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.
APSA EXPO 2014 on Final Approach; Next Week in Phoenix!
APSA EXPO 2014 is upon us, landing in Phoenix AZ, next week. Technology, management, safety, regulatory issues, training, tactics and budgets are all components of public safety aviation. It is more important than ever for police aviation professionals to stay up-to-date with their continuing education. For last minute information on the conference or registration, please visit www.alea.org/events/annual-conference.
For those of you who will not be attending the conference, we'll make it easy to follow along with daily reports from Air Beat Today. The newsletter will contain items about technology and services on display at the expo from corporate members and a recap of conference events. For past conference newsletters, visit www.alea.org/Publications.
LAPD Acquires Two sUAS From Seattle Police
The Los Angeles Police Department has received two small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) from the Seattle Police Department, which recently announced it was putting an end to its UAS program. LAPD officials said no decision has been made as to whether or when the aircraft will be put to use.
The Draganflyer X6 sUAS, purchased by the Seattle Police Department using federal grants, were received on May 29. The City of Los Angeles incurred no cost in the transfer. An LAPD statement said the UAS were "pending review by the LAPD and the Board of Police Commissioners, as well as the publicâ€¦the review would only consider narrow and prescribed uses to prevent imminent bodily harm, for example, a hostage situation or barricaded armed suspect."
Florida Man Accused of Shining Laser at Police Helicopter
A Florida man was arrested for aiming a laser pointer at a Tampa Police Department helicopter on June 3, two days after the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a stern warning against anyone who aims laser pointers at aircraft. Tampa Police officers say their helicopter was hit with a green laser as they were flying a patrol mission. The officers then used night vision devices to detect the source of the laser and directed ground troops to make the arrest.
The suspect was reportedly the only individual close to the area from which the laser was believed to originate. Police found a laser pointer, as well as marijuana in the man's possession. The man was placed on a $3,000 bond and is awaiting trial.
National Park Service Bans UAS Use in National Parks
The National Park Service banned the use of UAS in all of its parks on June 20. The agency's director said the decision stems from "serious concerns about the negative impact that flying unmanned aircraft is having in parks." The agency banned UAS in Yosemite National Park in May because an increased number of visitors had been using them to film climbers and capture other aerial footage. UAS were prohibited in other national parks earlier this year; UAS cannot be launched from, landed in or flown over the land or water overseen by the National Park Service, which manages 84 million acres of land and 4.5 million acres of oceans, lakes and reservoirs.
The National Park Service director said that the new rules are only temporary and will prohibit UAS use until the agency can settle on a permanent policy. This process, however, could "take considerable time." The one exception to the ban will allow the agency to use UAS for scientific studies, search and rescue operations and fire-related situations.
Minnesota Aircrew Rescues Lost Boy Scout Party
A Minnesota State Patrol (MSP) aircrew located and rescued a lost Boy Scout troop in mid-June. The Ohio-based troop had been canoeing on a lake near the Canadian border when rough weather overwhelmed them. All eight of the Scouts and troop leaders were reportedly forced into the water at one point during the incident.
The Twin Cities-based Minnesota Air Rescue Team was called to the scene when the troop was able to contact authorities using a satellite phone.
Rescue crews were able to locate and secure six of the individuals using floatplanes and ground crews, but two of the troop leaders were stranded on a point and cut off from rescuers by high waves. The MSP aircrew positioned its helicopter over the men and hauled them to safety aboard a waiting floatplane.
New Brisbane Police Helicopter Unveiled
The Queensland Police Service in Australia unveiled a new helicopter in early July. The chopper, call-sign Polair 2, is intended to serve communities across Brisbane, Ipswich and Moreton Bay, and could also be deployed between Caboolture and Coolangatta and west to the Lockyer Valley. The Eurocopter BO 105 Super Five is one of two helicopters that were promised to the police department by the state government in 2012. The department's Polair 1, based on the Gold Coast, has been operational since last year.
The new helicopter is owned by Surf Life Saving Queensland and has been contracted to the Queensland Police Service until July 2016. The former German police helicopter, which has been retrofitted to include state-of-the-art avionics, an infrared camera, a tracking spotlight and a loudspeaker, will be based at Archerfield Airport. Police said the helicopter would primarily perform drug detections and intelligence gathering and be deployed during the upcoming G20 Summit to be held in Brisbane in November 2014.
Oakland Police Look to Double Helicopter's Air Time
The Oakland (CA) Police Department has asked its city council for $397,000 to double the amount of time its helicopter, Argus, can spend patrolling the city's skies. If approved, the budget increase would allow the helicopter to increase active patrol time from eight hours to 16 hours weekly. Oakland and San Jose are the only two cities nearby with a police helicopter.
