APSA's E-Newsletter is designed to help keep you informed on the very latest information in the airborne law enforcement industry. The E-Newsletter may also be read online here at our website.
American-Made Aircraft Celebrated by Eurocopter
American Eurocopter celebrated the 200th American-made AS350 helicopter with an event at their Grand Prairie, TX, location. The AS350 B3e was delivered to the Texas Department of Public Safety in April and was placed into service last month. Members of the Texas DPS were on hand to celebrate the occasion. The aircraft featured is the first AS350 B3e for the DPS. It was completed by Metro Aviation and is expected to go into service in McAllen, Texas.
Since its introduction in 1977, the AS350 AStar has developed a rich history throughout the world. Globally, there are more than 3,300 AS350 helicopters operating in all markets and missions. The first AS350 helicopter in the U.S. was delivered in 1978, and there are now 783 AStars operating throughout the United States. These aircraft are performing critical roles, such as airborne law enforcement, border and homeland security, and emergency air medical services, as well as missions for utility work, tourism, charter and VIP transport.
In 2005, American Eurocopter began building AS350 AStar helicopters at its manufacturing center in Columbus, Mississippi. To date, 237 AS350s have been made in the U.S.A.
New York Helicopter Crashes; Pilot OK
A New York State Police helicopter pilot who was assisting the search for a missing woman ended up needing help himself last month after his Bell 407 experienced difficulties, forcing him to make a crash landing. The 41-year-old trooper pilot (a former Army combat pilot) was able to safely put the helicopter down in a remote wooded area. He was then transported to the hospital with injuries that were not life threatening.
A witness recalled, "I just heard the pitch of the helicopter change, and then I looked out, I went outside the (maintenance) bay and saw the tail section of the helicopter spinning down and the helicopter was spiraling down towards the hill. And then it crashed. The tail section was already off the helicopter as it was falling," the man said. "I went out back, we started to call 911 ... but 911 was jammed so somebody called the state police."
The pilot was on his way back to base, most likely to refuel, when he started to lose control of the aircraft, according to Maj. Charles E. Guess, State Police Aviation Detail Commander. "It's nothing short of miraculous. He did everything right to put this aircraft on the ground in a safe manner," Guess said. "It was a wooded area, rugged terrain. He set out on foot and with his cell phone was able to make contact with his headquarters."
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are conducting an investigation into the crash. It's too early to tell whether the problems that forced the craft down were a result of mechanical failure or some other issue.
LSA Credited With Locating Distressed Woman
A light sport airplane utilized by the Bonner County (ID) Sheriff's Office is credited with bringing a swift end last month to the search for an 88-year-old woman with dementia. A Rans Designs S-6ES Coyote monoplane launched and its crew spotted the woman about an hour and a half into the search. The crew then directed deputies to her location. The woman was uninjured but suffering from fatigue and dehydration. "I am deeply grateful for the airplane finding me," she told deputies.
The light sport airplane is on loan as part of grant from the U.S. National Institute of Justice, a research and development arm of the U.S. Department of Justice. The Sheriff's Office obtained the aircraft last year and several deputies earned their credentials to fly the aircraft. Undersheriff Bob Bussey secured the grant to determine if such an asset would benefit the department.
"This mission is a great example of what a 'force multiplier' this aircraft is," said Lt. William McAuliffe, one of the pilots. "We are all thankful that it ended successfully and she is safely back home."
Sheriff's Office Unveils Air Wolf-1
The Webb County (TX) Sheriff's Office has a new aerial tool. Sheriff Martin Cuellar introduced Air Wolf-1 last month and said, "This is long overdue, it's the first time in our history and I'm very, very proud."
At 140 miles per hour, deputies say the helicopter provides a faster response time and more support for partners on the ground. "When you have emergencies, it's sometimes very difficult to play something out on the ground, but if you have something on top looking at the whole playing field, it really helps out a lot," said Sheriff Cuellar. "And, it's the equipment inside the helicopter that's more exciting to deputies, including an infrared system that will help keep a closer eye from above."
The helicopter was purchased with over $250,000 of forfeiture money and federal grants. Another $800,000 in grant money has been secured to maintain the helicopter in the future.
Elaborate Grow Site Found in Forest
Deputies from the Butte County (CA) Sheriff's Office Special Enforcement Unit and U.S. Forest Service agents raided an illegal marijuana grow site last month, confiscating 1,271 plants from the Plumas National Forest. The plants had an estimated value of $1.9 million.
