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 Exhibits at HELI-EXPO in Anaheim
Helicopter Association International's (HAI) annual HELI-EXPO took place in Anaheim, CA last month. Approximately 19,000 helicopter professionals attended this year's event to network with rotorcraft industry peers, attend educational forums and participate in industry meetings. At the event's opening breakfast, HAI President Matt Zuccaro said the health of HAI is strong, with 714 exhibitors and 63 helicopters on display in a sold-out exhibit hall. Zuccaro estimated that more than $2 billion in business would take place at the event.
APSA was among the exhibitors. APSA's new Executive Director/CEO Dan Schwarzbach, President Kurt Frisz, Secretary Gregg Weitzman, Western Region Director Steve Roussell and Membership Manager Benay Osborne were among those who manned the booth to share the benefits of public safety aviation with attendees as well as information on APSA's training, networking, advocacy and educational programs.
Public Safety Aviation Veteran Kevin Caffery Retires
Airborne law enforcement's Kevin R. Caffery is retiring after 45 years with the Erie County (NY) Sheriff's Office. He spent 27 years as leader of the department's Aviation Unit and enjoyed a career filled with memorable moments in the cockpit. Caffery is APSA's Vice President.
Caffery, 66, has earned a national reputation for his many helicopter rescues from the depths of Zoar Valley to the brink of Niagara Falls, and received numerous industry awards. "I've been blessed. I've been in police work for almost 45 years, and I still have my health and still have my passion for our mission in the Aviation Unit," Caffery said in an interview. "I want to travel. I want to do more things with my family while I still am a healthy man."
In his retirement, he hopes to serve the Erie County Sheriff's Office Aviation Unit as a part-time pilot for about two years, working on an as-needed basis. The plan is pending approval from the county legislature.
Sheriff Timothy E. Howard calls Caffery a "legend" and says he will be sorely missed as a full-time employee. "Kevin is a very humble man, but he's got to be one of Erie County's greatest heroes," Howard said. "He's an asset to our whole region, not just Erie County. His reputation is nationwide. I've gone to police events all over the country, and had other sheriffs walk up and ask me about our helicopter pilot."
Ohio Police Pilot Rescues Man From River
A Columbus (OH) Division of Police helicopter pilot rescued a man stuck on a floating ice chunk on the Scioto River in late February. Officer Jeff Ferguson was reportedly flying over the city's South Side neighborhood when he spotted the man and lowered his helicopter over the water so the victim could grab a skid. Ferguson then pulled the man closer to shore, where police officers threw him a floating device.
"If Jeff hadn't done that, the guy would have drowned," said Lieutenant Greg Estep of the Columbus police helicopter unit. The man was treated at Ohio Health Grant Medical Center and is expected to be fine.
Metro Air Support Unit of St. Louis Achieves PSAAC Accreditation
The Metro Air Support Unit of St. Louis is the latest public safety aviation operation to achieve accreditation by the Public Safety Aviation Accreditation Commission (PSAAC). A presentation ceremony was conducted at the APSA booth during HELI-EXPO 2014 last month in Anaheim. PSAAC President Jim Di Giovanna and Secretary Don Roby presented the accreditation certificate and plaque to unit representatives Sgt. Dan Cunningham, Lt. Col. Mike Dierkes, Sgt. Dino Orlando, Dep. Dave DeVillez and Captain Kurt Frisz.
Both Engines Failed in Deadly Scotland Crash
Crash investigators have confirmed the Scotland police helicopter crash that killed 10, including the three officers onboard, last November resulted from a failed autorotation after the aircraft's engines quit. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) confirmed both engines stopped on the Eurocopter EC 135 before if plunged into the Clutha Bar in Glasgow.
Investigators confirmed the helicopter suffered a fuel supply problem, but the exact cause of the engine failures is still not known. The aircraft had responded to several calls and was returning to its base at a speed of around 120 mph when the accident happened. AAIB said both engines "flamed out," meaning they stopped because of a lack of fuel. No sign of blockage in the fuel system was found, but a number of low fuel warnings occurred during the flight. An earlier report in December said there was "no evidence" of major engine or gearbox failure.
Funds For San Bernardino Future Home Approved
County supervisors on Tuesday approved an $11.6 million, 25-year lease agreement with San Bernardino International Airport for more than 61,000 square feet of space that will house the San Bernardino (CA) Sheriff's Department Aviation Division when it relocates from Rialto Airport next year. San Bernardino hopes to be moved and operational in January or February 2015.
The new facility will consolidate the division's emergency operations and aviation and volunteer forces units. "This is a huge step in the right direction for us," Sheriff John McMahon said. A large portion of funding for the project will come from the City of Rialto, which will pay to cover the cost of relocating the sheriff's aviation unit.
