On the pages of this site you will already find the best information available on "How to Become a Police Helicopter Pilot."
However, before I retired in 2015 I had to exercise abundant caution about what I wrote and posted on this site. As supervisor in the Air Support Unit for the last 2.5 years of my career I sat on one interview board and assisted in the selection of several new members of our unit.
You can see how it might be a conflict of interest for me to write about the selection process in detail, while I was actively involved in not only the selection of new members to the unit, but in overseeing the transition of several members from TFO to Pilot.
As a former member of my aviation unit, I have much more freedom to write and pass on my knowledge of what it takes to get selected into the Air Support Unit of not only my agency, but virtually any U.S. Agency.
But I will be offering this E-book on slightly different terms. For current information, and to let me know your interest in this book please Go Here.
The Old Bold Pilots Breakfast – Oceanside Ca.
Virtually every pilot who has ever soloed an aircraft is familiar with the saying “There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots.”
While I concede that I am past the 50 year mark, in the world of pilots and flying experience I am not really that old. Nor am I a bold pilot. They generally end up as smoking holes in the ground – as the saying goes.
But there I was, attending my first Old Bold Pilots Breakfast at a Denny’s restaurant in Oceanside California a few weeks ago.
I had been invited by a new acquaintance, a local who just added Catch the Sky to his extensive, world class collection of aviation books.
I would argue that is a half-truth. Yes, many bold pilots never make it to the age where they will need a walking cane. But as I looked around the room I knew I was among some very bold pilots - more accurately legendary and heroic pilots.
Across the table from me was a retired USAF Brigadare General James (Jim) Greshik, who flew a prop driven A-1 Douglas Skyraider on FAC and search & rescue “SANDY” missions in Vietnam. As a Forward Air Controller, Greshik spent many hours flying over the Ho Chi Minh Trail on close air support missions.
Sitting on my left was a Russian test pilot, Alexander Poddoubnyi, who in 1991 parked his Antonov An-124 airplane in San Diego Ca. and defected to the United States. At the time he walked away from his life as a soviet test pilot, Poddoubnyi had 10,000 hours in the cockpit of the world’s largest airplane. It was the same year the USSR collapsed. I strained hard to hear through his thick Russian accent as he chuckled about how in the USSR, it was common knowledge that now President Vladimir Putin finished dead last in his classes at the KGB Institute.
At a nearby table sat one of the older people in the entire room; a distinguished looking gentleman who wore the age of 96 most admirably. There were no walking canes to be found near him. I was told he was "The Flying Greek.” I will come back to him.
Before taking our seats I had been introduced to a number of people in the room. I only wished I could take notes during the introductions – but that would surely be rude.
The gentleman whose hand I was shaking was introduced to me as the very first Navy Seal Admiral. But anyone who is a true admirer of U.S. Navy Seals knows that they were born out of UDT – Underwater Demolition Team. Richard (Dick) Lyon was a Navy Scout and Raider in WWII. In 1951 he commissioned UDT Team 5 and in 1974 he became the first Special Warfare (SEAL) Admiral in the History of the U.S. Navy. I was surely among legends.
The Old Bold Pilot’s Association has been written about in numerous publications since they began meeting in the 1980s, such as this May 2014 article in Air & Space Magazine. Virtually all the meetings take place at the same Denny’s restaurant, where an entire section is partitioned off for the every Wednesday morning get-togethers. The walls are adorned with incredibly detailed aviation art, many of which depict the exploits of the very people gathered therein. A number of WWII era model airplanes hang from the ceiling.
There were so many others in the room; the former military pilot who was the very first corporate pilot for the Sears & Roebuck Company.
A Marine helicopter pilot – Col. Bob Stoffey who authored Cleared Hot ; The Diary of a Marine Combat Pilot in Vietnam. I did not get to meet or speak with Col Stoffey. That will have to wait for another day.
This is the place where stories are told. The one about the American pilot and the German pilot who shot him down, meeting for the very first time in this same Denny’s parking lot a just few years back.
Then there is the pilot who tells the story of his father, himself an aviation legend and a member of this same group before passing.
During WWII he was an aviation maintenance officer at North Field on Tinian in the Mariana Islands. It was August 6th 1945 when the maintenance officer noticed three B-29 Superfortress Bombers parked conspicuously by themselves at the opposite end of the air field. Believing they may need maintenance services he approached the aircraft to offer assistance. As he neared the lead aircraft a young crew member leaned out of a doorway with a pistol in his hand which was now pointed directly at the maintenance officer. The crew member barked “that’s close enough sir.” The maintenance officer got the message that there was something special about these aircraft, and it did not include him. As he retreated from the group of bombers he took note of the name painted across the nose of the lead bomber, “Enola Gay.”
That brings me back to The Flying Greek. Col. Steve N. Pisanos USAF (ret.) was born on November 10, 1919 in a suburb of Athens, Greece. At a very young age he knew he wanted to be a military pilot. Convinced he would never be admitted into Greece’s elite military pilot training, he left his family behind and immigrated to America in 1938 for the sole purpose of learning English and learning to fly airplanes. He accomplished both.
In 1941 as Germany began to invade its neighbors Pisanos volunteered to fly for the British Royal Air Force and was accepted. He served in the 268 and 71 Eagle Squadrons - two of the three squadrons which allowed U.S. volunteers. In 1942 these squadrons were absorbed into the U.S. Army Air Force. Pisanos, who was not yet an American Citizen was now flying combat missions for the United States over Europe. In 1943 Steve Pisanos became the first individual in American History to become a citizen while outside the U.S. Col. Pisanos was in London England when he was naturalized.
Col. Pisanos went on to fly combat missions in the Spitfire, The P-47 and the P-51 Mustang. He scored his first aerial victory on May 21, 1943 and became an Ace with 10 kills by January 1, 1944. But Pisanos would soon find himself in the hands of the French Resistance after engine failure forced him to crash land his P-51 in occupied southern France. After Paris was liberated Pisanos returned to England but the Air Force would no longer allow him to fly combat missions. His knowledge of French Resistance operations were too great to risk allowing him to be captured again. Instead it was off to test pilot school for the Flying Greek.
Col. Pisanos would serve in the U.S. Air Force until 1973 after 30 years and 3 wars. His long list of awards and citations come from countries such as Britian, France, the U.S. and even the Republic of Vietnam and include three Legions of Merit, five U.S. Distinguished Flying Crosses, and even a Purple Heart.
As the Old Bold Pilots began to filter out of the Denny’s I was able to catch up to Col. Pisanos for a brief moment and shake his hand. What an honor it was.
I arrived home later that day with a borrowed copy of The Flying Greek tucked under my arm. I don’t read as much as I should, but I am going to enjoy this book.
Guaranteed to Rattle Your Thinking about Ghost and the Paranormal!
