The Pasadena Police Department (PPD) in southern Calif. has placed an order for an MD-500E from MD Helicopters (MDHI) of Mesa, Ariz. It is the first aircraft in a plan to purchase four of the four-seat, single-engine, light turbine helicopters.
The MD-500E will come with MDHI’s new, four-bladed tail rotor that reduces the aircraft’s noise signature by 50 percent, which brings it close to the sound levels of MDHI’s MD- 520N "NOTAR." It is also slated to be equipped with a FLIR Systems forward-looking infrared sensor, Night Sun SX-16 searchlight, Technisonic TDFM 7000 radio suite and other airborne mission equipment.
PPD’s helicopter program began in 1969, making it one of the oldest in the country. It currently operates a pair of Enstrom F28Fs, two civilianized Bell OH-58s and one Bell 206B JetRanger.
The 300-officer police department staffs the helicopter unit with eight pilots, four tactical flight officers and three mechanics. Airborne patrols cover the 22-sq-mi city of Pasadena, its 150,000 residents, NASA’s sprawling Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Rose Bowl stadium.