Department officials told the council its helicopter, which costs $450 an hour to fly, can be used to triage low-priority calls and leave ground officers more time to respond to serious incidents. In one 50-minute flight last month, the helicopter crew cleared five calls that would have otherwise taken up the time of patrol units. The funds for the increased flight hours are intended to come from seized assets.
NTSB Helicopter Accident Investigation Course
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is offering a new course in NTSB Helicopter Accident Investigations on August 18-22, 2014, at the NTSB Training Center in Ashburn, Virginia. The course will provide participants with a comprehensive overview of the procedures, methods used and the skills required in all aspects of helicopter accident investigation by the NTSB. Examples from recent NTSB investigations presented by NTSB staff will be used to demonstrate particular aspects of the investigative process.
Students will also have the opportunity to practice their skills with hands-on exercises in their crash laboratory. Registration is now open for the course, and tuition rates increase after July 18, 2014. The registration link for the course is:http://www.ntsb.gov/tc/CourseInfo/2014/AS103.html. For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crashed Arizona Police Chopper Was to Be Replaced
One of the Mesa (AZ) Police Department Aviation Unit MD 500E helicopters crashed on June 8 after an abrupt engine failure. The aircraft, which was being considered for replacement, was brought down hard in a field, where the tail section of the helicopter snapped off. The officers had 10 to 15 seconds from the time the engine failed to when the helicopter hit the ground. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the incident.
Mesa Police purchased the MD Helicopters aircraft in 1994. The helicopter had nearly 20,000 flight hours on it at the time of the crash. Police spokesman Sergeant Tony Landato said it could take up to a year or more to get a new helicopter on-site and in the air. While FAA and NTSB investigate the crash, the department's two remaining helicopters will cover the roughly 56 hours per week the department maintains an air presence.
Philadelphia Police Department Adds AStar
The Philadelphia Police Department has taken delivery of the first of two new Airbus Helicopters AS350 B2 AStars. "We're very happy with the completion of our first helicopter," said Captain Kenneth O'Brien, head of the Philadelphia Police Department's Aviation Unit. "We'll be a more capable aviation unit with this upgraded aircraft."
Philadelphia police intend to utilize the new helicopter for general patrol duties, harbor and coastal patrols, rescue missions, SWAT team insertions, and homeland security and port security missions. The AS350 B2 will also allow the department to perform hoist rescues. The aircraft cruises at 133 knots and has a range of up to 360 nautical miles with the power of its 732-shp Turbomeca Arriel 1D1 turboshaft engine.
SOURCE: Airbus Helicopters Inc.
LAFD Helicopter Pilot Killed in Off-Duty Plane Crash
Brian Lee, an off-duty Los Angeles Fire Department pilot, was killed when he crashed a small private plane in early June. His passenger, a young boy, was in critical condition. Lee brought the single-engine Grumman AA-1A down in a dry lakebed after a short flight, according to the San Bernardino County Fire Department.
Officials said off-duty LAFD colleagues witnessed the crash and "rushed to render aid." Both patients were airlifted to local trauma centers. Lee had just turned 47 and had served more than 25 years with the Los Angeles Fire Department at the time of his death. FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are in the process of investigating the accident.
FAA Allows Commercial UAS Flights Over Land
The Federal Aviation Administration said last month that it has granted the first permission for commercial UAS flights over land, the latest effort by the agency to show it is loosening restrictions on commercial uses of unmanned aircraft. UAS maker AeroVironment and oil company BP have been given permission to use a Puma aircraft to survey pipelines, roads and equipment at Prudhoe Bay in Alaska, the agency said. The first flight took place on June 8.
Made by AeroVironment, the Puma is a small, hand-launched craft about 4.5-feet long with a 9-foot wingspan. The UAS was initially designed for military use. Equipped with 3-D cameras, the Puma will provide images of hard-to-reach places, BP and AeroVironment say.
Last summer, FAA had approved the Puma and the ScanEagle, made by Boeing subsidiary Insitu Inc., for flights over the Arctic Ocean to scout icebergs, count whales and monitor drilling platforms. The FAA said it was also considering giving permission to seven filmmaking companies to use UAS for aerial photography.
CHP Helicopter Crew Rescues Hurt Mountain Biker
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) rescued an injured mountain biker in late June. The 42-year-old cyclist reportedly crashed on a trail in Placer County while riding alone but was able to use his cellphone to call for help. The CHP helicopter crew of pilot Sergeant Mark Nalley, TFO/paramedic Jimmy Hendrix, pilot Officer Brent Fallis and TFO Troy Marks responded. The man was airlifted to a landing zone, where he was picked up and flown to a nearby medical center. CHP said if the rider hadn't been wearing a helmet, he would have been more seriously injured.
