Law enforcement helicopters are well represented at Heli-Expo ‘13, and American Eurocopter machines, with several different helicopter models well suited to EMS operations (AS350 B2/B3 and EC130T2, EC135, EC145 and AS332 Super Puma) are easy to spot in the exhibit hall.
Ed Van Winkle, American Eurocopter’s sales manager for airborne law enforcement, explained, “Modern safety features, including energy-attenuating seats, glass cockpit displays and advanced hydraulics and Fadec systems complement the multi-mission capability of our helicopters that are destined for law enforcement agencies.”
A fine specimen of the company’s workhorse AS332L Super Puma is dressed in the colors of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD). Deputy sheriff Patrick McKernan flew it from the department’s Long Beach, Calif. base to Las Vegas on Thursday.
“We replaced our 50-year old Sea King fleet with Super Pumas,” explained McKernan. “This aircraft is primarily used for SAR. With 11 million residents in 4,200 square miles of land, 600 square miles of ocean, two islands and operational demands from sea level to 10,000-foot elevation, we need an aircraft capable of operating in all of those different environments.” The LASD operates a five-man crew on the Super Puma including two pilots and three medics, all of whom are SWAT team members, certified mountaineers and divers. They bring all of their required equipment with them.
“It’s quite a bit of gear, but we can launch directly from our base and put these people right on the problem through vertical insertion,” said McKernan.
The Austin, Texas, Police Department is looking forward to taking delivery of a new AS350B3e next month. The helicopter was acquired for tactical and transport missions, as well as water drop missions that will happen in partnership with local fire departments.
“One of the key considerations for choosing the AS350B3e was the versatility of the aircraft and its ability to support numerous types of missions. It can be reconfigured in as few as 30 minutes. That is critical for mission success,” said lieutenant Kurt Rothert, officer in command of Austin Police Department’s Air Support.
Last year American Eurocopter delivered 38 new EMS helicopters, and to date there are more than 630 EMS-configured Eurocopters operating in the U.S., of which 280 are operating with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, according to company sources.