The grow area was an hour-long hike up a steep, heavily wooded ridge above a creek. The people growing the plants had apparently hauled everything up the ridge on narrow paths: plastic pipe for drip irrigation, food, tents, cookware, propane tanks, fertilizer, rodent killer and other items. There were two tents, one with sleeping bags. A makeshift kitchen was also set up under a tarp. The growers had apparently been there a while.
The Sheriff's Office used its helicopter to transport the plants from the steep hill. "The most important thing for us, is we're trying to make the forest as safe as possible for people to recreate in," a U.S. Forest spokesman said. "Our concern is also the environment. They had pesticides, herbicides and rat poison. The chemicals obviously are bad."
Airborne Drug Interdiction: Share Your Story
The use of aviation assets to assist in fighting drug production and trafficking is a staple of many law enforcement agencies. The March-April 2013 issue of APSA's Air Beat magazine will look at airborne missions and tactics of the war on drugs. If you would like to contribute an article on this topic or share photos or details from an incident in your area, please contact airbeat@PublicSafetyAviation.org before December.
Charlotte Police Upgrade Equipment In Fleet
Wysong Enterprises completed numerous avionics upgrades to aid the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's Aviation Unit prior to last month's Democratic National Convention. Wysong was tasked with providing essential modifications and installations to their fleet of Bell 407 helicopters for protection during the convention.
"We have performed many installations and modifications since our company began," said Vice President of Wysong Enterprises, Rodney Wysong. "It brings us a lot of satisfaction to be entrusted with high profile projects that equip such sensitive missions. It is not every day that your work is directly linked with protecting the President of the United States. Yet each customer's aircraft is important to us and given the same quality and care. We pride ourselves on every aircraft that leaves our hangar, no matter what the mission is. "
Wysong installed an expanded instrument panel with a Garmin G500H EFIS with Helicopter Synthetic Vision Technology, (HSVT). The HSVT provides a clear depiction of the terrain in 3D. The company also installed a Garmin GNS 530W WAAS GPS / NAV / COM with cyclic switching, Garmin SL 40 COM, Garmin GTX 330 ES mode S transponder with Traffic Information Services (TIS) interfaced to the G500H display, Garmin GDL 69 Weather displayed on the G500H and digitally controlled Becker DVCS audio system with three control panels. In addition to the avionics upgrades, mission equipment improvements included AeroComputers UC5100 Moving Map System, Troll Skylink LC5 Microwave Pod, Technisonic TDFM-7300 Multiband FM Transceiver, Avalex AVM-4102 TFO Monitor, Spectrolab SX-16 Nightsun slaved to thermal imaging system and night vision modifications.
"The Bell 407s we completed will serve the community and region surrounding Charlotte, North Carolina for many years. We are very proud of that. The 407s now have some of the most proven and reliable instruments and accessories in the law enforcement business for helicopters, " said Wysong.
SOURCE: Wysong Enterprises, Inc.
South Carolina Agency Hosted A Day of Learning
The Greenville County (SC) Sheriff's Office Aviation Unit hosted a meeting for other aviation units on August 29 in the upstate area of South Carolina. Aviation Supervisor Sgt. Chris Hines organized the event, which was attended by 18 people representing the Greenville County Sheriff's Office, Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office, Anderson County Sheriff's Office, Oconee County Sheriff's Office, Pickens County Sheriff's Office and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
The primary topics were aircraft maintenance issues and information sharing. FLIR System's Larry Krieg hosted a catered lunch and updated everyone on and answered questions about any issues involving their equipment. APSA Southeast Region Deputy Director David Kale talked about the importance of APSA and the upcoming Southeast Safety Seminar, January 8-10, 2013, in Gainesville, FL.
SOURCE: APSA Southeast Region
Robinson's R66 Becomes Certified
Robinson Helicopter Company received FAA certification for the R66 Turbine Police Helicopter last month. Robinson's R66 Police model is specially configured for law enforcement and meets the latest FAA crashworthiness regulations. Robinson believes the modest price tag and simplified maintenance schedule will appeal to both large and small police agencies.
The four-seat R66 Police helicopter combines R66 power, altitude performance and capacity with the latest in surveillance systems. Turnkey ready, the R66 police come standard with technology including the FLIR Ultra 8000 thermal imaging camera, a 10-inch fold down color monitor, the new Spectrolab SX-7 searchlight and a dual audio controller. Performance specifications include a cruise speed of up to 120 kts (138 mph), payload of 800 lbs with full fuel and a hover ceiling OGE at max gross weight of 10,000 ft.
