Maryland State police officials spent Sept. 9 trying to reassure critics in the legislature that the state’s air ambulance system is in capable hands, according to The Baltimore Sun.
A recent Office of Legislative Audits review said about a third of the troopers’ aging Eurocopter AS365s were out of service for 51 days in the past fiscal year and the aviation unit did not track maintenance needs and cost per flight, keep up-to-date repair manuals, or comply with all federal and manufacturer repair orders, The Sun said. The 12-helicopter fleet has logged nearly 90,000 flight hours since 1989 without a major accident, injury or fatality.
The troopers are studying whether to upgrade their current aircraft or purchase a new fleet, according to Maj. A. J. McAndrew, commander of the state police Aviation Command.
The $33.6 million would help to upgrade or replace some of aviation command’s fleet. Nine of the 12 Dauphins are nearing the end of two decades and are used to fly aerial law enforcement, search and rescue, homeland security and disaster assessment missions.
The troopers are the only police department in the country flying the Dauphin. The are responsible for more than 12,000 sq mi. with a population of more than five million. Most of their Dauphins have already been upgraded twice since being purchased.