Minimum Eligibility Rrequirements

Minimum eligibility requirements for positions in this occupation are based on possession of the appropriate Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pilot certificates and/or appropriate military ratings, meeting the applicable flight hour requirements, and possession of the knowledge and skills required for the positions.

Certificates and Ratings:

For all grade levels and specializations, candidates must possess a current Commercial Pilot Certificate or the appropriate military rating; both meet the intent of the requirement. If an agency decides, for example, not to accept the military rating, the rationale for the decision should be based upon the requirements of the position and should be thoroughly described in agency operating material. For flight instructor positions, the FAA Flight Instructor Certificate or the military equivalent rating is also required. The pilot certificate must include the rating(s) appropriate to the work of the position to be filled. For example, a position that involves flying a multi-engine airplane to various destinations under instrument flight rules would require the Commercial Pilot Certificate with the airplane, multi-engine, and instrument ratings or appropriate U.S. military ratings. Positions that require flying or instructing in flying both airplanes and helicopters require a rating in both categories. Only those ratings necessary to perform the work are required.

Note:

Candidates establishing eligibility based on military flight experience must provide official orders, forms, or logbooks showing their status as a rated military pilot, flight instructor, or flight examiner, as appropriate. Other certificates that meet or exceed the requirements of the Commercial Pilot Certificate are also acceptable, e.g., an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate.

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Flight Experience:

Candidates must demonstrate possession of the knowledge and skills required for the work by meeting certain minimum flight hour requirements, including recency of flight experience. The categories in which candidates are required to demonstrate proficiency relate to (1) the general knowledge and skills to pilot the aircraft, and (2) the specific knowledge and skills related to the particular position being filled. Only that flight experience that is directly related to the work of the position is required for purposes of establishing minimum eligibility.

Minimum Flight Hour Requirements

The following flight hour requirements apply to all applicants:

  1. Total Flight Time -- Flight time as pilot-in-command or copilot in aircraft of any weight or category is creditable for this requirement. For inservice placements actions, up to one-fourth of the total flight hours may by waived for candidates who have demonstrated possession of the knowledge and skills needed to perform the work, provided:
    • They hold the certificates and ratings required;
    • They have acquired the pilot-in-command hours and flight hours in other categories essential to performance of the work;
    • They meet the requirements in terms of level and quality of experience; and
    • Their flying history indicates they are qualified for the position.
  2. Pilot-In-Command -- Only flight hours acquired as pilot-in-command are creditable.
  3. Night Flying -- For inservice placement actions at the GS-11 level and above, 25 hours may be waived if the candidate demonstrates the ability to perform the work.
  4. Flying Time, Last 12 Months -- Required only for positions that involve flying. The flight hours specified apply to competitive appointments. For inservice placement actions, up to one-half of the flight hours may be waived provided the individual's total background reflects the ability to perform the duties of the position safely. For positions flying both helicopters and airplanes, at least one-fourth of the total hours must be in either category of aircraft.
Requirements
CategoryFlight Hours
GS-9GS-11 and above
1. Total Flight Time 1200 1500
2. Pilot-In-Command 250 250
3. Night Flying 50 75
4. Flying Time, Last 12 months 100 100

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The following flight hour requirements apply only when the position requires the particular specialty.

  1. Multi-engine Airplane -- When the position requires operation of heavy multi-engine airplanes (i.e., gross takeoff weight in excess of 12,500 pounds) at least 50 percent of the flight hours must have been in such heavy airplanes, except as indicated below. Up to 250 hours flying time acquired in heavy helicopters (gross takeoff weight in excess of 12,500 pounds) may be substituted. For Airspace System Inspection Pilot positions with the FAA, experience may have been in either light or heavy multi-engine airplanes.
  2. Heavy Helicopter -- Up to 250 hours flying time acquired in heavy multi-engine airplanes may be substituted.
  3. Instrument -- At the GS-9 level, at least 5 of the required hours must have been logged in actual instrument weather. At the GS-11 level and above, at least 10 of the required hours must have been logged in actual instrument weather. The balance may have been acquired in a flight simulator or as other types of instrument flight time, e.g., hood instrument.
  4. Instructor Time -- Must be related to the nature of the instruction work and the category of aircraft operated (i.e., airplane or helicopter) in the position to be filled. If the purpose of the position is to provide instruction in instrument flight techniques, one-half of the flight time must have involved instrument instruction in either airplanes or helicopters.
Requirements
CategoryFlight Hours
GS-9GS-11 and above
5. Multi-engine Airplane 100 500
6. Heavy Helicopter 0 500
7. Instrument 50 75
8. Instructor Time 0 500

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Additional Requirements For Flight Test Pilot

For flight test pilots, the minimum flight hour requirements shown for grades GS-11 and above are increased as follows:

Requirements
CategoryFlight Hours
Total Flight Time 1750
Pilot-In-Command 1150

The notes above on Total Flight Time and Pilot-in-Command also apply to flight test pilot positions. Flight test positions also require completion of a flight test course such as a military flight test school or the FAA flight test pilot course, or at least 1 year of experience either flight testing aircraft for engineering approval (civilian or military) or analyzing aircraft performance data.

Medical Requirements

At the time of initial appointment, candidates for all pilot positions must possess a current first or second-class medical certificate in accordance with FAA regulations; both meet the intent of the requirement. If an agency decides, for example, not to accept the second-class medical certificate, the rationale for the decision should be based upon the requirements of the position, and should be thoroughly described in agency operating material. Staff specialists not involved in the operation of aircraft need only have a medical examination indicating that they are able to perform the duties of the position to be filled. For flight test pilots, airspace system inspection pilots, and Customs pilots, all candidates must possess a current first class medical certificate at the time of appointment.

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