Aero Squadron Reserve Unit

The mission of the Aero Squadron is to assist the Orange County Sheriff's Department by providing air support to Orange County law enforcement and other agencies which may require aviation resources to complete their tasks; to ensure the highest level of pilot competency through continual training and a discreet selection process; and to enhance the safety and security of the community by providing an additional cadre of professionally trained personnel to augment the regular forces and furnish unique disaster response capabilities.


In 1926, when airplanes in Orange County could be tallied in single digits, Johnny Martin, an instrumental figure in local aviation history, organized the first Flying Police Squadron with four members called Police Aviation of Santa Ana. In 1947 Martin established a fixed base operation at Orange County Airport and together with Sheriff Musick, the Aero Squadron, as we know it today, was formed with 12 members and Johnny Martin as the first Captain. The unit has grown, both in number of members and sophistication of aviation equipment; and has served at the pleasure of four Sheriff's, including current Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. Reserve Captain Ray Grimes is the seventh commander of the unit.

Aero Squadron

Today the unit consists of 38 members with combined experience of over 200,000 flying hours. The unit is organized into five sections, each with specific tasks and goals, Administration/Programs, Special Projects, Materiel/Finance, Operations, and Training. A Reserve Lieutenant and a Reserve Sergeant head each section. During the past five years, the unit has contributed an average of over 8000 hours per year.

General Requirements for Aero Squadron Reserve Unit

  • Prefer private pilot or better with instrument rating, and significant flight experience.
  • Ready access to an aircraft when called for duty.
  • Availability to perform assignments when requested and attend meetings on a regular basis.
  • Willingness to donate personal time and out of pocket expenses for the benefit of the County of Orange and State of California.
  • Successfully pass a practical check by an Aero Squadron designated CFII both on the ground and in flight. (may be waived by staff for scheduled recurrentĀ training: for example airline pilot members).
  • Become a sworn reserve officer of the Orange County Sheriff's Department or complete the PSR orientation program.

Requirements For Continued Membership

Flight Status

  • Retain flight skills and conduct monthly practice of at least two (2) flight hours.
  • Pass an annual Aero Squadron oral and flight check given by one of the squadron's CFII's.
  • Retain valid FAA pilot's license, required physical examination and biennial flight review.

All Members

  • Pass bi-annual written and practical tests in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and recurrent tests in First Aid.
  • Continued availability to perform mission assignments and attend meetings regularly.
  • Attend bi-annual weekend training exercises. Pay nominal dues and other assessments required.
  • Maintain pistol shooting skills and qualify as required (except PSR).

For more information on joining the Reserves, see our Join Our Reserve Team page, or call the Reserve Office: 714-566-2711.