SOURCE: Robinson Helicopter Company
Vegas Helicopter Damaged in Training Incident
A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Air Support helicopter was damaged when it crash-landed and rolled on its side in an unpaved area last month at the North Las Vegas Airport. The crash occurred during a training exercise. Two pilots were aboard the four-seat helicopter, but neither reported serious injuries. The aircraft appeared to have suffered substantial damage, including twisted and bent rotors. The department's Air Support Unit, which has about 22 pilots, is based at the North Las Vegas Airport.
Botswana Police Upgrade AS350s For Night Missions
Botswana Police Air Support Unit's fleet of Eurocopter AS350 B3 helicopters was upgraded for nighttime missions. Eurocopter South Africa Ltd. (ESAL) and Aviation Specialties Unlimited (ASU) modified the instrument panel and the FLIR camera observer's console to be night vision goggle compliant. The crews are equipped with binocular NVGs. ASU also provided ESAL technicians with training related to the night vision upgrade.
"This added night mission capability will be a major benefit to us as we have a responsibility to provide airborne law enforcement over a very large area. It means that poachers and other criminals will no longer be able to hide from us at night" explained the Botswana Police Air Support Unit's Commanding Officer, Director Pilane Sebigi. In 2009, the then newly established Botswana Police Air Support unit acquired the first of three AS350 B3 helicopters.
Eurocopter Southern Africa CEO Fabrice Cagnat said, "We were and remain extremely proud to continue assisting Botswana's Police Air Support Unit. The AS350 B3 has a proven track record in police missions - especially in hot and high conditions - and we are confident that with this valuable night flight enhancement, these aircraft will even further make a valuable contribution to safeguarding the safety and security of Botswana and her citizens".
Arizona Agency Puts First B3e In Service
Pima County (AZ) Sheriff's Department (PCSD) Air Unit introduced its AS350 B3e helicopter to the public last month in Tucson, Arizona. This is the department's first Eurocopter helicopter, and it is the first AS350 B3e that was delivered into U.S. law enforcement.
As the county's first rescue-capable helicopter, the AS350 B3e helicopter will be used to complete SAR operations and to help extinguish fires. This model is typically used for high-performance missions in hot conditions and high altitudes and will allow PCSD to respond to threats along the border as well as rescuing hikers or those suffering from heat exposure in the desert.
The new helicopter replaces the helicopter that crashed in 2011, killing pilot Loren Leonburger and injuring three others. No general funds were used for the purchase - instead, Pima County used three funding sources: an insurance settlement from the crash, federal grant funding for urban areas with potential terrorism threats, and approximately $1 million in seized racketeering funds. The Pima County Sheriff's Office's Air Unit currently has four other aircraft: a single-engine and a twin-engine Cessna used for prisoner extradition, and two Vietnam-era, fixed-wing Helio-Courier aircraft used in patrol operations.
SOURCE: American Eurocopter
20 Years Of Financing Municipal Projects
Government Capital Corporation celebrated its 20 years of service to the public sector last month. Founded on the principles of integrity, trust, innovation and the fostering of partnerships with clients, the firm has focused 100% of its efforts in the municipal sector. Since its inception, municipal entities across the country have accomplished great things for their local constituents, many times with restrictive (and in recent times declining) budgets.
The company focuses exclusively on municipal finance with their vast network of capital market and legal resources. From the $50,000 police vehicle to the $1,000,000 ladder truck to the $26,000,000 installation of a countywide emergency 911 communications network, Government Capital understands these financing needs and can design a cost-effective, term-appropriate finance structure.
SOURCE: Government Capital (APSA Member)
FAA Creates Fuel Office for Unleaded Avgas Research
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), responding to the concerns of the General Aviation Avgas Coalition, has announced formation of a new office that will be responsible for providing technical information and guidance related to developments in aviation fuels, including unleaded options.
The coalition sees formation of the office as an "important step" in creating an "unleaded avgas transition program" that will be able to evaluate fuels and generate data that could form commercial fuel specifications and guide certification efforts. The FAA already has some steps in place. The coalition also asked the FAA to increase its funding for the Avgas transition program from $2 million to $5.5 million, saying the increased amount is still short of what is necessary but "reflects a fiscally responsible program based on a reduced scope of activitiesâ€¦ that still require FAA involvement." The agency said that it will "carefully consider the request."
