By Staff Writer | June 1, 2008
PUBLIC SERVICE | POLICE
The city of Edmonton, Alberta has authorized the purchase of a second helicopter for its police department. Already dubbed Air 2 by Police Chief Mike Boyd, the $1.6 million Eurocopter EC120 will provide much needed relief for the high-time EC120 already serving the city.
Inspector Neil Dubord reported that the Air 1 flew 1,150 hr in 2007, which he claimed was more than any similar police helicopter in the world. Total time on the airframe is so high, it spends more time down for maintenance than ever before, leaving the city without an airborne patrol platform.
"We can’t continue to sustain this," Dubord told the city commission. He said that by 2011, Air 1 will need to be grounded for about three months while major inspection work is done. At its current rate of use, he said, it could face retirement by 2017. Buying a second helicopter as soon as possible would give city police something to fly when the older aircraft is down for maintenance, and provide additional support when both are operational.
According to police department statistics, less than 2 percent of vehicle pursuits that include the helicopter end in a collision, and nearly every one results in apprehension of a suspect. The city said it put a $150,000 deposit on the new helicopter and looks for delivery late next year.