The entire sheriff's fleet of aircraft will be housed under one roof. New facilities include a 22,500 square-foot hangar to house the Sheriff's Department's aircraft fleet and an 11,640 square-foot office building.
Legislation Would Allow New York State to Use UAS
A New York senator has proposed a bill that would allow the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for commercial and law enforcement purposes in New York State. The bill, written by Senator Greg Ball, R-Patterson, would create "specific lawful uses" of UAS, such as in spaces designated as FAA test sites and in connection with warranted searches. The bill would also make it illegal for UAS to capture images and to possess and distribute such images.
The legislation is similar to a Texas bill that would allow UAS use by police forces but prohibit usage by private citizens, even small remote-control airplanes equipped with cameras. "This is an amazing piece of technology that will change the way we operate on a daily basis," Ball said. "While this technology presents vast benefits, we must ensure that we protect the public safety and privacy of our residents."
Maryland State Aviation Unit Names Officer of the Year
The Maryland State Police (MSP) Aviation Command selected Corporal Brian Francis as its 2013 Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year. Francis is assigned to the Easton Aviation Section as a flight medic and was selected by his peers for the annual award based on proven performance, dedication and commitment.
Francis, whose primary duty is staffing one of the new AgustaWestland AW 139 multi-mission helicopters on the Eastern Shore, has been a member of the MSP Aviation Command for seven years. He has flown numerous medevac missions, each one having been completed safely and with a positive patient interaction. Francis also has performed airborne law enforcement missions in support of local, state and federal operations. Francis' superiors say he is highly motivated and seeks additional training whenever available. In addition to his regular duties, he is in charge of the MSP Aviation Command's water egress training program.
L.A. Sheriff's Department Contracts for Weather Support
The Los Angeles County (CA) Sheriff's Department Aero Bureau has contracted with meteorological systems manufacturer Belfort Instrument Company for an Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS). The system will provide pilots with information on wind speed, wind direction, wind gusts, temperature, humidity, dew point, altimeter setting, density altitude, visibility and cloud height. It is to be installed at the Helistop at Pebbly Beach on Santa Catalina Island and will broadcast over VHF, telephone and the internet.
"The new Belfort AWOS installation on Santa Catalina Island is an important step in providing emergency medical access to all the citizens on the island by allowing the reporting of real-time weather conditions on the island, enhancing EMS flight operations," the bureau's Sergeant Morrie Zager said.
Indiana State Police to Benefit From Airplane Sale
The State of Indiana has sold its 2001 Beechcraft Super King Air B200 twin-turbine aircraft for more than $1.8 million, and the money is expected to go toward supporting the Indiana State Police. Florida-based American Aviation purchased the aircraft on Jan. 30 for $134,000 more than the state sought for it. Last year, Governor Mike Pence's office estimated that the plane, which had been used for travel by the governor, would sell for $2.5 million.
U.K. Man Fined for Shining Laser at Police Helicopter
A U.K. man was fined for shining a laser pointer at a police helicopter in late January. The pilot reported the laser distracted him while he was conducting surveillance over a "serious incident," and he directed ground troops to its origin.
The suspect told officers he shined the laser at the helicopter because it was disturbing him. He admitted trying to use the light to distract the pilot. Under U.K. law, the offense is punishable only by fine. Magistrates also ordered the man to pay court costs and informed him of the seriousness of the offense.
Did You Know? APSA Has A New Award
Did you know that APSA recently added the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Award to those presented at each year's APSA EXPO? This new award recognizes an individual or group of individuals whose efforts or actions have promoted and/or furthered the development and/or use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in the performance of public safety aviation missions. Likewise, this award may recognize an individual or agency whose safe and effective use of a UAS resulted in the successful completion of a public safety mission. For more information on this and the other APSA awards, visitwww.alea.org/areas/awards/.
NTSB Issues Alerts On Helicopter Safety
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued two safety alerts highlighting the importance of proper maintenance and simulator training as critical ways to improve helicopter safety. This year, helicopter safety was added to NTSB's Most Wanted List of Safety Improvements. In the past decade, more than 1,500 accidents have occurred involving helicopters used as air ambulances, for search and rescue missions, commercial helicopter operations such as tour flights, and instructional operations, according to the safety board. During that same time, NTSB issued more than 200 safety recommendations on issues related to helicopter investigations.