Agent Rocky Elmore retired from the Border Patrol in June of 2014 out of the Tucson Sector Office. The first 13 years of his 20 year career however were spent on assignment at the Brown Field Station in San Diego California.
It is those years spent at the Brown Field Station - hiking Otay Mountain - that forms the backdrop for his new book "Out on Foot - Nightly Patrols and Ghostly Tales of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent."
Outside of Border Patrol circles, Otay Mountain may best known for claiming the lives of 8 members of Reeba Mcentire's band, during a late night airplane crash in March of 1991. The crash also claimed the lives of the two pilots on board. Reeba and her husband were on a separate plane.
This article is simply to introduce the book to visitors here at Police Helicopter Pilot. This is not a full review of the book.
Also, this is not a flying book. It has virtually nothing to do with helicopters. But it is a very unusual book about Law Enforcement that I believe will have wide appeal on a couple of different fronts.
But first, here is the short blurb I wrote for my Facebook page a week or so ago when the book first came out.
"If you worked with me on the Sheriff’s Department anytime during the past 20 years, you likely had to put up with me telling stories about my cousin, Rocky, the Border Patrol Agent. I remember the stories when Rocky was a rookie agent hiking Otay Mountain. I remember the day the morning news reported that a border patrol agent had fallen to his death during a night time patrol near Otay Mountain.
I knew that Rocky was scheduled to work that night and frantically called his home in Chula Vista to make sure he was OK. The agent who fell to his death was Rocky’s academy mate and his patrol partner in training- Agent Santiago. Rocky had called in sick that night.
Even after hearing many of Rocky’s stories over the years, I was completely blown away when I read this manuscript. Rocky has a very down to earth- matter of fact- but highly engaging way of writing about his experiences. He never asks you to believe in ghost. He just relates his incredible experiences, and those of other agents who confided in him, and leaves it to you to decide.
Once you pick up this book you will not be able to put it down, that I promise. Many of the ghost stories do center on the death of Agent Santiago. The only way to describe them is “fascinating” and “stunning.” They will challenge any current beliefs you have on the paranormal.
But ghost stories aside, there may be no other book in existence in the last 30 years that tells the story of the Border Patrol Agent “Out on Foot” more accurately and powerfully than this book. For those of you who fly over Otay Mountain, the details in this book will fascinate you. djk"
I do believe Out on Foot has the potential to capture national attention for two reasons;
- Rocky lays out in gritty detail the life of a Border Patrol Agent working on foot, in some of the most remote and dangerous landscape on the border. With the current state of politics and debate surrounding the border this book will undoubtedly add serious context to the discussion.
- This is likely the first time in history paranormal activity along the border has been documented by a U.S. Border Patrol Agent. Stories about the paranormal already have a huge following. The stories on these pages have never been told before. Stand by!
I think you will hear a lot more about this book in the coming months. Just my prediction. Look forward to a full review coming in the next few weeks.
Out on Foot is available on Amazon for about $16.00
I was recently contacted by Mr. Patrick Callaghan, a research assistant with Washington D.C. based business-to-government-consulting firm NSI- National Strategies.
Mr. Callaghan had been tasked with researching and compiling a list of the 25 largest law enforcement aviation units in the U.S., and was asking for input. Unfortunately I was not much help, as I had never compiled such a list nor was I aware of a current and accurate list. Patrick ended up listing the top 39 aviation units. I felt the list should be rounded out to 40 so I added one unit (see below.)
Here is how Mr. Callaghan compiled the list:
“Method: Ms. Lynn Langton of the Bureau of Justice Statistics published a report in 2009 on US law enforcement agencies that had aviation units and a minimum of 100 sworn personnel. The numbers accrued in her report were from 2007. I identified the top 50 largest air fleets from her report and conducted research on each agency to deduce their updated fleet sizes. I narrowed this list to approximately 40 agencies and then organized them in a list from largest to smallest.”
Mr. Callaghan used available online/public resources for the most current information on unit sizes including unit websites or articles from industry magazines such as Policemag.com.
Mr. Callaghan also pointed out that “the data are from different points in time and thus changes in fleet size/order of the list are variable and may have changed.”
Note- Mr. Callaghan’s list did not include the U.S. Customs & Border Protection Office of Air and Marine whose unit website puts their total number of aircraft at over 250. This is most likely because he was compiling a list of State and Local Police Agencies Air Support Units, not Federal Agencies.
The remainder of the list, from Alaska Dept. of Public Safety to Illinois State Police Air Operations is the sole work of Mr. Patrick Callaghan and NSI.
Number 1 on the list from Police Helicopter Pilot.com is;
U.S. Customs & Border Protection Office of Air and Marine, a Federal Agency, with 250 aircraft! Add the Office of Air and Marine to the below list and you have the top 40 Law Enforcement Air Support Units in the U.S.
Here is Mr. Callaghan's and NSI's top 39 Air Support Units in the U.S.
Aviation Unit Total Aircraft
1. Alaska Dept. Of Public Safety 40
2. California Highway Patrol- Air Ops 30
3. Texas Dept. of Public Safety-Air Ops 23
4. Los Angeles Police Dept. Air Support 20
5. New York State Police Aviation Unit 19
6. Los Angeles Co. Sheriff's Dept. Aero Bureau 18
7. Georgia State Patrol Aviation Division 16
8. Ohio State Patrol Aviation Section 16
9. Alabama State Trooper Aviation Unit (DPS) 14
10. Pennsylvania State Police Aviation 14
11. San Bernardino Co. Sheriff's Aviation Unit 14
12. City of Phoenix Police Dept. Air Support 13
13. Houston Police Dept. Helicopter Patrol Unit 13
14. Maryland State Police Aviation Command 12
15. Lousiana State Police Air Support Unit 11
16. Oklahoma Highway Patrol Aircraft Div. 11
17. Kansas Highway Patrol Air Support Div. 10
18. Florida Highway Patrol Aviation Unit 9
19. North Carolina State Highway Patrol Air Ops 9
20. Kern County Sheriff's Dept. Air Support 8
21. Las Vegas Metropolitan P.D. Air Support 8
22. Minnesota State Patrol Aviation 8
23. New Jersey State Police Aviation Bureau 8
24. New York City (NYPD) Police Aviation Unit 8
25. San Diego Sheriff's Aviation Unit (ASTREA) 8
26. Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Aviation Unit 7
27. Metro Nashville Police Aviation Section 7
28. Miami-Dade Police Dept. Aviation Unit 7
29. St. Louis Police Metro Air Support Unit 7
30. Washington State Patrol Aviation Unit 7
31. Columbus Oh, Division of Police Helicopter Unit 6
32. Indiana State Police Aviation Section 6
33. Massachusetts State Police Air Wing 6
34. St. Louis County Police Metro Air Support Unit 6
35. Tennessee Highway Patrol Special Operations 6
36. Virginia State Police Aviation Unit 6
37. Arizona Department of Public Safety Aviation 5
38. Deleware State Police Aviation Section 5
39. Illinois State Police Air Operations 5
It would be easy to argue that one particular unit should be higher on the list than another. Even my old unit, San Diego Sheriff's ASTREA will go from 8 to 9 helicopters later this year when they take delivery of their 3rd Bell 205A1++ Fire/Rescue Helicopter.
