Three Officers Injured in LAPD Helicopter Crash Landing
Three LAPD officers suffered minor to moderate injuries Thursday afternoon while practicing "power off" auto-rotations at an airfield in Lancaster Ca. according to news reports and the FAA.
The pilot-officers were training at the General William J. Fox Airfield 40 miles northeast of downtown LA when the incident occurred.
According to one Los Angeles County fire official, at least one officer suffered moderate injures while two suffered minor injuries and all were transported. The helicopter also suffered damage during the "hard" landing.
An auto-rotation is an emergency procedure that allows helicopters to land safely in the event of complete engine failure. It is the only thing that stands between life and death, in single engine helicopters when the engine fails. It works every time when performed correctly. But it also takes a significant amount of practice become proficient, and unfortunately training accidents sometimes occur when this skill is being transferred from the instructor to the student.
News photos of the helicopter confirm it was a Eurocopter AS350, one of twelve operated by the department. The photo also confirms that the helicopter suffered significant damage.
LAPD's air unit is considered the largest municipal police helicopter unit in the world, (South Africa boast a larger fleet but it is not considered municipal) operating a total of 17 helicopters. Most are flown from LAPD's rooftop heliport in downtown LA.
PHP.com staff wishes a speedy recovery to the officers.