Keeping Arizona skies safe

Fleet of 5 AS350B3s, 3 A119s, 1 A109 and 1 PC12 NG help Phoenix Police Dept maintain law and order.


Chief Pilot Airplane Ops Andrew Eagleton looks on as Unit Comman­der Lieut Pat Tortorici describes the recruit selection and training program.

Turbine helicopters have an abundance of power and mechanical simplicity. One result of this, says Tilford, is a dramatic improvement in safety statistics in the airborne law enforcement community.

"The tremendous increases in the technology of safety programs are a big asset to the aviation community, and we've applied them to ensure we're as safe as humanly possible," Tilford continues.

"Every member of the Air Support Unit has their own personal stake in not only their own safety but that of their co-workers—whether they're maintainers charged with that extra level of personal care in completing their maintenance tasks carefully, or aircrews who are constantly renewed in their commitment to fly within safe limits, regardless of the urgency of the mission."

Future plans

Tortorici says, "We're very appreciative of the tremendous support the unit gets, not only from our sister units within the department, but from the City Council and the public," he said.

"With the acquisition of the PC12 NG, we've completed a long path of growth in technology and capability. Now we're going to concentrate on refining our procedures and tactics so that we continue to provide the best support to our customers."

He continues, "We're constantly aware of the tight economic climate we're operating in. Learning how to operate within its constraints, we'll continue to deliver the level of service that's expected of us."

Woody McClendon flies jets and helicopters and has contributed to Professional Pilot for many years.


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