National Police Air Service (NPAS) has launched its latest recruitment drive for line pilots.
The service is trying to recruit experienced pilots to join its bases across England and Wales. With a fleet of 15 EC135 and four EC145 rotary aircraft, plus four P68R fixed wing aircraft, NPAS provides 24/7 air support across its 15 regional bases.
Though the service is encouraging and welcoming applications from anyone who meets the essential criteria, it said: “It comes as no surprise that 75 per cent of our pilots have made the move across from military flying careers.”
Ex-military personnel are often suited to police aviation as many of their skills are directly transferable, such as maintaining situational awareness while safely operating an aircraft to the limits of its performance.
Captain Paul Watts made the move into police aviation in 1999, following a 12-year Navy career, including eight years as a helicopter pilot in the Fleet Air Arm. He said: “It’s unique in its variety and dynamic nature. Pilots will often not know where their mission is until they are airborne.
“Tasks can rapidly change. You may launch to search for a missing child and then be diverted to a high-speed pursuit, which could turn into a foot chase, armed incident or even a siege situation. This requires pilots to be highly flexible and make decisions under pressure.”
He added: “Much of NPAS’s tasking occurs at night so pilots need to have significant operational night flying experience, including aided and unaided off-airfield landings.”