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.
Government to Publish Small UAS Rule by Year's End
The U.S. government is expected to release a draft regulation regarding the operation of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) by the end of the year, according to federal officials. FAA also recently provided more information on two restricted category type certifications it awarded on July 19, for the first time permitting operators to fly unmanned aircraft commercially.
The FAA draft rulemaking governing sUAS up to 55 pounds, which the agency originally expected to release in December 2011, has been stalled over privacy considerations. John Porcari, U.S. Department of Transportation deputy secretary, said his department and the White House Office of Management and Budget are close to vetting the proposed rule. Jim Williams, manager of FAA's UAS Integration Office, went on to say the sUAS rule should be released for comment â€œby the end of this calendar year.â€
Treating unmanned aircraft as â€œmilitary surplusâ€ facilitated the restricted category certifications granted to the Insitu ScanEagle and AeroVironment Puma AE in July, Williams said. The certifications authorize operators to fly the ScanEagle and Puma in Arctic airspace, as specified by Congress in the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act. FAA also certified UAS flown for research purposes under NASA's Marginal Ice Zone Observations and Processes Experiment in the Beaufort Sea.
Man Faces Extensive Charges for Injuring HAWCS Crewmember With Laser
A TFO for the Calgary Police Service's Helicopter Air Watch for Community Safety (HAWCS) is recovering from injuries after being struck in the eye by a high-powered laser pointer in early August. The unit's HAWCS2 helicopter was flashed three times by the pointer, and while the pilot was able to shield her eyes from the light, the TFO was unable to put on his protective eyewear fast enough.
The crew was able to direct police to the area, and the 19-year-old laser offender was arrested and charged with assault causing bodily harm, mischief causing danger to life and common nuisance endangering life, as well as federal aviation charges. Police said in addition to the potential for long-term injuries, the officers were temporarily blinded and the act could have led to an accident.
Canada's federal law regarding the use of laser pointers has led to the man being charged with projection of a directed, bright-light source at an aircraft under the Canadian Aviation Regulations Aeronautics Act. The act states it is an offense to imperil the safety of an aircraft by compromising the crew.
Police Helicopter Helps Feds Investigate UPS Plane Crash
A helicopter jointly owned by the Hoover (AL) Police Department and Jefferson County Sheriff's Office recently assisted the FBI and National Transportation Safety Board when they needed a better view of a UPS cargo plane that crashed last month near Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. The military surplus aircraft is one of three helicopters owned jointly by the departments.
Officials said the aviation unit typically responds to mutual aid requests, including patrol flights, search and rescue operations and investigations. The crews for the aircraft come from several departments around the area. "The Hoover-Jefferson Air Support Unit has responded to many calls during its history," Hoover Police Department Captain Jim Coker said. "We hope that the tragic circumstances of the air crash are never repeated, and we offer our condolences to those who are touched by the events."
Maryland Police Air Asset Helps Rescue Child With Autism
When a 10-year-old boy with autism wandered away from home and became lost in mid-August, the Howard County (MD) Police Department/Anne Arundel County Police Aviation Unit brought the search to a swift and successful conclusion. The rescue was coordinated as a cooperative effort between the Anne Arundel County Police Department, Howard County Police, Howard County Fire and Rescue, Montgomery County Police and Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission Police.
When the boy entered a large wooded area surrounding his home, a joint Howard County/Anne Arundel County flight crew consisting of two pilots and a TFO was quickly deployed. Aviation personnel located the boy after about two hours. They then directed ground units to his location in the water at the base of a dam, where a police corporal waded out to rescue the boy. Paramedics found him to be healthy and unharmed.
â€œWhen our son Phillip was missing and we had to call in help to find him, my husband and I were impressed by the cooperation of the first responders from four different jurisdictions,â€ Karin Swenson said. â€œWhat a shining example of cooperation and teamwork without ego. My husband and I are so thankful for all four jurisdictions and their first responders who seamlessly coordinated to find our son.â€
The Howard County Police Department has been working with the Anne Arundel County Police Department since 1999 when the aviation unit was developed. Both police departments participate in the operation of the unit, sharing equipment and personnel under a mutual aid agreement.
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Indiana Department Using UAS for Accident Investigation
The Greenfield (IN) Police Department has purchased an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) outfitted with a camera to help it with accident investigations. The department reportedly invested about $600 in a DJI Phantom Drone Quadcopter and $400 in a GoPro camera. The Greenfield Police Department hopes to purchase a second helicopter soon.
The battery-operated UAS, which has a range of almost 1,000 feet, is intended to be used primarily for taking aerial photos and video of accident scenes, which will help officers document crashes for their reports. The department currently relies on other agencies to get an aerial view of accident scenes. For example, it has used an area fire department's ladder truck to lift officers above scenes in the past. The department believes the new equipment will save time and money.
The department already has used the aircraft to photograph one fatal accident scene and was pleased with the quality of the documentation. Officials recognize the UAS could be used in other situations as well, such as examining burning buildings and in criminal investigations.
