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Thread: Usfs beaver positions

  1. #41
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    What does it pay, just out of curiosity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yukon John View Post
    It's funny that I got a Supercub.org update with this post, as a few days ago I tried to Weasel my way into a job flying the FS Beaver. Alas, I'm too old! No age discrimination with the us.gov. Guess you have to be 37 years of younger (for some reason classified as a Fire Fighting job and not a pilot). Sounds like if you have military time, they may pro-rate that.

    A hundred years ago, this was a highly sought after job that was hard to get. I know, I tried. I really enjoyed talking to Henny, and would like to pass along that if you can get past all the red tape, this may really be worth checking out.
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie Foy View Post
    What does it pay, just out of curiosity?
    Annual pay for GS-11 Step 1 with locality pay is $62,236 and GS-12 Step 10 is $96,978. Experience and qualifications determine which step and level you start at.

  3. #43
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    And don't forget a Pension!
    Just because you know you can do it, doesn't mean you should!
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  4. #44
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    There’s still time for me to get qualified! (Not in this hiring round but next one perhaps...)
    Proud owner of a collection of airplane pieces (sometimes in one big piece) known as the Oklahoma Kid.

  5. #45
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    Well Amy, unless the USFS raises the minimum age to at least 45, or gives up and sells the airplanes and contract out the flying, I bet that job will be there for you!
    Just because you know you can do it, doesn't mean you should!
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  6. #46
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    Hiring announcement out again today for two USFS Beaver pilots in Ely, MN. Application window closes on 03 Dec 2019. Same qualifications and age limits, supposedly easier application process. We will see...

    https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/552015200

    Fire away or PM me with any questions.

    Henny



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    Last edited by Henny; 11-19-2019 at 08:39 AM.

  7. #47
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    Henny if I get a fake ID that says I am 39 do you think they will buy it?

    sj
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  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ View Post
    Henny if I get a fake ID that says I am 39 do you think they will buy it?

    sj
    I'm pretty sure the Forest Service will believe just about anything at this point...

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ View Post
    Henny if I get a fake ID that says I am 39 do you think they will buy it?

    sj
    Bank balance, IQ or number of personalities?
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  10. #50

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    Were am I wrong the FS dock is on public waters and isn’t it a federal offense to tamper with an aircraft? What could they do claim you are interfering with their operation when they are hardly flying any more compared to a few years ago

  11. #51

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    Handsome paint job.

  12. #52
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    Being a Govt pilot for 26 years..... I wonder why they can not keep pilots?
    My superior skills continue to get me out of where my piss poor judgement took me......

  13. #53
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    Henry,

    Iíve watched this thread with some interest for a while. Back many years ago, P.L. was my tailwheel flight instructor. If memory serves, I think he had gotten out of the Army a year or two before I got out of the Navy. Havenít spoken to him in years but I still think he was one of the best instructors to come out of St. Cloud State. Super good guy. I was very jealous of of that job when I was laid off multiple times from the airlines and still in the right seat after 10 years making no money. Times have really, really changed in the past 10 years.

    My son is just finishing his CFI and I asked if this would be something he would like. He said maybe but how can I afford it? $70k to start and top out around $97 with nearly $100 k in student loans? To us older guys it sounds great but how do they expect to compete when the airlines are offering $20 sign on bonuses and 5 years to a Boeing where you make 300k as a Captain? I think the government needs to have a more realistic salary to attract the talent they need. Just my 2 cents.

    On on a lighter note, I just watched the video on YouTube about the Forest Service operation in Ely. What an awesome facility!! Itís a great video. They were showing some pictures from the early days in Ely which was really fantastic. I screen shot this:


    Click image for larger version. 