In my opinion the best way to utilize this list is as a "general guide", not an absolute ranking.
I could see this list being very useful to a young person planning for a police career with hopes of moving into the aviation unit one day.
Thanks to NSI of Washington D.C. for allowing Police Helicopter Pilot.com to publish their work!
Cedar Creek Falls; Beautiful But Still Deadly!
In the spring of 2013 I landed at Cedar Creek Falls in Ramona California to give the newest member of our unit a ground tour. Cedar Creek Falls still accounts for an inordinate number of rescues performed by our air unit each year. Only 3 weeks before my retirement it claimed the life of another hiker who became overheated and lacked a sufficient supply of water. Yes, there may have been other medical issues - we are not sure, but we do know that a 24 year old male hiker did not make it home to his family that night and ended up in the morgue instead. Sad indeed.
While I have never personally hiked to the falls, (though I have threatened it many times) I think I would be much more inclined to do it in the spring, when the water is actually running and not green. Additionally, the throngs of people that gather on the rocks next to the pool all summer long is not exactly inviting to me.
I am putting on my life saving hat for a moment
I rarely do this on this site, but I am going to get up on my soap box for a brief moment. I don't like seeing people die and when it is completely avoidable it makes the tragedy that much worse.
Look, if you are overweight or out of shape, or if you are not willing to carry a significant amount of water with you, please stick to Iron Mountain, Cowles Mountain, or even Torrey Pines State Beach for your hiking adventures.
I honestly applaud you for getting out and getting some exercise, but death is a high price to pay for not doing a little research. It is far less likely that you will fall victim to heat exhaustion or heat stroke if you go to one of these popular hiking spots.
Secondly, please, please, know where the hell you hiking!
#1 Cedar Creek Falls & Three Sisters Falls are not the same! They are several miles apart. Hint- if you parked in Ramona, or if you drove down miles and miles of Eagle Peak Rd from Julian (which you won't soon forget) , you are at Cedar Creek Falls. If you drove down Boulder Creek Rd to get to the trail head, then you are at Three Sisters Falls.
#2 Devil's Punch Bowl; It is highly, highly unlikely that you are at Devil's Punch Bowl. The place I know as "Devil's Punch Bowl" has no trails leading to it, and in my 8 years in ASTREA I have NEVER seen one single person there. So stop saying you are at Devil's Punch Bowl, your not!
Giving the wrong location to rescuers only serves to delay life saving emergency medical attention!
It does not have to be an extremely hot day to die
I personally have noticed an interesting phenomenon if you can call it that. About 4-5 months prior to the death of the 24 year old man, a young lady suffered an identical fate hiking out of Three Sisters Falls. Neither of these days were what I would consider to be an extremely hot day (100+). They were both days in the high 80's or low 90's. The point is, if you suffer from other health problems, are not in very good physical condition, or you do not take an adequate water supply, you can die from heat injuries on a 90 degree day.
Cedar Creek Falls has claimed lives in other ways as well. One young man accidentally lost his balance and fell from the top of the falls. Another man dove in and likely struck his head on boulders beneath the water. His body was recovered by the Sheriff's dive team the following day.
How Quickly History is Forgotten, by Some
Very quickly after the devastating 2003 wildfires, in which I lost my own home, the San Diego Fire Rescue Department acquired the very first medium lift fire-rescue helicopters in the county, (actually the Sheriff's Department owned and operated one or two military surplus Huey,s in the early 90's but I don't think they were ever used in rescues.)
For a full 30 years prior to San Diego Fire Rescue acquiring their first medium lift helicopter, virtually every rescue in San Diego's back country was performed by Deputies operating either an MD500 series helicopter, or prior to that a Bell 47 piston powered helicopter. There was the rare occasion that the U.S. Coast Guard would assist on an inland rescue if the circumstances warranted it.
Since 2004 San Diego County is now home to 4 medium lift fire-rescue helicopters, operated by public agencies. Two by San Diego Fire Rescue and two by the San Diego Sheriff's Department Aviation Unit. Each day in the county two of those helicopters are outfitted with hoist, making rescue operations safer in most cases.
The Sheriff's Department still routinely conducts rescue operations in the smaller MD500 helicopters, but with the hoist aircraft now available, a considerable number of the rescues are performed by those aircraft and crew.
The San Diego Sheriff's Aviation Unit is slated to take delivery of a third medium lift Bell 205A1++ helicopter, virtually identical to the first two, in late September of 2015. This helicopter was purchased by the County of San Diego as a maintenance spare, so that there are always 2 fire helicopters ready to launch during fire season.
If you find this information helpful feel free to share, you just might save a life.
While on a training flight in 2014 we landed and shut down on the improved helicopter LZ at Moonlight State Beach in Encinitas. My instructor pilot, Tony Webber, AKA; "TWebb" or "WorldWideWeB" is standing next to the helicopter just before departure.
ASTREA (Aerial Support To Regional Enforcement Agencies) has always maintained an excellent working relationship with the Life Guards along San Diego's Coastline, particularly the cities that are contract cities patrolled by the Sheriff's Department such as Encinitas, Del Mar, and Solona Beach.
The life guard in the picture doubles as a Cal-Fire Fireman and has previously worked as a Helitack crew member on the pictured helicopter.
"ASTREA 2 this is Chick-fil-A tower - you're cleared to land"
Have you ever flown in to a Chick-Fil-A or your favorite fast food restaurant for a sandwich? Well Bill Liniewicz and I did just that one evening in November of 2013. In fact it was the Chick-fil-A on Sports Arena Blvd about a mile north of Lindbergh Field in the Point Loma Area of San Diego.
No we weren't being renegades, of course the landing was approved by our own Public Affairs Division, Chick-fil-A and even the control tower at Lindbergh Field. It was all for a Teddy Bear drive and fundraiser for Children's Hospital.
The event was not even scheduled to kick-off until around 4:30 pm and a weather check showed Lindbergh Field predicting fog & IFR conditions around 6:00 pm. But the event had been several months in the planning stages and involved multiple police departments, possibly an appearance by the Sheriff himself, and of course all the local TV Stations. News releases had been put out publicizing that the Sheriff's helicopter would be there as well.
