Aviation is one of the many programs in the NPS that supports multiple areas and disciplines. Nearly 60% of aircraft use in NPS supports natural resource management. Some of the other programs supported by NPS Aviation include:
- Law enforcement
- Search and rescue
- Backcountry patrol
- Transport of personnel and cargo
In providing this support, the NPS uses contracted helicopters and airplanes, as well as government-owned “fleet” aircraft. The NPS Aviation Program requires highly skilled pilots and personnel as well as technically complex aircraft and equipment to perform aviation functions critical to accomplishing the NPS mission.
The NPS Aviation Program is unique, challenging and one of the most diverse and complex of any aviation programs within the Department of the Interior (DOI). High-risk activities are routinely performed in varied terrain and environmental conditions.
Use of unmanned aircraft is becoming more frequent for NPS administrative purposes, such as research on threatened and endangered species, animal inventory and monitoring, and law enforcement. Unmanned aircraft use by NPS employees for official purposes requires an approval process through the Regional Aviation Manager. Operations of unmanned aircraft by private citizens in national parks are not permitted.
( See NPS Management Policies, 2006, Section 8.4)
Find additional NPS aviation-related training courses and resources on the Fire and Aviation Management CLP Landing Page.