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    Do do you any idea who the man is in the picture? It must be on the wall up there. The reason I ask is Iím 90% sure thatís my airplane. The N number has been changed but it was delivered to Ely in 1947 direct from Lockhaven as a factory float plane. Iíll have to look in the paperwork but Iím pretty sure thatís it. NC2420M?
    PA-12 N418BS
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  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by C-185 View Post
    Being a Govt pilot for 26 years..... I wonder why they can not keep pilots?
    The Ely program has actually never had a problem keeping pilots. I believe that in the last 30 years or so, only 1 pilot hasn't stayed until retirement. Dean Lee backs this up in the SPA video linked in a previous post.

    The problem lately has been getting qualified applicants with the experience required, who don't want to go to the airlines, are willing to move to Ely, and not come close to making what the airlines pay...

  15. #55
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    Not just the Forest Service. Anyone looking for round engine, web footed pilots right now is having a struggle.

    We missed an entire generation of recruiting, those that came to aviation are all airline bound with easy paths- not a glut of military guys coming out of war now, and lots of seats to fill.

    Many of those qualified now are mostly old, broken bodies and cantankerous. Great pilots, but fewer every day.

    At one time, every pilot had to work at a 135 mill, or military training. Most tried like heck to get out of the Cherokees and sleds- so floats were a way out. Now? Heck, right seat in a 208 or Navajo right out of flight school, left seat in 208 at 500-1,000 hours, left seat in Navajo at about 2,000.

    Oh well, my value keeps rising!
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by KJC View Post
    Henry,

    I’ve watched this thread with some interest for a while. Back many years ago, P.L. was my tailwheel flight instructor. If memory serves, I think he had gotten out of the Army a year or two before I got out of the Navy. Haven’t spoken to him in years but I still think he was one of the best instructors to come out of St. Cloud State. Super good guy. I was very jealous of of that job when I was laid off multiple times from the airlines and still in the right seat after 10 years making no money. Times have really, really changed in the past 10 years.

    My son is just finishing his CFI and I asked if this would be something he would like. He said maybe but how can I afford it? $70k to start and top out around $97 with nearly $100 k in student loans? To us older guys it sounds great but how do they expect to compete when the airlines are offering $20 sign on bonuses and 5 years to a Boeing where you make 300k as a Captain? I think the government needs to have a more realistic salary to attract the talent they need. Just my 2 cents.

    On on a lighter note, I just watched the video on YouTube about the Forest Service operation in Ely. What an awesome facility!! It’s a great video. They were showing some pictures from the early days in Ely which was really fantastic. I screen shot this:


    Click image for larger version. 

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Views:	104 
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    Do do you any idea who the man is in the picture? It must be on the wall up there. The reason I ask is I’m 90% sure that’s my airplane. The N number has been changed but it was delivered to Ely in 1947 direct from Lockhaven as a factory float plane. I’ll have to look in the paperwork but I’m pretty sure that’s it. NC2420M?
    Yep, PL is a pretty good instructor. He and I overlapped for about a year and he got me spooled up on all the missions that we fly. I rarely see him anymore since he retired, even though he lives less than a half mile down the road from us.

    Couldn't agree more with you about government pay for pilots. There is actually a push from several government agencies to raise the pilot pay in an attempt to try and hire and retain quality folks. USFS is a little late in getting its ducks in a row with requesting it, but I believe that NASA and one other agency (maybe CBP) got it approved and received something like a 25% base pay raises across the board for all pilots. Still doesn't compare to airline pay, but at least it is a start. We look for folks with the required hours, preferred float plane experience, who don't want to go to the airlines, are willing to live year-round in Northern Minnesota and fly 60-plus year old airplanes, and do it for a decent salary (especially for the Ely area.) Oh yeah, and you have to be hired before you turn 37. Makes for a pretty small pool of folks considering the current opportunities for pilots. And don't get me started on the USFS HR department and numerous qualified pilots not getting through the initial look to make it to an interview...

    We offered a position to a gentlemen earlier this year, but he was already working for a regional and decided to stick with the airline route.