I called Lindbergh Tower on the phone and advised them what I would be doing, since I would be landing and shutting down, off field within about a mile of the airport. The always helpful the air traffic controller advised me that they expected the field to go "IFR" around 6 pm. I thanked him and told him my plan was to monitor the weather and the moment I saw the fog starting to move in we would bug out and head east back to El Cajon.
Since both Lindbergh Field and the Chick-fil-A are right on the coast, there would be little question on where to watch for the evil fog layer.
While Bill chatted it up with kids and parents about our helicopter and Aviation Unit, I contacted the even organizers and advised them we would most assuredly be departing early.
As expected a fog bank soon became visible to the west. Bill and I turned our attention from answering questions to intensely monitoring the fog, and how fast it was moving, but still trying to be a part of the event- down to the last minute.
It was not long before we could seen the rings of "visible moisture" forming around the street lights in the area. I told Bill it was time to go! We began moving people away from the aircraft as I donned my flight helmet and gloves. I never made it into the pilot's seat before a wall of fog swept over the parking lot. Within seconds the visibility had dropped to about 50'. I'm not sure I had ever seen fog move over an area so quickly. Ugh...I knew our little visit to Chick-fil-A had just turned into a sleep over!
There was not much left to do now except make notifications. No need to rush at this point, I had all night. I got out the old cell phone and notified Lindbergh Tower, the Unit Lieutenant, the Communications Center and SDPD since we were parked in their city. The next question was, who was going to spend the night with the helicopter? If I could not find some willing deputies, it would absolutely be me.
But I had confidence that somewhere on a a department our size I could find a two deputies who would not mind sitting with a helicopter all night in exchange for overtime pay. I had to look no further than the Bomb Squad and my own unit to find a couple of takers. I understand it was a long night of shooing away the homeless and late-night trolls who stopped to gawk at the oddity.
Yeah.... While waiting for relief to arrive Bill and I enjoyed some excellent chicken sandwiches and hot coffee; Thanks Chick-fil-A!
I caught a ride back to the base, and drove home to get some sleep. I expected the fog layer to hang around the next morning until around 10:30 or so, but as quickly as it set in, it cleared up. By early morning the fog had been replaced by a very strong, warm, westerly wind. As I pulled into the parking lot of Chick-fil-A around 8:00 am, the palm trees were bending in the wind and now the early morning risers were trying to figure out why a lone helicopter was setting in the Chick-fil-A parking lot.
Another phone call to Lindbergh Tower to let them know I would be lifting into their Class B airspace and departing east. Being solo & light in the helicopter, with about 30 knot gust on the nose, made doing a high performance take off over the swaying palms and into the wind a beautiful thing.
"ASTREA 2 clearing to the east."
"ASTREA 2 leaving class Bravo airspace - radar services terminated - squawk VFR - frequency change approved- have a good flight."
This video is part of the data dump from my cell phone. I grabbed a shot of this Skycrane takeoff last October (2014). Nothing too special about it (that's always a good thing) just an amazing piece of machinery! I called it a high performance take off, I think they were doing some sort of a post maintenance test flight, possibly checking engine power output or something. They certainly were not hanging out withing the height/velocity curve, but then it is a helicopter after all...
The North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco is a turboprop light attack and observation aircraft.
One of my final Huey flights was to Ramona Air Attack Base to take the crew up for some morning training, along with Scott Bligh who was piloting the 2nd Fire Rescue Helicopter.
The trip allowed me to get another up close & personal look at Cal-Fire's OV-10 Bronco, also known as Air Attack 330. The aircraft is technically still being used for the same mission it was designed for, that of a forward air observer. The only thing that has changed is the peace time fire fighting mission vs. the war time mission.
To understand more about the aircraft here is an excerpt from the OV-10 Wikipedia page;
"The North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco is a turboprop light attack and observation aircraft. It was developed in the 1960s as a special aircraft for counter-insurgency (COIN) combat, and one of its primary missions was as a forward air control (FAC) aircraft. It can carry up to three tons of external munitions, internal loads such as paratroops or stretchers, and can loiter for three or more hours.
The concept aircraft was to operate from expedient forward air bases using roads as runways. Speed was to be from very slow to medium subsonic, with much longer loiter times than a pure jet. Efficient turboprop engines would give better performance than piston engines."
With max air speed for the OV-10 is listed as 281 MPH at sea level and a cruise speed of 195 MPH it is often the first aircraft on scene of a vegetation fire followed closely by retardant carrying bombers from the same fire base.
The "back seater" in the OV-10 coordinates all aircraft in and out of the Fire Traffic Area, as well as all of the retardant drops.
When a fire call comes in the pilot and Cal Fire Captain head straight to the aircraft while others in the Air Attack Base gather date on the fire location. By the time the crew is ready to taxi they are given a heading and distance to the fire by the base tower. At 200+ MPH they are on scene in just minutes, ready to do what the OV-10 was designed to do.
I stumbled across this picture in one of my Picasa folders from a few years back. The photo is by the late Rocky Laws using a fish eye lens. Depicts the interior of one of our older MD500D model patrol helicopters with a Gentex helmet on the seat. I used this for the header graphic at Police Helicopter Pilot for a time a few years back.
I stepped outside the office a few months back just in time to catch this picture with my smart phone.
Deputy Brown had just flown in to ASTREA Base in his Schweizer 300 (Now Sikorsky) training helicopter. He was still cooling the engine down when Deputy Kneeshaw, training in the Bell 205 Fire/Rescue Helicopter, returned from a training flight. And the MD530F patrol ship waiting for a hot call!
Cal Fire Pit Crew!
Copter 12 being put to bed for the night by the Cal Fire Pit Crew. Golden State Flying Club in the background..
Our two Bell 205 have been rolled into the hangar every single day for about 7 & 1/2 years. It goes a long way toward preventing corrosion. These guys can have the helicopter hooked up, jacked up on the wheels and rolled into the hangar in about 5 minutes.
Factoid- While calling on the law enforcement radios this helicopter's call sign is "ASTREA 12" but the moment they switch to fire radios the call sign becomes "Copter 12."
Yes it has the looks of a crime scene- just missing some yellow tape and chalk right?. Turns out this was probably my last NVG flight.
So what was really going on? We landed the 407 in an empty Cul De Sac on the La Jolla Indian Reservation in support of a Valley Center High School film crew and the "Every 15 Minutes Program." In case you are not familiar The Every 15 Minutes Program is a nation wide anti-drunk driving campaign that is usually held as high school graduations near.
(I have yet to see the video!)
Prior to this scene the kids came down to ASTREA Base and filmed some scenes in the back of one of our Huey (Bell 205) helicopters. In that scene some of our Cal Fire partners helped out by filling the role of EMT Rescuers treating the crash victim.
So the 407 was filmed landing on La Jolla Indian Reservation as the rescue helicopter, but the interior scenes were the inside of a Huey.