Video of the rescue can be seen here:www.news10.net/story/news/local/auburn-grass-valley/2014/06/18/chp-helicopter-mountain-biker-rescue/10823671/.
Legislators Want NY Helicopter Route Made Permanent
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) have pressed the Federal Aviation Administration to renew the Long Island North Shore helicopter route, currently set to expire on Aug. 6, and make it permanent. The legislators said they also want the agency to require all helicopters using the route to extend their time over water before landing on Long Island's South Fork.
Helicopter industry advocates believe the route is an inefficient use of airspace and may lead to unsafe operations. Helicopter Association International has urged FAA to go through the regulatory process, analyzing the two years of data that has been collected and giving all stakeholders, including the community and operators, an opportunity to comment before it extends the regulation.
Ohio Wants UAS to Monitor Prison Grounds
Corrections officials in Ohio are looking into using unmanned aerial systems to monitor state prison grounds. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction officials reportedly attended a UAS demonstration in early June, with the goal of using the aircraft to keep contraband out of prisons and an eye on prisoners trying to escape.
The demonstration was hosted by the University of Dayton Research Institute and Wright State Research Institute at the Wilmington Air Park. A spokesperson with the prison system confirmed officials attended the demonstration but said the department and researchers "still have to have further discussions" before anything formal is put in place.
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction would also have to work with FAA to clear the plan, believed to be the first of its kind. The department is considering the MLB Super Bat, which has a loiter time of 10 hours, for its purposes.
German Police Contracts With Airbus to Maintain EC135s
The German Federal Police has signed a contract with Airbus Helicopters for the long-term maintenance, repair, and overhaul of its EC135 helicopters. The contract was facilitated by the NATO Support Agency, NATO's Integrated Logistics and Services Provider Agency, which procured the service contract on behalf of the police department.
The service contract covers all 41 EC135 T2i rotorcraft in the Bundespolizei Fliegergruppe (German Federal Police Flying Squadron) fleet, with the initial aircraft to arrive at Airbus Helicopters' maintenance facility in Kassel-Calden, Germany, later this month. The agreement has an initial three-year timeframe and includes an option to extend to five years.
Maintenance services covered by the agreement include phase inspections, engine inspections, replacement of operation time limit parts, component repair and overhaul, application of service bulletins, compliance with service letters, incorporation of engineering orders and helicopter painting.
In addition to the German Federal Police's current inventory of EC135s, the organization also operates EC155s, AS332 L1s and EC120s, the latter for training purposes only. Duties performed by the law enforcement agency include border patrol and search and rescue missions, along with the transportation of personnel and special forces in national and international environments.
SOURCE: Airbus Helicopters and www.aviationtoday.com
Utah Sheriff Works With Chopper Crew to Rescue Paraglider
The Pleasant Grove (UT) Police and Utah County Sheriff's Office worked with a medical helicopter crew to retrieve a man who was injured while paragliding on May 21. A representative of the sheriff's office said the 33-year-old man broke his ankle in the crash but was able to call for help on his cell phone. Officers were able to obtain his exact location by "pinging" his phone.
The man was trapped amid rough terrain about 6,000 feet up, prompting officials to call in a medical helicopter. A medic was lowered to the injured man, who was then hoisted back to safety and delivered to a waiting ambulance. The man was responsive when he was transferred to the emergency vehicle.
NYPD Open to Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
NYPD representatives in late May told the City Council's Public Safety Committee they were in favor of using unmanned aerial systems to fight crime in the city. Commissioner William Bratton said UAS would not only help police, but they would also help the city's fire department.
"Myself, I'm supportive of the concept of drones, not only for police but for public safety in general," Bratton said. "It's something that we actively keep looking at and stay aware of."
NYPD's head of intelligence, John Miller, said the agency has been studying the devices and examining the market. While UAS don't appear to be in the agency's immediate future, Miller believes the technology is a potentially valuable weapon. "You could see an application where a drone could be not only a very effective crime fighting tool but could actually show you where the bad guys are going when leaving the scene," he said.
Did You Know?
Did you know that APSA offers free training to members? Each year, APSA conducts six regional safety seminars; five in the U.S. and one in Canada. And for members, registration is complimentary! Remaining in 2014 are: the Western Region Safety Seminar, Sep. 23-25, Seattle, WA; the Canadian Region Safety Seminar, Oct. 15-17, Ottawa, ON; and the Central Region Safety Seminar, Nov. 4-6, Corpus Christi, TX. Make plans now to take advantage of this great benefit of membership in the APSA. Info on these and other APSA educational opportunities can be found athttps://www.alea.org/public/events.
NY National Guard and State Police Helicopter Crews Train for Fires
New York Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crews and the New York State Police Aviation Unit conducted water bucket training together on June 4 in order to prepare to assist in fighting wildfires if directed by state officials. During the exercises, state police pilots trained in their Bell Huey II using a 750-pound water bucket, and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers worked with officers on the ground.