    I don't know the gentleman's name in the photo off the top of my head but I believe he was a local DNR game warden. I won't be back in Ely until right before Christmas, but I picked PL's brain before he left and I got details from him about every photo in the building with names and dates. I will take a look at it when I get back and let you know who he is.
    Last edited by Henny; 11-23-2019 at 12:29 AM.
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  17. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by KJC View Post
    Henry,

    I’ve watched this thread with some interest for a while. Back many years ago, P.L. was my tailwheel flight instructor. If memory serves, I think he had gotten out of the Army a year or two before I got out of the Navy. Haven’t spoken to him in years but I still think he was one of the best instructors to come out of St. Cloud State. Super good guy. I was very jealous of of that job when I was laid off multiple times from the airlines and still in the right seat after 10 years making no money. Times have really, really changed in the past 10 years.

    My son is just finishing his CFI and I asked if this would be something he would like. He said maybe but how can I afford it? $70k to start and top out around $97 with nearly $100 k in student loans? To us older guys it sounds great but how do they expect to compete when the airlines are offering $20 sign on bonuses and 5 years to a Boeing where you make 300k as a Captain? I think the government needs to have a more realistic salary to attract the talent they need. Just my 2 cents.

    On on a lighter note, I just watched the video on YouTube about the Forest Service operation in Ely. What an awesome facility!! It’s a great video. They were showing some pictures from the early days in Ely which was really fantastic. I screen shot this:


    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	F9EF2A50-C6D0-49A4-A60C-B316CCFE6B94.png 
Views:	104 
Size:	396.2 KB 
ID:	45736


    Do do you any idea who the man is in the picture? It must be on the wall up there. The reason I ask is I’m 90% sure that’s my airplane. The N number has been changed but it was delivered to Ely in 1947 direct from Lockhaven as a factory float plane. I’ll have to look in the paperwork but I’m pretty sure that’s it. NC2420M?
    My Grandfather was from Ely. He had a Stinson that he metalized and painted blue. He moved to the Clear Lake area in the late 60s and kept his plane with Bob at Clear Lake. It was damaged in a wind storm in the mid 70s at the Clear Lake airport. Instead of fixing it he gave the Stinson to Bob. Yours is a Piper 12?
    Last edited by LUCIFER; 11-24-2019 at 12:00 PM.

  18. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by Henny View Post
    I don't know the gentleman's name in the photo off the top of my head but I believe he was a local DNR game warden. I won't be back in Ely until right before Christmas, but I picked PL's brain before he left and I got details from him about every photo in the building with names and dates. I will take a look at it when I get back and let you know who he is.
    Is the name you are looking "Bob Hodge"? There is a picture of Bob Hodge in Bob Carys book "Bush Pilots" with a Piper? But it has a different paint scheme than the plane in the picture. The paint scheme on the plane in the book looks similar to the plane in KJCs avatar.
    Last edited by LUCIFER; 11-24-2019 at 04:52 PM.

  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by LUCIFER View Post
    Is the name you are looking "Bob Hodge"? There is a picture of Bob Hodge in Bob Carys book "Bush Pilots" with a Piper? But it has a different paint scheme.
    That names sounds familiar. I think you may be correct. I will have to verify next month when I am back there.

  20. #60
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    That age limit kinda sucks. Sounds like it cuts out MANY qualified applicants. Airlines don’t seem to have a problem with hiring older pilots wonder why the government does. A 50 yr old pilot still has a sh#$ load of flying to be done, even as a new hire.

  21. #61
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    They force their pilots to retire at 57 and want them in the retirement program for 20 years before that. Therefore 37 is the maximum age for a new hire. No really, that's their "reasoning".

  22. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by dabridgham View Post
    They force their pilots to retire at 57 and want them in the retirement program for 20 years before that. Therefore 37 is the maximum age for a new hire. No really, that's their "reasoning".
    Different agencies for me, but same system. So glad Iím retired now. Yes - got to play with all kinds of cool ďtoys,Ē but donít miss the bureaucratic morass one bit!
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  23. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyR View Post
    Different agencies for me, but same system. So glad I’m retired now. Yes - got to play with all kinds of cool “toys,” but don’t miss the bureaucratic morass one bit!
    These jobs are included in the federal fire fighting retirement program, which dictates the mandatory retirement age. The firefighter (or similar law enforcement) federal retirement program offers a better retirement than the “standard” federal retirement. The reason for the max hiring age is such that the applicant can meet the minimum 20 years in service for retirement before they age out.