I know the film crew was very appreciative of the La Jolla Indian Reservation Fire Department who came through on very short notice and made it all happen. They deserve a big thanks along with the La Jolla Tribal Council who gave quick approvals for the landing and filming!
So Long Jet A, N1 & MGT!
Let the good times roll
Well the deed is done. After 29.5 years with the San Diego Sheriff's Department I have turned in my guns and ammo and moved the flight suits to the back of the closet, though perhaps just temporarily.
There is no possible way to thank the SDSO- Organization enough for taking in a 22 year old kid from Oktaha, and giving him a place to call home for so long. It is an organization of which I will always speak highly.
The same goes for the people. I can honestly say that my last 2 and a half years as a supervisor in the Aerial Support Unit were the best years of my career. I can only attribute that to the incredible people with whom I worked alongside, from top to bottom. In every station and every facility on the Sheriff's Department are dedicated, hardworking, genuine people busting their butts to answer the calls, put the criminals in jail and make the community a better place to live.
"Pulling the plug" as it is known in police circles was one of the harder decisions I have ever had to make. One feels an almost indebtedness to the people and the mission. But what comes to mind most are the words of an old beat partner who retired a number of years ago, "It was just time to start the next chapter of my life."
What does the future hold?
The first priority was getting some time back into my life. I think it will take at least a few weeks to appreciate not being part of the rat race.
One goal is to become a dedicated blogger once again. You know you have neglected your blog when it takes 5 minutes to remember how to upload a picture to a blog post.
Retirement is a bit of a misnomer I guess. We all have to be doing something each and every day of our lives, hopefully something productive that benefits those around us, or at least someone somewhere.
I do wish to explore flying opportunities that may or may not exist for former police helicopter pilots. It is also highly likely that you will find me hanging around (OK working) the Sheriff's Department on a part time basis under a program known as 960 re-hire. The program allows retired employees to go back to work part time without interfering with their retirement benefits.
Now I wonder how many blog post I can get if I download every helicopter picture on my phone and post one a day?
PILOT PROFILE: Pilot Erin Nolan-Egan
- PIC for Air Sea Rescue in the B412
- PIC in both patrol aircraft (A119K) and the (B429) we are now in the process of converting our patrol aircraft to the 429.
- Instrument flight instructor for the pilots in training, the IFR rating is required for the PICs in the B412 and the B429s
Aviation Degrees Earned
- BS: Aeronautical Science with a minor in Meteorology, from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
- MBA: Aviation Management
Pilot Ratings Held
- Commercial Helicopter with an Instrument rating
- Certified Flight Instructor Helicopter and Helicopter Instrument
- Commercial Single Engine Land and Sea, Multi-Engine Land and Instrument rating
- Certified Flight Instructor Single Engine, Mulit-engine, and Instrument
- Certified Aircraft Dispatcher
Current Flight Hours (Approximate)
- Fixed wing- 2450
- Rotor wing- 2300
According to the FAA in 2013 there were 599,000 licensed pilots in the U.S. in 2013; of those only 33,362 were rotorcraft pilots and of those only 22,235 were commercially rated helicopter pilots. Considering that only about 6% of all licensed pilots are female, one can deduce that the number of female helicopter pilots licensed by the FAA is be less than 1,332. The FAA does not keep a tally on the number of female helicopter pilots specifically, but if you are a woman pilot flying helicopters in a Law Enforcement Air Support unit you are an extremely rare individual indeed. In a country of 300 million people, female law enforcement helicopter pilots would almost assuredly be counted by the hundreds, not thousands.
By all accounts you will not hear or see Erin Nolan-Egan boasting about being a female pilot or for that matter a female NYPD Helicopter Pilot. But anyone who has worked as hard as she has to earn her degrees, ratings, and pilot position has a certain amount of bragging rights be they male or female.
Being selected to fly and command multi-million dollar police helicopters over New York City is not a small accomplishment by any standard. There are currently two female pilots assigned to NYPD’s Air Support Unit.
Over the past 12 years Erin has climbed the proverbial ladder inside the NYPD’s Air Support Unit to become the first woman pilot to be rated to fly the department’s Bell 412 Air Sea Rescue helicopter. While Erin herself may not boast about flying a 412 for NYPD, society has not lost its appetite for celebrating women who have pushed career boundaries and set the example for other women to follow.
So it is in this vein that we sought out Erin to ask a few questions about her aviation background, experience and how she came to fly for the NYPD.
Also, see the bottom of this article for some U.S. Army statistics on female helicopter pilots vs. male helicopter pilots. You might be very surprised!
An Interview With NYPD Pilot Erin Nolan-Egan
1. Growing up on Long Island, did you ever think or consider that you might one day become an NYPD Officer? Never, I was always interested in science and the space program. It wasn’t until later in my college years that law enforcement became an option for me.
2. How old were you when you took your first airplane ride and was that with your father? I don’t exactly remember if I flew with my father first or if I was on an airliner first. My mother is a travel agent and when I was kid it was a much different profession then it is today. She had a lot of benefits and I was lucky to have traveled a lot on airlines when I was young. My first flight in a small plane was definitely with my Dad. He was a private pilot and had taken my mother and I to places like Hershey Park and I had gone with him on a few flight lessons.
3. As a young girl were you ever allowed to take the controls of the airplane or “help fly”? Unfortunately no, looking back I wish we had done more but my last memory of flying with my dad explains it. He had taken me on a flight when he had to do a refresher with his flight instructor before renting the airplane and I was sitting in the back. Enjoying the flight and not knowing what was about to happen next, I suddenly hear this alarm sound and we are looking down at the water. I was scared to death and was yelling at him to take me home. Later, I learned he was doing stall practice, but I didn’t want to hear it nor did I really understand. I told him I never wanted to go again. The next time I flew with my dad I was in the pilot seat.
4. When you entered Embry Riddle was it your plan to become an airline pilot or were you open to other career paths in aviation such as the military? During High School and before applying to college I wanted to go the Air Force Academy and wanted to join the military due to my interests in NASA and the space program. After speaking to some cadets and graduates the restrictiveness and the life commitment were a little unnerving at a young age, so I chose the college route instead. I originally wanted to study Engineering but while looking at schools I came across Embry Riddle Aeronautical University where I could study Aviation and/or engineering and still become a pilot which was the next best thing.
5. I understand you are also a licensed aircraft dispatcher. How is this different from being an air traffic controller? In the Airlines an Aircraft dispatcher is responsible for flight planning, taking into consideration, weather, aircraft performance and weight and balance. They also monitor a flights progress and will advise the flight crew of any circumstances that might affect flight safety. Dispatchers also have the authority to divert, delay or cancel a flight.
