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: aviation

California, Merced County Sheriff's Aviation Unit

Merced County Sheriff UH-1H Huey helicopter. Photo- Merced Sun-Star.Merced County Sheriff's Department currently operates two fixed wing aircraft and two helicopters; 

1- Cessna 206 airplane

1- Cessna 172 airplane

1- Robinson R-44 Raven II helicopter

1- UH-1H Huey helicopter

The department acquired he Huey helicopter in 2009 through a donation from the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal-EMA) under the California Public Safety Procurement Program.  The Huey helicopter has a value of about $922,000.  

The department's Robinson R-44 helicopter is outfitted with the latest in police aviation technology, including a heat sensing camera and is primarily used for patrol an searches.  The department aquired the R-44 helicopter in 2008.

The Huey helicopter is used for moving personnel and equipment.  Many of it's missions involve the SWAT team or marijuana eradication.  

The Merced County Sheriff keeps the unit's aircraft flying through various grants and federal funding, with little to no cost to the Merced County taxpayer.  

Arizona, Mesa Police Department Aviation Unit

The Mesa Arizona Police Department operates 3- MD 500E helicopters and 1- Cessna 172 Skyhawk fixed wing airplane. 

The Mesa Police aviation unit dates back to 1986 when the department aquired it's first fixed wing airplane.  The unit remained a fixed wing only unit until 1994 when the deparment aquired it's first two MD 500E helicopters through a lease program.  Eventually the city purchased the two helicopters and in 2003 added a 3rd MD 500E helicopter. 

Currently the aviation unit is staffed with 8 full time pilots all of whom are sworn Mesa Police Officers.  Each pilot also fulfills the roll of the Tactical Flight Officer when not assigned as the pilot.  Additionally there is a chief pilot, two part-time fixed-wing pilots, six part-time Tactical Flight Officers (all of whom are Mesa Police Officers), two mechanics, one secretary, and one sergeant assigned to the unit.

To be elligible for a transfer to the aviation unit officers must first complete 3 years as a patrol officer on the streets. 

The Mesa Police Aviation Unit is based at Falcon Field Airport in Mesa Az.

Mesa is a suburb of Phoenix Arizona with an estimated population of 452,000.

Alaska Department of Public Safety Aircraft Section

The Alaska Department of Public Safety Aircraft Section is not your typical Police Aviation Unit by any means. 

First the Alaska Department of Public Safety divides it's troopers into two categories, State Troopers and Wildlife Troopers.  Together the two divisions operate a whopping 43 state owned aircraft all of which fall under the responsibility of the "Aircraft Section."

The Aircraft Section is responsible for not only the maintenance of all state owned aircraft but also the recurrent training and check rides for all DPS pilots. 

Presently the Alaska DPS operates the following aircraft;

2- Cessna 208 fixed wing.

2- Beech B200 fixed wing airplanes.

1- Cessna 206.

22- Piper PA-18 aircraft.

12 Cessna 185 aircraft.

1- Eurocopter AS350 helicopter.

3- Robinson R44 helicopters.

With it's 586,000 square miles of rugged land mass, and 36,000 miles of shore line, coupled with few roads and remote law enforcement outpost, many Alaska Troopers must be proficient pilots simply to patrol their areas of responsibility.  

Perhaps you have caught a recent episode of "Alaska State Troopers" on the National Geographic Channel.

Visit the Police Helicopter Pilot.com picture gallery for more photos of Alaska State Troopers Helicopters.



Alabama, Jefferson County Sheriff's Aviation Unit

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, headquartered in Birmingham Alabama, operates two Bell OH58 helicopters.  The unit was first established on November 19th 2003 by Sheriff Mike Hale.  At the time Jefferson County was one of the largest metropolitan areas in the Country without aerial law enforcement capabilities.

In July of 2004 The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office took possession of two non flyable Bell OH58 helicopters from Fort Rucker through the Department Of Defense 1033 excess property to law enforcement agencies program. 

In 2005 the unit received $210,000 from the Department of Homeland Security and in early 2006 they received a $100,000 Technology Grant to upgrade the helicopter(s).  On May 3rd 3006 Pemco Aeroplex Inc. based at Birmingham International Airport, delivered "Star 1" to the department after a full external restoration. 

The primary mission of the Jefferson County Air Support Unit is to;

"Enhance county wide officer and public safety by providing effective aerial support to Jefferson County Law Enforcement Agencies and to enhance the effectiveness of federal, state, and local law enforcement units by providing airborne surveillance, drug eradication, observation and reporting of criminal activity."

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Aviation Unit is supported by approximately 25 Deputy Sheriff Reserve Volunteers. 

Alabama, Etowah County Sheriff's Aviation Unit

The Etowah County Sheriff's Office operates 1 Bell OH58 helicopter, and 1 Cessna 172 fixed wing aircraft.  The department took possession of the Bell Helicopter in January of 07, through the DOD.

According to the Etowah Sheriff's website, their aviation unit;

"Provides aerial support to the law enforcement mission of the ECSO. Consisting of a Bell OH-58 Helicopter and a C-172 Fixed wing airplane, pilots are able to quickly respond to remote areas of the county to assist in search and rescue, surveillance and other related law enforcement activities."

The Etowah County Sheriff's helicopter flies out of the Northeastern Alabama Regional Airport in Gadsden Al. 

Alabama, Dale County Sheriff's Office Aviation Unit

The Dale County Sheriff's Office has had an aviation unit since the 1980s.  In 2002 however they received their firs Bell OH58 helicopter from the US Department Of Defense.  The OH58 is the military version of the most popular civilian helicopter ever, the Bell Jet Ranger. 

The Dale County Sheriff's Aviation Unit has approximately 6 members, 2 of which are aircraft mechanics.  The unit operates a total of 3 Bell OH58s. 

According to the Dale County Sheriff's website, their primary mission is to "assist in search and rescue operations and counter-drug operations and is available to neighboring law enforcement agencies. The unit is also used to locate missing persons and aid in emergency situations."

Dale County Alabama is located in the south eastern part of the state just a short drive from both Florida and Georgia. 

Alabama Department Of Public Safety Aviation Unit

The Alabama Department of Public Savety Air Unit is based out of the Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM) in Montgomery Alabama.  According to the department's website the unit was first formed in 1973. 

"In 1973 the Department received a Cessna T-41 single engine aircraft through State Department of Civil Defense. In August 1974, the Department acquired two Bell 47 helicopters. Four more model 47's were added in 1975. The aviation Unit was officially formed in June of 1975. Through the years, troopers have utilized a variety of aircraft. All but four of the current aircraft are either government surplus or were confiscated in drug cases."

Every pilot in the aviation unit is a sworn State Trooper with a minimum of 3 years in the Highway Patrol Division before being qualified for transfer into the unit.  Also, each pilot must stay current and is qualified to fly all aircraft in inventory of which there are several different types and airframes. 

Presently the Alabama Department of Public Safety operates the following aircraft; 

7 Bell OH58, 1 Bell 206l, 1 Bell 407 helicopter, 3 Cessna 182 fixed wing, 1 Piper PA-31, 1 Beech B200 airplane. 

Alabama DPS Aviation Unit missions include marijuana eradication, narcotics surveillance, traffic speed enforcement, missing person or man hunts, prisoner transports, law enforcement related executive protection flights, photo, and investigative flights.