    In my opinion, they’d have a lot better luck hiring pilots if these weren’t covered under that retirement program. But, obviously, the FS can get along fine without pilots there....based on recent years.

    MTV
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  24. #64
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    Do these positions require a red card?
    Thank a sheepdog today for they are standing guard!

  25. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by scout88305 View Post
    Do these positions require a red card?
    Not a Red card per-say. Pilots in fire fighter job descriptions do need to be "Carded" for the missions they fly. https://www.nwcg.gov/committee/6mfs/...-pilot-carding

  26. #66
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    Thought maybe being in active fire zones they needed red cards and shelter/Nomex. I hated the step test.
    Thank a sheepdog today for they are standing guard!

  27. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by scout88305 View Post
    Thought maybe being in active fire zones they needed red cards and shelter/Nomex. I hated the step test.
    No red card required. We are required to wear Nomex flight suits and gloves and leather boots anytime we are below 500 ft AGL. We do have shelters which we would carry if we have to shuttle in to an active fire. No firefighter physical, just the FAA Class One or Two medical.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mot View Post
    Not a Red card per-say. Pilots in fire fighter job descriptions do need to be "Carded" for the missions they fly. https://www.nwcg.gov/committee/6mfs/...-pilot-carding
    That NWCG section is actually dealing with civilian/contract pilots supporting a Federal Wildland Fire Mission and it is true that they do need to be carded. USFS pilots do not need any "Carding", just a checkflight for the various missions we fly. We do "Card" other agency pilots and aircraft to fly USFS-specific missions.

  28. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by TVATIVAK71 View Post
    That age limit kinda sucks. Sounds like it cuts out MANY qualified applicants. Airlines donít seem to have a problem with hiring older pilots wonder why the government does. A 50 yr old pilot still has a sh#$ load of flying to be done, even as a new hire.
    Quote Originally Posted by dabridgham View Post
    They force their pilots to retire at 57 and want them in the retirement program for 20 years before that. Therefore 37 is the maximum age for a new hire. No really, that's their "reasoning".
    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    These jobs are included in the federal fire fighting retirement program, which dictates the mandatory retirement age. The firefighter (or similar law enforcement) federal retirement program offers a better retirement than the ďstandardĒ federal retirement. The reason for the max hiring age is such that the applicant can meet the minimum 20 years in service for retirement before they age out.

    In my opinion, theyíd have a lot better luck hiring pilots if these werenít covered under that retirement program. But, obviously, the FS can get along fine without pilots there....based on recent years.

    MTV
    I have recommended for several years that we get rid of the Primary Firefighter designation and age 37 limit for the Beaver program. As everyone has stated, it really limits our pilot applicant pool by eliminated plenty of experience pilots over the age of 37. Unfortunately, USFS aviation is a very small part of the larger Forest Service and we fall underneath "Fire and Aviation Management" instead of a single "Aviation" department. There has been a minor push on to separate the two, but that probably won't happen anytime soon. And so we are stuck with non-aviation types making decisions for aviation. And that is all I'm going to say about that...

  29. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by dabridgham View Post
    They force their pilots to retire at 57 and want them in the retirement program for 20 years before that. Therefore 37 is the maximum age for a new hire. No really, that's their "reasoning".
    You would think that the pension plan would welcome late-comers--
    that way, the payoff at age 57 retirement would be lower.
    Better yet, mandatory retirement before vesting in the plan, so no pension payoff at all.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  30. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    You would think that the pension plan would welcome late-comers--
    that way, the payoff at age 57 retirement would be lower.
    Better yet, mandatory retirement before vesting in the plan, so no pension payoff at all.
    Rule is you can’t qualify for the program unless you can vest, is: Do minimum required years. If they didn’t do that, govt would be sued by someone who couldn’t get the annuity.