6. At what point did you become certain you did not want to pursue a career as an airline pilot? During college I applied and was selected as an intern with TWA airlines. I worked with the chief meteorologist in the dispatch office at JFK Airport. I was able to sit jump seat and observe flight operations on any flight. At the time TWA had flights to numerous destinations in Europe so I took advantage of the benefit and on every other weekend off I would pick a flight to a different country and observe the flight operations on both the 747 and 767 aircraft. Not only was I able to travel to so many interesting and different countries like Egypt but I was able to see firsthand the life of an airline pilot. By the time the internship was over I wasn’t sure this lifestyle was for me. There is a lot of time away from home in hotels which of course are great but I figured the allure would wear off in a short amount of time plus I felt like the pilots aren’t really flying they are monitoring the aircraft for very long periods of time. I wanted something a little more hands on and the thought of helicopters came to mind and eventually I took an introductory lesson in a Bell 47 and I was instantly hooked.
7. How big of a decision was it for you to temporarily set aside your flying career and become an NYPD Officer? Honestly it wasn’t that difficult because I never really set it aside. I knew I wanted to be a law enforcement pilot so I took the NYPD entrance exam and was called right away. I had just finished college and needed to decide quickly as I was only 22 years old and needed a job. I believed it would have been tougher to make ends meet while flight instructing and trying to build time for the airlines. So I moved back home went to the police academy and upon graduation got right back to flight instructing and flying a “traffic watch plane” for a local radio station to keep building my time. I always believed in having a backup plan.
8. As you were making your decision to become an NYPD Officer how did you deal with the possibility that you might not ever be selected to the air unit, despite your aviation degree(s) and ratings? Again, I never really thought about it. I was very naïve I was young and new to the department and just figured my resume would speak for itself. But I was the first in my family to become a police officer and was really clueless about the politics and the inner workings of the department. There were many that would say discouraging and disheartening things about my chances of getting into the unit. I just kept my head up, kept flying and enjoyed my duties as a police officer; I made many friends and had some great partners along the way. Luckily enough almost 5 years later I was transferred to the Aviation Unit and it was no longer a worry.
9. You have been billed as the first female NYPD pilot to be a designated PIC in the Bell 412. Have there been other female pilots in the NYPD air support unit? Yes, when I was transferred I was the 3rd female to be assigned to the unit as a pilot, although I was the first with an aviation background and actively flying prior to becoming a police officer. Within the last 2 years another female has joined our team.
10. You were part of the air crew when your 412 Helicopter suffered mechanical problems on approach to Floyd Bennett Field. Can you clarify if you were on the controls or if your partner was on the controls? And did you perform an auto-rotation or was it more of an emergency water landing? The final NTSB report has been released and it is an interesting read if you want to know how they investigated what happened. Yes, I was at the controls while on low approach back to Floyd Bennett Field when we had a catastrophic failure of the output gear in the combining gear box. Basically, we lost all power to the rotor system. The result was an auto-rotative flare to the water. Floats were deployed and the 6 person crew luckily only experienced some lingering, relatively minor injuries.
11. Were you in the air support unit on 911? I was assigned to the Aviation Unit in January of 2003 making this month my 12th year anniversary. During 911 I was assigned as a patrol cop in the 69th precinct Brooklyn NY. I entered the Police academy in 1998 so I was still a young rookie cop during 911.
12. What advice do you have for any young person, male or female, who is considering a career in aviation? Aviation has many niches so pick what interests you most and pursue what will make you happy. Aviation is a passion and not the easiest goal to reach but it is attainable if you work hard. The aviation industry as a whole has seen some drastic changes and has become a lot more expensive especially for general aviation where it all begins. Think of it as becoming a doctor or a lawyer, be prepared to take on a lot of work, a lot of debt, but know if it is your passion it will be worth it in the end.
Male Helicopter Pilots vs. Female Helicopter Pilots
As part of his studies at the School of Advanced Military Studies at the Army’s Command, Army Major Seneca Peña-Collazo prepared a report entitled Women in Combat Arms: A Study of the Global War on Terror, published in the early part of 2014.
In the study Major Peña-Collazo looked at the records of all U.S. Army helicopter pilots from 2002 to 2013 both in the combat theater and outside of the combat theater. Here is what he found; while women make up 10 out of every 100 Army Pilots they account for only 3 out of every 100 accidents in U.S. Army Helicopters. When he looked at only the AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter 100% of all accidents both Army wide and in theater were all male crews. There were no AH-64 helicopter accidents involving female pilots.
So there you go. Evidence that women make better helicopter pilots than men!
Police Helicopter Pilot.com would like to thank Erin for taking the time thoughtfully answer each of the questions posed to her.
Two Killed on Sheriff's Helicopter Returning Home From Glendale Az
Update 1-9-15: The NTSB has released it's preliminary accident report on this incident. Scroll to bottom of article to read. The full accident report takes approximately 1 year to be released.
New Year’s Eve turned deadly for the civilian helicopter pilot and mechanic who were on a ferry flight from Glendale Municipal Airport to the Sierra Vista Airport in Cochise County Arizona Wednesday evening.
Cochise is a border county just east of Tucson and Pima County. The county seat is Bisbee and it is also home to the infamous Tombstone Arozona.
The helicopter is operated by the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office but owned by Airwest Helicopters LLC of Glendale Az. Both crew members on board the helicopter were employees of Airwest Helicopters. Airwest Helicopters LLC is based at the Glendale Municipal Airport.
The pilot has been identified as retired Glendale Police Officer Jeff Steele and his passenger as 59 year old mechanic Mark Hansen. The helicopter, known as "Coshise Air" was returning to its home airport in Cochise County after routine maintenance in Glendale.
Steele retired from the Glendale Police Department in 2011 after 25 years of service.
The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the missing helicopter just before 7pm by officials from Airwest, who stated the helicopter had dropped off radar. Search and Rescue personnel were able to ping the pilot’s cell phone and obtain information on its location. This information was passed on to members of SAR who were in the field searching for the downed aircraft as well as the Benson Fire Department who located the crash site around 9:20 pm.
The following was excerpted for the Cochise County Sheriff's official Facebook Page;
"The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by the leasing company shortly before 7:00 pm and advised that they had lost communications with Cochise Air near the Benson area. Tracking software was activated and the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team responded to the general area along with Benson Fire and Medics in an attempt to locate the aircraft.
Search and Rescue personnel were able to trace the cell phone of the pilot which ultimately led to a more narrowed search area south of Interstate 10 outside of Benson. At approximately 9:20 pm, the Benson Fire Department advised that they had located the crash site of Cochise Air and located the two occupants (one pilot and one mechanic) who were deceased at the scene."