Slovenian Police Upgrade Communication System
The Slovenian National Police's Eurocopter EC135 will have its communications equipment upgraded by Heli-One. The contract calls for the installation of a Tetra radio â€” a private mobile communications system that can be retrofitted into a helicopter, offering increased flexibility, security and ease of use.
"We are proud to have been selected by the Slovenian Police to carry out the EC135 communications system upgrade," said Larry Alexandre, President of Heli-One. "Over the past several years, Heli-One has been increasingly performing MRO work for police aviation wings, both in North America and overseas. Due to our extensive experience with defense and security, police and emergency medical aerial operators, we understand the necessity for best-in-class MRO services that help ensure safety and reliability, and we have the knowledge, skills and global support network to deliver those specialized services," he said.
Jail Time Ordered For Laser-Pointing Man
A 28-year-old Las Vegas man was sentenced last month to eight months in jail for pointing a laser light multiple times at aircraft last year. Authorities say that on the evening of Aug. 31, 2011, the man was standing outside an apartment complex near McCarran International Airport when he shined a strong green laser light into the cockpit of at least three commercial aircraft on their landing approach. After the airport reported the incidents, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Air Support flew a helicopter to the area, and a laser then beamed at the police helicopter. The helicopter crew contacted patrol units on the ground, who then arrested the man at the scene.
Laser pointing incidents involving aircraft have risen dramatically in the last several years, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Some industrial lasers are capable of damaging the eye. Early this year, the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 was signed into law and prohibits aiming of a laser pointer at an aircraft or in its flight path.
Kansas City Completes Cockpit Upgrades
Three MD 500E helicopters operated by the Kansas City (KS) Police Department had certified NVG cockpit upgrades completed last month by Aero Dynamix. These aircraft are the newest addition to the KCPD fleet of airborne law enforcement assets. The NVG upgrades encompass internal NVIS avionics modifications, edge lit panels, instrument overlays and all other internal and external illuminated components. These upgrades are designed to achieve a balanced cockpit that is optimized for both night and daylight readability performance.
"We are proud to be the NVIS lighting provider of choice for the law enforcement community." says Tonka Hufford, Aero Dynamix' Director of Operations, "Safety of flight is our number one priority and we appreciate the confidence the KCPD has placed in Aero Dynamix."
SOURCE: Aero Dynamix
HAI's "Salute to Excellence" Nominations Open
The nominations process for the 2013 Salute to Excellence Awards program is now open, so start thinking now about whom you believe should be honored for their contributions to the international rotorcraft community. For more than 50 years, Helicopter Association International (HAI) has recognized the outstanding achievements and exceptional merits of individuals and organizations through the Salute to Excellence Awards program.
Any individual or organization, whether or not they are HAI members, may submit nominations or be nominated for one or more of the awards. The deadline to submit nominations is November 16. By acknowledging exceptional individuals and organizations, the Salute to Excellence program encourages the highest standards of professionalism in the helicopter industry. Go to www.rotor.com/Events/SalutetoExcellenceAwards.aspx to learn more. Salute those who deserve to be recognized in 2013 for their contributions to the rotorcraft community - do not let service above and beyond the call of duty go unrecognized!
Canadian Safety Seminar Gears Up
Next week, the York Regional Police Air Support Unit will host the APSA 2012 Canadian Regional Safety Seminar in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Register now to attend on October 10-12 by clicking herehttp://archives.alea.org/events/detail.aspx?i=132&p=1&d=10/10/2012. Discounted rooms are available at the Sheraton Park Toronto North Hotel. Any questions, please contact Canadian Region Director Rob O'Quinn at roquinn@PublicSafetyAviation.org.
San Antonio Hosts Central Region Safety Seminar
Before the holidays get started, join APSA's Central Region members for two days of education in San Antonio, TX. You'll learn about tactics, techniques and the last technology available in public safety aviation. The San Antonio Police Department Helicopter Unit will host the two-day event on November 13-15, 2012. Discounted room rates are available at the host hotel Holiday Inn San Antonio Riverwalk.http://archives.alea.org/events/detail.aspx?i=129&p=1&d=11/13/2012. Click here for more information or email Region Director Ryan Miller at rmiller@PublicSafetyAviation.org.