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: AS350

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.

Arizona, Phoenix Police Department Air Support Unit

Phoenix Police Agusta A119 patrol helicopter, photo wikipedia.orgThe Phoenix Police Air Support Unit was first formed in 1973 with two Schweizer 300C piston powered helicopters and a single 172 Cessna airplane.  Initially the unit operated out of the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. 

In the years that followed the Phoenix Air Support underwent many changes and continued to grow in size.  By 1979 the unit was operating a total of 5 Hughes (MD) 500D model helicopters with 10 officers and had moved into a new facility at Deer Valley Airport.  By 1991 the unit had moved on to a fleet of 7 MD 520N (Notar) turbine powered helicopters and had staff of 23 officers.  But the Phoenix Police Aviation Unit didn't stop there. 

Today the Phoenix Police Department owns and operates a total of 8 helicopter and fixed wing aircraft to include;  3- Eurocopter AS350 helicopters, 3- Agusta A119, 1- Agusta A109 (twin turbine engines), 1- Cessna 182 and 2- Cessna 182s.  There are a total of 28 officers currently assigned to the unit.  The unit currently flies about 8,000 hours a year, and has helicopters and crews available to respond to calls on a 24/7 basis.

The Phoenix Police Air Support Unit conducts fire and rescue training in conjunction with the Phoenix Fire Department.  Senior members of the unit train to deliver water on fires through the use of Bambi Buckets. 

All members of the Phoenix Air Support Unit are sworn police officers with a minimum of three years experience on the streets.  The selection process to become part of the Aviation Unit is very competitive. 

The City of Phoenix is home to approximately 1.5 million people and is the 5th most populous city in the U.S.