Each spring, Army National Guard helicopter crewmembers and maintenance personnel retrain for Bambi Bucket operations. The New York Army National Guard employs helicopter firefighting equipment when local agencies request support through the New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. The last time New York Army National Guard helicopters had to be employed in a firefighting role was in April 2008, when a series of wildfires developed at Minnewaska State Park.
SOURCE: New York Army National Guard
Sheriff's Office Has Pilot Position Open
The Charlotte County Sheriff's Office (located in Southwest Florida) is looking for a law enforcement certified pilot with the following criteria: hold a valid commercial, instrument helicopter and commercial, instrument single-engine landing rating; 3,500 total time with 2,000 hours turbine helicopter; 100 hours minimum in OH-58 or JetRanger; 100 hours minimum in UH-1 Huey; 300 hours of NVG time within the past 24 months; FLIR and moving map experience; previous management experience preferred; Bambi bucket experience preferred. For more information, contact Human Resources at 941-205-5612.
SOURCE: Charlotte County Sheriff's Office
HCSO Helicopter Delivers Career Information to Summer Campers
Students attending a Career Quest Summer Camp spent a few days in June exploring career pathways. Among many of their activities, students got a close-up view of the Harris County (TX) Sheriff's Office (HCSO) helicopter and heard from officers about their own careers in law enforcement.
Tomball (TX) Police Chief Robert Hauck told the students that the overhead view provided by the helicopter crew supports his officers on the ground. He spoke of the partnerships between area law enforcement agencies and stressed the importance of teamwork in this career pathway. The deputies answered questions about their experiences and the challenges of piloting helicopters. "This is a cool job. For me, it is the ultimate job, but it is a hard climb," said Sgt. David Bateson, who is with the HCSO Air Support Unit.
Sgt. Bateson described the dedication required by his career pathway by telling the students that the path to becoming a law enforcement pilot is not easy.
"You have to work hard to be a policeman. And you have to work really hard to get here, but it all starts with each one of you making the right decisions in your lives right now," said Bateson.
"Students enrolled in the camp had a classroom presentation about the Explorers and law enforcement careers just before the helicopter landed," said Cynthia Williams, Spring ISD Career and Technical Education director. "They were very excited for the opportunity to see it up close. We really appreciate our law enforcement and business partnerships and all that these organizations do for our students."
Technisonic Offers Display Update Program
Technisonic is happy to announce a display update program effecting current TDFM-9000 series radios. This new update addresses the response/refresh rate, display brightness and NVG modified radios readability characteristic in direct sunlight.
Beginning this month, all new TDFM-9000 series radios will come standard with the improved display lighting, making the display significantly brighter. This is being designated as Mod 2. Additionally, any radio scheduled for delivery in aircraft or NVG certification between now and August 15th will be prioritized to receive this modification. Beginning August 1, this mod will be available to all existing TDFM 9000 series radios via Technisonic's service channel and can be scheduled to coincide with standard service periods. Contact Technisonic with any questions you may have regarding this program.
Foundation Donates Helicopter to Government to Combat Poaching
In an effort to combat poaching in Tanzania, which has seen as many as 20,000 elephants killed in the last decade, the government has received backing to improve its air surveillance capabilities with a Robinson R44 helicopter through the Howard G. Buffett (son of philanthropist Warren Buffett) Foundation.
The Foundation has pledged to provide a helicopter for surveillance of poachers as well as the purchase of vehicles, GPS equipment and the training of helicopter pilots and game rangers. The helicopter will arrive in Tanzania in about six months, but in the meantime, Buffett will lease a helicopter to begin patrols next month.
Two more helicopters are expected to be purchased to intensify surveillance in Ngorongoro; these are said to be a Bell 206 and another R44. This is just one of many wildlife conservation initiatives from Howard G. Buffett.
SOURCE: Police Aviation News July 2014
PAC Improves Timeline with New Paint Booth
Paradigm Aerospace Corporation (PAC), a Metro Aviation Company, is now utilizing its second paint booth, which means more room to paint and faster completion times. The new Garmat booth utilizes improved airflow, fresh air recovery and increased lighting.
"Not only is this a second area to paint in, but it is also brighter and cleaner due to the increased air filtration," said PAC Paint Manager Bryan Fisher. "We are seeing faster dry times and an even higher quality finished product." The paint booth has a 3.0 million BTU furnace with baking capabilities. Both the booth and its adjacent mixing room are explosion proof and equipped with separate fire suppression units. With the added paint booth, PAC can paint twice as many aircraft in a year.
APSA Welcomes Its Newest Members
Kris Babino, Tampa (FL) Police Department
Accelerated Media Technologies