CBP Pilot: Requirements and Hiring Process

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If you’re looking for an EXCITING job, this is it!

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine (OAM) is in-charge of hiring CBP Pilots or more officially known as Air Interdiction Agents. They are responsible for patrolling the skies to prevent the illegal entry of weapons of terror, illegal aliens, terrorists, and illegal narcotics. Pilots fly sophisticated aircrafts and work in the most stressful and dangerous situations. Both covert and overt operations against terrorist activities are also conducted by CBP pilots. They work in the mornings, at night, and at any time of the day they are called to serve!

To become a CBP pilot, you should meet the minimum requirements set forth by the CBP. These include U.S. citizenship; ability to successfully complete a thorough background investigation and drug test; passing of a FAA class 1 flight physical; possession of a valid FAA Commercial Pilots license with an instrument rating and other rating(s) appropriate to the position to be filled; and be under 40 years of age. Total flight time required is 1500 hours (although half of the total flight time may be waived); Pilot-in-Command time requirement is 250 hours; 75 hours of Instrument/Night Flying; and flight time required for the last 12 months is 100 hours.

The new hire process consists of four steps: 1) Records Review; 2) Structured Interview; 3) Oral Examination; and 4) Flight Evaluations. In the records review, the hiring panel will check if you meet the prescribed flight times discussed above. They will also check if you have the prescribed FAA First Class Medical Certificate and the FAA Commercial Pilot Certificate.  Your FAA Commercial Pilot Certificate can have the following ratings: airplane, single-engine or multi-engine land with instrument; or rotor craft helicopter with instrument. An Airline Transport Certificate or other certificates that meet or exceed the requirements of the Commercial Certificate are also acceptable.

The second step on the Structured Interview will be conducted by a three-person panel of Air Interdiction Agents. The next step in the process is the Oral Examination. It is designed to assess your basic aeronautical knowledge commensurate with Commercial Privileges. An Instructor Pilot conducts the exam. You can prepare for this by studying the FARS part 61 and 91 of the Airman’s Information Manual and Flight Information Publications to include U.S. Terminal Procedures, IFR En Route/Sectional Aeronautical Charts.

The final step is the Flight Evaluation. Also conducted by Instructor Pilots, these are designed to assess basic pilot tasks graded to Commercial Pilot standards.

For the Fixed-Wing Flight Evaluation (C-206/C-210), you will be evaluated based on your knowledge of Crew Resource Management; Radio/ICS Communications; Taxi; Normal/Crosswind Take-off; Steep Turns; Slow Flight; Stalls; Unusual Attitude; Engine Out Emergency; Non-Precision Approach; Missed Approach; Holding; Precision Approach; Go Around; and VFR Traffic Pattern. For the Rotary-Wing Flight Evaluation (AS-350/EC-120); your knowledge of the following concepts will be evaluated: Hover Power Check; Hovering Flight; Normal Takeoff; Traffic Pattern Flight; Before Landing Check; Normal Approach; Auto-rotations; Confined Area Operations; Pinnacle Operations; Slope Landings; Quick Stops; Unusual Attitude Recovery; Inadvertent IMC Procedures; Radio/ICS Communications; Precision Approach; Non-Precision Approach; Missed Approach; and Cockpit Resource Management.

If you are a pilot and have a deep desire to serve your country AND get in adventures, this career could be perfect for you!