Police Helicopter Pilot

Helicopter Aviation & Beyond:

We take you inside the cockpit of law enforcement helicopters around the world while sharing knowledge and insight on how to become a police or sheriff helicopter pilot.

Filtering by Tag: Air

California, Los Angeles Police Department Air Support Division

LAPD Helicopter on patrol, Photo- courtesy of Glenn Grossman.The Los Angeles Police Department Air Support Division operates 12 Eurocopter AS350 B2 Astars, 4 Bell 206 helicopters, 1 Bell UH-1H Huey helicotper, and 1 King Air 200 Fixed Wing Aircraft.  

The Los Angeles Police Department Air support Division started with one helicopter a Hiller 12J in 1956, then added a second helicopter in 1963.

The LAPD Air Support Division claims to be the largest "Municipal" police air unit in the world.  

To read more about the LAPD Air Support unit visit my other page on them here.


Ca. Alhambra, Arcadia, Azusa, South Pasadena, Monrovia, West Covina, Glendora, (Foothill Air Support Unit)

The Foothill Air Support Team is an extension of the Pasadena Police Air Support Unit formed in 1999, with six partner cities.  The six cities, Alhambra Arcadia, Azusa, South Pasadena, Monrovia, West Covina and Glendora are all located in the Foothills area of northern Los Angeles County.  As the name implies, these are the foothills of the towering San Gabriel Mountains.

Each of the six cities provides one Tactical Flight Officer to the "FAST" team, who are then partnered with a Pasadena Police Pilot. 

The Pasadena Police operate 2- Enstrom F28 helicopers, 1- Enstrom 480, 1- Bell 206, and 2- Bell OH-58 helicopters.   

Arizona, Tucson Police Department Air Support Unit

The Tucson Police Air Support Unit was first established in 1972 and currently operates 3 Bell 206 helicopters and 1- Cessna 172 fixed wing aircraft.  The unit's home base is the Tucson International Airport. 

The City of Tucson is the county seat for Pima County Arizona, and is the second largest city in the state with a population of over 500,000 in the city limits, and metropolitan area population of approximately on million.  Like many police air support units, the Tucson Police Air Support unit is often called upon to assist smaller agencies in their area who do not have their own helicopter division. 

The Tucson Police Air Support Unit has a staff of 7 full time sworn police officer pilots, as well as two mechanics and a supervisor pilot. 

The unit responds to about 12,000 calls per year and during a recent year assisted on over 7 hundred arrest. 

The Tucson Police Air Support Unit  enjoys and outstanding safety record. 

Arizona, Pima County Sheriff's Tactical Air Support Unit

Pima County Sheriff Helio Courier outfitted with a turboprop engine and a Star Saffire Flir Camera.The Pima County Sheriff's Department has adopted an innovative approach to airborne law enforcement.  When tasked to come up with an airborne patrol platform without the traditional costs of a helicopter, members of the department identified the fixed wing HT 295 Helio-Courier as an acceptable alternative to the helicopter.  With slow flight capabilities in the high 20s, plenty of useable load, and the ability to mount heat sensing cameras to hard points under the wing, they discovered that they could perform about 80% of all missions that traditional police helicopters were called on to perform.  But by using the fixed wing platform they were able to provide patrol and surveillance support at a fraction of the cost.

Yes fixed wing aircraft have long been used in airborne law enforcement applications, however, the vast majority are used as transport, or strictly surveillance from high altitudes.  Not the direct patrol support that has been relegated to the helicopter for the past 40 years. 

The Pima County Sheriff's Office operates 5 aircraft to include;  1-Cessna 210, 1-Cessna 310, 2- HT-420 patrol & surveillance airplanes, and 1- MD 530FF helicopter. The unit is staffed with 6 pilots (all of whom possess commercial and instrument fixed wing ratings), and several Tactical Flight Officers. 

Pima County S.O. fixed wing and MD530F helicopter.