On 12-31-14 at 9:14 pm the National Weather Service issued an urgent winter storm warning for the mountains and high deserts throughout northern and eastern Arizona. The warning indicated snow levels may be as low as 2,000 feet with rain is expected in the lower elevations and rain turning to snow between 4,000' and 4,500' in elevations.
The elevation for Benson Arizona is 3,586'.
In at least one photo of the crash scene released by the Sheriff's Department pieces of the aircraft appeared to be covered in fresh snow. What remained of the aircraft was not immediately recognizable as a helicopter.
The Sierra Vista Airport is located approximately 150 nautical miles south east of Glendale Municipal Airport where it is believed the helicopter departed from. Benson is located approximately 45 miles south east of Tucson. The area surrounding the crash site is being described as remote.
The ill-fated helicopter has been identified as a Bell 206L4 registration No. N57AW. This helicopter replaced another Bell Jet Ranger operated by Cochise County when it lost its tail rotor in September of 2014. In that incident the pilot, Larry Pucci, was able to perform an emergency landing near Tombstone Az without injury to himself or the Deputy Sheriff TFO on board.
Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels said in a statement- "This news leaves me personally, and this organization, with a heavy heart because of the tragic loss of two incredible lives." "We have worked closely with this company and these two individuals since receiving Cochise Air and knowing that they are considered part of Sheriff's Office family makes this so much harder. We send our condolences out to the families of the two people who will truly be missed."
Below is the NTSB Preliminary Accident Report released the second week of January 2015.
NTSB Identification: WPR15FA072
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, December 31, 2014 in Benson, AZ
Aircraft: BELL 206, registration: N57AW
Injuries: 2 Fatal.
"This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On December 31, 2014, at 1710 mountain standard time, a Bell 206 L4, N57AW, collided with terrain 7 miles west of Benson, Arizona. The commercial pilot and pilot rated mechanic were fatally injured, and the helicopter was destroyed. The helicopter was registered to N57AW LLC, and operated by Airwest Helicopters as 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 positioning flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on a company visual flight rules flight plan. The flight originated form Glendale, Arizona, at 1550, and was destined for Sierra Vista, Arizona.
The operator reported that the helicopter had not arrived at its destination and that the Sky Connect Tracking System indicated that the helicopter was at a stationary location between Tucson and Benson. The Cochise County Sheriff located the helicopter wreckage about 2030 at the location the Sky Connect system was reporting. The helicopter was fragmented into multiple pieces along a 174-foot-long debris path. Witnesses living in the local area reported hearing a low flying helicopter around the time of the accident, and that the visibility at ground level was very limited, with low clouds and fog."
Pilot Initiates Auto-Rotation After Apparent Engine Failure
Update 1-9-15: The NTSB released its preliminary accident report on this incident. Please scroll down to bottom of article to read it in its entirety. The complete accident report will not be available for approximately 1 year.
UPDATE- 1-2-15: The officers who were piloting the helicopter when it went down have been identified as Officer David Callen and Officer Paul Lourenco. Both are flight instructors and each have over 2,200 hours of flight time. See the bottom of this article for a full press release from LVMPD.
Click the 8 News video below to hear the helicopter crew's radio traffic as they are going down. Great job by both officers.
The crew of a Las Vegas Metro Police MD530F patrol helicopter did an excellent job of notifying dispatch that they had an engine out and guiding the helicopter to an auto-rotational landing in the middle of 23rd St between Bonanza and E. Wilson northeast of Downtown Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve.
New Years Eve however turned tragic for the pilot and mechanic of a Cochise County (AZ) Sheriff’s Department helicopter that crashed while on a return flight from Phoenix to their home airport in Sierra Vista Arizona.
The Las Vegas Police Helicopter departed the North Las Vegas Airport at 1:22 PM to assist patrol units on an assault call. The helicopter and crew were approximately 7 minutes into their flight when the crew reported mechanical problems at 1:29 PM.
In this situation the pilot and the TFO have approximately 18-20 seconds to lower the collective and enter an auto-rotation, pick out an emergency landing spot and guide the helicopter to it. That is assuming they were flying at an altitude of at least 500’ agl. By all accounts the LVMPD pilot did an excellent job of dodging power lines, homes and cars to place the helicopter in the middle of the street and avoiding injury to anyone on the ground.
Both officers were transported to University Medical Center for evaluation but their injuries were described as non-life threatening. The helicopter came to rest upright but was substantially damaged as it impacted the street.
After visiting both officers at University Medical Center Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie told media outlets that both crew members were alert and would be “fine.”
The MD500 series helicopter is considered by many to be the most crash worthy helicopter ever built. The MD500 earned this legacy during the Vietnam conflict where it was operated primarily by the U.S. Army as a scout helicopter known as the MH-6 Little Bird and the armed variant Ah-6 also sometimes called the “Killer Egg”.
Below is the official statement from Las Vegas Metro Police Department on the incident;
LVMPD Helicopter Makes Emergency Landing
"Today at approximately 1:22 p.m., a LVMPD police helicopter took off from the airport and was assisting patrol units on a battery call in the downtown area. At approximately 1:29 p.m. the air unit was forced to make an emergency landing in the area of 23rd Street and East Wilson Avenue. The helicopter landed on 23rd Street, resulting in damage to the aircraft. The two pilots were transported to UMC where they were treated for minor injuries. The names of the pilots have not been released at this time. This incident is under investigation. All future information regarding this aircraft incident will be released by the FAA and NTSB."
Public records indicate that the LVMPD took delivery of helicopter N530KK from MD Helicopters in June of 2010. The helicopter is equipped with a a 650 shp Rolls Royce 250-C30 turboshaft engine. This more powerful engine coupled with longer rotor blades and an extended tail boom make the 530F MD Helicopter’s finest high-altitude, hot-day performer according to company press releases.
While indications are that this incident was the result of mechanical issues, a LVMPD helicopter crash in September 2012 occurred while the crew was practicing auto-rotational emergency landings at the North Las Vegas Airport. During that incident the helicopter suffered a hard landing and rolled over, causing over $1 million in damage. Both officers survived the 2012 crash as well.
But it is precisely the type of emergency procedures training the crew was practicing in 2012, that allows the crew of the helicopter in yesterday’s crash to survive and walk away with minor injuries.
Tragedy did strike the LVMPD Air Support Unit in July 2013, Officer David VanBuskirk died after falling from a helicopter hoist cable during a night time rescue mission on Mount Charleston. This incident is still under investigation by the NTSB.
About LVMPD Air Support
The LVMPD Air Support Unit consists of 22 helicopter pilots, 2 tactical flight officers and 4 FAA certified aircraft mechanics.
The fleet consists of one Hughes 500D, three MD 530Fs, one Bell 407, two Bell UH1N Hueys, and a Cessna Skylane 182. The Air Support Unit operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and flies 6,000 hours annually.
