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: Eurocopter

California, Fresno Police Department Air Support Unit

The Fresno Police Department's Air Support Unit was first formed in 1996 with three piston powered helicopters.  Presently the unit operates two Eurocopter EC120 turbine powered helicotpers, and 1- Cessna 206 fixed wing aircraft. 

Fresno's Police Helicopter unit also known as "Skywatch" has flown over 6,000 accident free hours in their turbine powered EC120s and approximately 20,000 accident free hours since 1996. 

According to Fresno PD's own website, "The Skywatch helicopters continue to play a major role in reducing the Fresno Police Department's overall police response times by posting an average response time of less than a minute, 35 seconds for the year of 2009 to be exact. In the year 2008 the Skywatch helicopters have achieved an all time high in the percentage of arriving first-on-scene to calls. Skywatch arrived first- on-scene in 2009 62% of the time. The Air Support Unit prides itself on its continued support of Fresno Police Department personnel and ultimately for providing a much needed blanket of security to the citizens of Fresno and Fresno County."

California Highway Patrol Aviation

California Highway Patrol EC AS350 helicopter, with rescue hoist. Wikimedia photo.The California Highway Patrol operates approximately 30 aircraft out of about 8 different locations throughout the state.  The primary aircraft in the CHP fleet are Cessna T206H Stationairs (fixed wing) and Eurocopter AS 350 helicopters.  A handfull of Bell helicopters and a Cessna 182 round out the fleet.

The CHP fixed wing and rotorwing aircraft are fairly evenly spread out over 7 divisions around the state.  These divisions include;

Northern Div.  (Redding Ca.)  2- helicopters, 2- fixed wing

Central Div.  (Fresno Ca.)  1- helicopter, 2- fixed wing

Golden Gate Div.  (Napa Ca.)  2- helicopters, 2- fixed wing airplanes

Coastal Div.  (Paso Robles Ca.)  1- helicopter, 2- fixed wing aircraft

Inland Div.  (Apple Vallley Ca.)  2- fixed wing aircraft

Southern Div.  (Fullerton Ca.) 4- helicopters, 1- fixed wing

Valley Div.  (Auburn Ca.)  2- helicopters, 2- fixed wing


In total the California Highway Patrol operates 12- Eurocopter AS350 helicopters, 2- Bell 206L4 (Long Rangers), 1- Bell OH-58 helicopter, 15- Cessna T206H Stationair airplanes, and 1- Cessna 182.  

CHP Cessna Turbo 206 Stationair fixed wing. Wikimedia photo.

CHP helicopters perform numerous rescues each year in some of the smaller counties and jurisdictions throughout the state, where they are often the only helicopter available. 

For an excellent look at the fixed wing side of CHP aviation, including some of the fixed wing history, check out this article at planeandpilogmag.com.