By Alex DeMetrick

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It takes 70 civilian pilots to keep 10 Maryland State Police helicopters in the air.

There are currently 14 vacancies.

“There is actually a pilot shortage across the United States,” MSP spokesman Greg Shipley said. “There are a lot of pilot jobs out there. We’re competing in the Maryland State Police like many other organizations are as well, both in law enforcement and the private sector.

So what does it take to climb aboard? At least 2,000 hours of flight time for a pilot, and 1,200 for a co-pilot.

“They contain the newest technology that’s available in this kind of flight service.” Shipley said.

Including the Medivac station in the rear, and search and rescue equipment for those missions. There is also a strong safety record and routine state of the art maintenance.

But the purchase of advanced helicopters also increased the workload.

“Previously in the aviation command there was only one pilot in that helicopter. But this new helicopter brought about the change to two pilots. So we’ve increased out need for pilots in the command.” Shipley said.

Starting pay for a pilot is over $71,000 a year, almost $64,000 for a co-pilot, plus scheduled raises and overtime. Then there are the rewards not found on a paycheck, like all those flights to shock trauma.

“That results in lives being saved every day. So this is an opportunity unlike a lot of other pilot opportunities out there.” Shipley said.

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Alex DeMetrick

  1. MSP Aviation is misused and a complete waste of my tax dollars! Why not have a civilian helicopter company do the same thing for free and bill the patient a lower rate???

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