Philadelphia Police Accepting Bids for New Helicopter
The Philadelphia Police Department Aviation Unit recently launched a procurement process to find a new airborne law enforcement asset. The new helicopter would join the department's two Bell 206s already in service. Among the bidders is AgustaWestland, which operates a 275,000 square foot facility across from the Philadelphia Police Department's Aviation Unit's operations at the Northeast Philadelphia Airport.
The helicopter manufacturer proposed the department would benefit most from its AW119Kx, a single turbine helicopter that features a glass cockpit configured with Garmin's G1000HTM Integrated Flight Deck system. The avionics suite would be comprised of a Synthetic Vision System, Highway in the Sky, moving map and Helicopter Terrain Avoidance Warning System. The AW119Kx would also be equipped with a FLIR/LLTV camera, searchlight and tactical radio system to support law enforcement missions.
â€œWe're pleased to offer the Philadelphia-built AW119Kx to the Philadelphia Police Department,â€ said Bob Brant, vice president of sales and marketing at AgustaWestland Philadelphia. AgustaWestland Philadelphia includes final assembly lines for the AW119Kx and AW139 helicopters, a parts supply depot for the Americas, and an FAA and JAA repair station.
SOURCE: www.philly.com and AgustaWestland
Laser Offender Charged, Faces Fine and One Year in Jail
A Virginia man was arrested and charged in late July with interfering with the operation of an aircraft when he shined a green laser at a Virginia State Police Aviation Unit aircraft. State trooper Adam Culbertson reported someone aimed the laser into the cockpit of his Cessna 182, forcing him to close his eyes. He flew back over the area and was able to direct troopers to the culprit.
Police said they found the man still pointing the laser, estimated to be 10 times brighter than the average store bought device, into the sky. He was charged with a misdemeanor and faces a $2,500 fine and up to a year in jail.
â€œYou can buy a laser pointer. It is not a toy. You definitely don't point it at a police officer, but you don't point it at an aircraft flying around,â€ Virginia State Police Sergeant Thomas Molnar said. The suspect later admitted to shining the laser briefly at the plane. Virginia State Police notified FAA of the event, and the Administration could pursue further action against the suspect. See video of the incident here:http://wtvr.com/2013/07/31/laser-state-police-plane/.
LESO Offers An Unique Opportunity
The Defense Logistics Agency's (DLA) Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) is offering an opportunity to acquire some unique aircraft via the 1033 Excess Property Program. They are trying to place two C21 LearJets (left photo above) and three C20 Gulfstream G3 aircraft (right photo above) with agencies which are participating in the 1033 Program and may be interested in and have the means to operate these aircraft. If interested, please respond ASAP to Mr. Bob Douglas, (405) 736-3322, firstname.lastname@example.org, Charlie Brune, 512-517-8064, email@example.com, or Cassandra Shephard, 1-800-532-9946,Casandra.Shephard@dla.mil.
British Columbia Looks to Overhaul Search and Rescue System
The approximately 80-member network of British Columbia Search and Rescue (BCSR) teams, which provides support to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and local police organizations in SAR operations, is considering reorganization. An official of the North Shore Rescue Team has called for the reform because he says the way the current system utilizes its helicopters is ineffective.
The BCSR volunteer crews respond to more than 1,300 emergencies annually, many of which involve helicopter rescues. But during the dry summer months, those helicopters are often used to fight fires. Tim Jones of North Shore Search and Rescue said the province should pay for a dedicated aircraft so SAR crews aren't left in the cold.
Jones also says better communication is needed, as crews across the province don't have an integrated radio communication network. Setting one up would likely cost more than $20 million, but Jones says it's critical to the crews' safety. The government says they are open to looking at changes. â€œIt's something that we're committed to discussing and taking a look at what's realistic and what isn't,â€ said Ian Cunnings of Emergency Management BC. BC's network of SAR crews currently receive a total of about $7 million from the province and have to apply for annual grants and donations to maintain operations.
See video of the unit in operation here: http://globalnews.ca/news/774663/calls-for-overhaul-of-b-c-s-search-and-rescue-system/.
California Aviation Unit Critical in Stranded Hiker Rescue
The Riverside County (CA) Sheriff's Department Aviation Unit assisted in the rescue of a 19-year-old hiker after he injured himself in late July. The department's Sheriff's Emergency Response Team (SERT) and helicopter arrived on scene when they received a report the man was unable to make it down the mountain he was climbing without assistance.
With the help of personnel from the National State Parks Service, SERT and the aviation unit arrived on scene and airlifted the injured man in their AS350 AStar to a local hospital. His injuries were described as "non-life threatening."
24 States Apply to Be UAS Test Sites
FAA announced in mid-August it has received proposals from 24 states to host an unmanned aircraft system test site. FAA has said it will select six test sites, which it hopes to reveal by the end of 2013. The test sites will be intended to offer input on privacy issues, how FAA should regulate commercial airspace, and the potential uses of the technology.