The damaged helicopter was eventually loaded on the back of a flatbed truck and taken to an undisclosed location for further examination by investigators. By 6pm 23rd street was reopened and the neighborhood began to return to normal.
Press Release Issued by LVMPD on 1-2-15
Pilots Involved in December 31, 2014
Emergency Helicopter Landing Identified
"The officers involved in the emergency landing of a LVMPD helicopter on a residential street December 31, 2014 have been identified as Officer David Callen and Officer Paul Lourenco. Officer Callen has been employed with the LVMPD since March, 2000 and Officer Lourenco has been employed with the LVMPD since July, 1997. Both officers are pilots assigned to the
Emergency Operations Bureau, Search and Rescue/Air Support Detail.
Both officers were treated for their injuries at the UMC Trauma Center and were released the same evening. The officers are both experienced pilots, each having over 2,200 flight hours, and both are certified flight instructors. An audio clip of the radio traffic of the incident accompanies this release.
An extensive review of each of the aircraft in the LVMPD fleet is currently underway. Initially, no LVMPD helicopters will be flying in regular service. Each of the aircraft will go through a detailed inspection and maintenance record check. At the conclusion of each inspection, the respective aircraft will be released back into service.
The six helicopters in Metro’s fleet include one Bell 407, three McDonnell Douglas 530-FF’s, and two Bell HH-1H’s. The aircraft involved in this incident was a McDonnell Douglas 530-FF. The department now has five operational helicopters in the fleet. The investigation into this incident remains ongoing. As the primary responsibility for the investigation lies with the Federal Aviation Administration, we will not be releasing further
information or giving interviews at this time."
Following is the NTSB preliminary report on this incident.
NTSB Identification: WPR15TA071
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, December 31, 2014 in Las Vegas, NV
Aircraft: MD HELICOPTER INC 369FF, registration: N530KK
Injuries: 2 Minor.
"This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this public aircraft accident report.
On December 31, 2014, about 1330 Pacific standard time, an MD Helicopter Inc. 369FF, N530KK, was substantially damaged during an emergency autorotation following a sudden loss of engine power in Las Vegas, Nevada. The two commercial pilots on board sustained minor injuries. The helicopter was registered to, and operated by, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department as a public-use flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from North Las Vegas Airport, Las Vegas, at 1322.
The pilot reported that he was orbiting when he noticed a drop in engine and rotor revolutions per minute (rpm). The pilot then rolled the helicopter out of the orbit, and the engine and rotor rpm stabilized momentarily at 97%. The pilot attempted to increase the engine and rotor rpm while turning west towards the North Las Vegas Airport. During the maneuver, the engine and rotor rpm rapidly degraded. The pilot entered an autorotation, and executed an emergency landing. The helicopter touched down hard, the tail impacted the ground, and separated from the airframe."
BELL HELICOPTER SELECTED BY THE SAN DIEGO COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE FOR A BELL 407GX
Phoenix, AZ (July 18, 2014) – Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company (NYSE: TXT), announced that, pending successful final negotiations, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department intends to award a contract for a Bell 407GX. The aircraft will be used for parapublic missions, including: search and rescue, fire suppression, and law enforcement air support to public safety agencies throughout San Diego County.
“We are very excited to provide the San Diego County Sheriff with such a reliable aircraft,” said Anthony Moreland, managing director of sales for Bell Helicopter in North America. “We have seen a great response to the Bell 407 GX in the law enforcement segment, and the aircraft offers pilots increased situational awareness thanks to high visibility and a digital cockpit that reduces workload.”
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department currently has three Bell helicopters in operation including, two Bell 205 A1++ and one Bell 407 to help them protect and serve the citizens of San Diego.
The Bell 407GX delivers power and speed with a smooth, quiet ride and a spacious cabin that accommodates six passengers. The aircraft also features the fully-integrated Garmin G1000H™ flight deck, providing critical flight information at a glance for greater situational awareness and increased safety. The Bell 407GX flight deck's high resolution LCD screens host primary flight and multi-function display information, including Helicopter Terrain Avoidance Warning System, Helicopter Synthetic Vision Technology™, Traffic Information Systems and more. The 407GX also features a tail rotor camera, allowing the pilot a clear view of the tail during take-offs and landings.
BELL HELICOPTER DELIVERS FIRST TWO OF SIX BELL 407GXS TO THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE
FORT WORTH, TEXAS (July 22, 2014) – Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company (NYSE: TXT), announced today the delivery of the first two of six Bell 407GX helicopters to the Pennsylvania State Police. They will be used for airborne law enforcement patrol and will serve citizens throughout the Commonwealth.
“We operate six aviation patrol units across the state and provide aerial support to all federal, state and local law enforcement agencies within the Commonwealth,” said Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan. “It is very important that we have modern, reliable and mission-ready helicopters to patrol and serve the citizens of the Commonwealth.”
The fleet routinely patrols the entire coverage area; however, specific patrol units are strategically situated so that response time anywhere with the patrol zone is minimal.
Several new components on each ship will enable the Pennsylvania State Police flight crews to more rapidly and effectively pinpoint exact ground locations from the air as well as provide for interoperable radio communications with ground-based first responders, which operate on a multitude of radio frequencies. The new capabilities also provide real time situational awareness to incident commanders and first responders during times of critical incidents or disasters. These systems will aid in public information and warning, operational coordination, intelligence and information sharing, criminal activity interdiction and disruption, screening, search and detection
“We are honored to have the Pennsylvania State Police as one of our law enforcement customers, and we give our sincere thanks for their ongoing trust in Bell Helicopter products,” said Anthony Moreland, managing director of North American sales at Bell Helicopter. “The Bell 407 has proven its law enforcement capabilities throughout the world and we know it will serve the Commonwealth well.”
Bell Helicopter has supported the Pennsylvania State Police since 1969 when it delivered two Bell 47s, the first Bell helicopters to be part of an airborne law enforcement team. Since then, Bell Helicopter has strived to provide innovative product solutions and the best customer support and service to maintain its valued, long-standing relationship with the Pennsylvania State Police. Bell Helicopter has approximately 450 aircraft serving law enforcement needs in the United States, with customers including the Georgia Department of Public Safety, Los Angeles Police Department and New York State Police.
The Bell 407GX delivers power and speed with a smooth, quiet ride and a spacious cabin that accommodates six passengers. The aircraft also features the fully-integrated Garmin G1000HTM flight deck, providing critical flight information at a glance for greater situational awareness and increased safety. The Bell 407GX flight deck's high resolution LCD screens host primary flight and multi-function display information, including Helicopter Terrain Avoidance Warning System, Helicopter Synthetic Vision TechnologyTM, Traffic Information Systems and more. The 407GX also features a tail rotor camera, allowing the pilot a clear view of the tail during take-offs and landing.