The two safety alerts are Safety Through Helicopter Simulators and Helicopter Safety Starts in the Hangar. Accompanying the safety alerts are two videos produced in conjunction with the Helicopter Association International. Featured in the videos are NTSB investigators who share their perspectives about lessons learned from helicopter accident investigations. The alerts and videos may be viewed on NTSB's website, www.ntsb.gov.
Park Police Helicopter Helps Rescue Man, Dogs From Lake
The Prince William County (VA) Fire and Rescue Department and U.S. Park Police Aviation Unit rescued an elderly man who had been stranded on Lake Manassas on Feb. 23. The man's canoe was flooded with cold water, officials said.
U.S. Park Police Aviation Commander Lieutenant Simeon Klebaner said it took crews 20-35 minutes to reach the man, and unstable ice and dangerous conditions made the rescue difficult. The man was treated for severe hypothermia on-site and transported to an area hospital where he was stabilized. The helicopter crew returned to the scene after the man's rescue and rescued two dogs. See video of the incident here:www.wtop.com/164/3569308/Police-rescue-man-dogs-from-Prince-William-County-lake.
Applications Being Accepted for 2014 APSA Scholarships
Applications are now being accepted for the 2014 APSA Scholarships. Annually, APSA provides 18 scholarships totaling $42,000 to recognize the academic excellence of members' children. Applications are being accepted through May 1st. The recipients of the scholarships will be announced during APSA EXPO 2014 in Phoenix, AZ. Please visit the Awards & Scholarship section of the APSA website at www.alea.org/areas/awards for submission information.
Alaska Troopers Examine SAR Tragedy One Year Later
Nearly a year after an Alaska State Troopers helicopter crashed and killed three men aboard, the agency says it is working on a "risk assessment matrix" to help determine when it is safe to fly rescue missions and in the process of hiring a safety officer to work in its Aircraft Section. The agency said it has not changed flight protocols since the crash, but it "has changed some weather guidelines for helicopter flights."
Currently, Alaska State Trooper pilots can refuse flights based on risk. Once the risk assessment matrix is in place, pilots will have to obtain outside approval for flights deemed high-risk.
HAI Launches Helicopter Safety Initiative
Helicopter Association International launched a major new safety initiative, Land & LIVE, at HELI-EXPO this year. "The philosophy is simple," said HAI President Matt Zuccaro. "As I read many helicopter accident reports, had the pilot made a precautionary landing at some point, the accident never would have happened. It's kind of odd when you think about it, because people in this industry go around telling everyone how wonderful we are because we have vertical lift capability and can land anywhere. And, in fact, we do on a routine basis. We land on rooftops, corporate headquarters, private residences, ships, piers and in remote areas."
He continued, "If we are so good at landing anywhere, how come we don't use that feature when we need it the most â€“ to prevent an accident? If the weather is closing in, if you are unsure of your ability to reach your fueling point, if there is a maintenance sound or an indication on the panel, or if the pilot is not feeling well physically, why not just stop that sequence of events?"
Land & LIVE was born out of a sense of frustration that so many helicopter accidents are preventable. HAI has developed a micro-site, LandAndLive.rotor.org (no "www"), with information and guidelines for pilots, operators, and first responders.
FlightSafety Installs New EC135 Simulator in Dallas
FlightSafety International recently announced the installation of a new Airbus EC135 helicopter simulator in Dallas, TX. Training is expected to begin in April 2014 following FAA Level D qualification. FlightSafety reported the simulator utilizes a VITAL 1100 visual system to offer mission-specific imagery in a 200 x 60 degree field of view. The EC135 simulator is equipped with a Garmin avionics suite that includes the Garmin GMX 200 multi-function display and WASS certified Garmin GNS 430W and GNS 530W. It also features the SFIM 2-Axis Autopilot.
Eastern Region Safety Seminar Drawing Near
APSA's Eastern Region Safety Seminar will land in Columbus, OH, this month. The event, to be held at the Hyatt Regency Columbus March 25-27, will feature an educational agenda highlighted by crewmember workshops and seminars on SMS, UAS, training and personal protective equipment.
Online registration for the event, which will be hosted by the Columbus Police Department, is now available and can be accessed at http://archives.alea.org/events/register.aspx?i=142&g=168. Contact Eastern Region Director Dan Cunningham at dcunningham@PublicSafetyAviation.org for more information.
The Big One: APSA EXPO 2014 Coming This Summer
APSA EXPO 2014, to be held in Phoenix, AZ, July 16-19, will set the standard for excellence in public safety aviation. Exhibitors will showcase their products and services to aviation unit decision-makers and end-users while the industry's preeminent experts create an exceptional learning environment, all in one central location. Online registration will be open from March 15 through July 6. After July 6, onsite registration will be required, so act now to ensure your spot before the event.