While FAA seems determined to safely integrate UAS into the national airspace system so they can be used for agriculture, firefighting, search and rescue, and environmental applications, seven states have passed "anti-UAS bills" intended to limit the aircraft's use. States applying to be test sites that have passed such bills, such as Idaho, claim their legislation is not designed to stop the use, development or testing of UAS, but simply to limit their application.
Summit Aviation Unveils New Recon-Focused Fixed-Wing
Summit Aviation has begun marketing its new Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) platform directly to law enforcement agencies. The aircraft is an Australian-built Mahindra Aerospace GippsAero GA8 Astrovan that Summit modifies for law enforcement use. The company makes the aircraft available with customizable hardware and software packages to enhance surveillance capabilities.
Starting at about $890,000 and ranging up to $3.3 million for the full suite of available modifications, the ISR platform is capable of carrying an electro-optical/infrared camera system that includes six, 16-megapixel cameras that can create a three-dimensional, scalable and geo-referenced map of an area several miles wide in just a few hours. After completion, the aircraft also can detect changes over time and alert the operator to those differences.
Pima County Sheriff's Department Rescues Injured Hiker
The Pima County (AZ) Sheriff's Department Search and Rescue Unit rescued an injured hiker in mid-August using the department's helicopter. It was reported the hiker suffered a broken arm early on the morning of Aug. 14, when he fell fleeing from a mountain lion.
Several Pima County deputies, along with the Golder Ranch Technical Rescue Team, hiked to the location of the accident and determined the victim could not be moved. The sheriff's department helicopter was therefore dispatched to the scene, where the crew lowered a rescue deputy, stretcher and Baumann Bag via hoist. The injured hiker was laid on the stretcher, placed in the bag and hoisted to the helicopter before being flown to a nearby landing zone and taken to a hospital by ambulance.
Royal Oman Police Dedicates Air Asset in Tourist Area
The Royal Oman Police (ROP) have created an air ambulance service designed to respond to traffic accidents or other medical emergencies during the holiday season, when the number of tourists visiting the Gulf of Oman spikes. The helicopter, fitted with emergency trauma care equipment, has been positioned at ROP's Al Wusta Police Command.
The helicopter will be deployed primarily along the highway used by visitors to the gulf region and available 24 hours a day to attend to persons involved in breakdowns or mishaps. Its operational reach covers the central desert, extending from its northern edges to Thamrait in the south. According to the helicopter's pilot, Lieutenant Saud Bin Mohammad Rashdi, qualified paramedics will be on board the air ambulance to perform emergency care. A second helicopter will also be available for deployment, he said.
New York State Police Aviation Unit Trains With Scuba Team
The New York State Police Aviation Unit recently took part in water rescue training with the department's scuba divers. Roughly a dozen certified divers from the department's Troop E were briefed on the latest safety techniques before teaming up for simulated rescues. The annual exercise is intended to ensure the safety of the divers, in addition to the victims they are attempting to assist.
Rescue diver Sergeant Greg Vaillancourt of Batavia said emergency response from the air adds another dimension of danger. â€œIt's a confusing environment as it is,â€ he said. â€œIt's very noisy. The helicopter itself contributes to the noise.â€ The units also trained for various rescue scenarios, including efforts focused on people believed to be alive versus recovery plans for those likely to be dead. The question often is â€œhow much risk you're willing to put your team in,â€ Vaillancourt said.
Global UAS Spending Forecast to Double to $12 Billion Over 10 Years
Analysts at market researcher the Teal Group Corp. recently forecast worldwide spending for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) will double over the next decade, rising from $5.2 billion in 2014 to $11.9 billion in 2023. The analysts released the findings at the mid-August Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International 2013 conference and trade show in Washington.
The group said UAS research throughout the world would increase from $1.9 billion in 2014 to $4 billion in 2023, while procurement will increase from $5.2 million next year to $7.6 million in 2023. The U.S. military is forecast to lead the world in UAS research and procurement spending over the decade, accounting for 65 percent of the research and 51 percent of the procurement. The Asia-Pacific region will be second in UAS spending, while Europe will be third.
The forecast expects a drop in U.S. mini-UAS acquisition over the period as combat operations wind down in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, UAS continue to be one of the most dynamic growth sectors in the world aerospace industry, according to the Teal analysts.
Canadian Region Safety Seminar Registration Now Open
The geography of Canada makes it one of the most exciting places in the world to be a public safety aviator. But it also makes it a place where safety is paramount. Register now to hone your skills and raise your safety quotient at the Canadian Region Safety Seminar, Oct. 29-31. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Vancouver Air Section will host the event in Vancouver, BC. Registration information is available atwww.alea.org/events.
The event will take place at the Renaissance Vancouver Harborside Hotel, where APSA's group discount rate is available now. Spots are limited for the conference's water survival/egress training, so don't wait to register. It's an event everyone will be talking about!