    Question I would ask: Do these jobs really fit the firefighter series? Was done as extra incentive, but if it precludes hiring.....?

    MTV

  31. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    Question I would ask: Do these jobs really fit the firefighter series? Was done as extra incentive, but if it precludes hiring.....?

    MTV
    Could argue both ways. Scooping and dropping water, probably. Fish stocking and wolf telemetry, not so much...

  32. #72
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    Application window extended and now closes at midnight on Monday, 09 Dec 2019.

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  33. #73
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    So how much a month can one expect to collect from the pension if they retire at the 20 year mark?

    Kurt

  34. #74
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    34% of your highest 3 year average. If you averaged 94 k it be around 3196.00 a month less federal, state tax. Health insurance, survivor benefits, ( thats if you want your spouse or other to get 25% or 50% after you die) and life insurance if want to keep it. Since its forced early retirement you get a supplemental to carry you over till social security and that would be 800-1200 a month on top of the pension. Also you get a 401k if you want to contribute.

    When your working you can put up to 15% in the 401k. Think new hires pay 4.4 to the pension plan plus social security 7.65%. Up to 27% or your salary will go to retirement savings. As a fed employee your take home after taxes, insurance etc is around 52-55 percent or your gross.

    If you work more than 20 years your percentage increases up 1 % for each extra year.

  35. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by kase View Post
    34% of your highest 3 year average. If you averaged 94 k it be around 3196.00 a month less federal, state tax. Health insurance, survivor benefits, ( thats if you want your spouse or other to get 25% or 50% after you die) and life insurance if want to keep it. Since its forced early retirement you get a supplemental to carry you over till social security and that would be 800-1200 a month on top of the pension. ….If you work more than 20 years your percentage increases up 1 % for each extra year.
    Sounds pretty sweet.
    Curious if there's a minimum retirement age?
    Let's say a guy started flying this Beaver job at 25,
    he could qualify with 20 years service & go out at 45.
    My union pension's full retirement age is 62.
    I qualified for (and took) mine at age 55,
    but got nicked 6% a year for going out early.
    Originally it was 25 years of service & out with a full draw,
    but they had too many guys going out at 45 or 50 --
    the resulting 30-to-40 years of paying full benefits would've broke the bank.
    So they came up with the early-out penalty,
    based on actuarial tables (aka how long you gonna live).
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  36. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    Sounds pretty sweet.
    Curious if there's a minimum retirement age?
    Let's say a guy started flying this Beaver job at 25,
    he could qualify with 20 years service & go out at 45.
    My union pension's full retirement age is 62.
    I qualified for (and took) mine at age 55,
    but got nicked 6% a year for going out early.
    Originally it was 25 years of service & out with a full draw,
    but they had too many guys going out at 45 or 50 --
    the resulting 30-to-40 years of paying full benefits would've broke the bank.
    So they came up with the early-out penalty,
    based on actuarial tables (aka how long you gonna live).
    Eligibility Requirements
    As a FERS LEO or firefighter, you can retire at an earlier age than most other employees. To do that you must meet the age and service requirements and separate from a covered position. The minimum age and service requirements are age 50 with at least 20 years of covered service or any age and 25 years of covered service. Unused sick leave canít be used to meet the minimum service requirement nor can any military service, unless you go directly from a law enforcement or firefighter position into the military and return to a covered position.

    Mandatory Separation
    If you have completed 20 years of service under these special retirement provisions, you must be separated on the last day of the month in which you reach age 57 if you are currently occupying an LEO or firefighter position. In the public interest, an agency head may exempt an employee from mandatory separation until age 60.

    Once youíve met the years-of-service requirement, you donít need to stay in a covered position to retire under the special annuity computation provision. You can take a non-covered job, avoid mandatory separation, and still receive the special annuity computation for those 20 years of LEO or firefighter service.

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