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Safety: Twin-engine Huey helicopter joins local fleet

March 30, 2011

Staff Report

The Law Enforcement Aviation Coalition, Inc. (LEAC) has announced the addition of a fifth helicopter to the fleet of AIR-ONE Search & Rescue aircraft. The twin-engine Bell HH-1N “Huey” was obtained through the federal government’s surplus equipment program, which transfers useable items to law enforcement agencies at no charge.

The twin-engine HH-1N Huey joins one single-engine UH-1V Huey and three single-engine OH-58 Kiowa helicopters, all received by local law enforcement agencies through the military surplus program, at no cost to local taxpayers. The HH-1N is being stored in Rockford pending upgrades and specialized equipment. Once completed, the aircraft will be based in Kenosha, Wis., to serve the entire southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois region.

The Law Enforcement Aviation Coalition was formed in 2003 using a donated private helicopter to provide no-charge air support and search and rescue services to agencies throughout the region. LEAC now assists the agencies that have received military surplus helicopters by providing crew, training, fuel, parts, maintenance, hangar and all other expenses associated with refurbishment and operation of the helicopters. LEAC funding is raised through government grants and corporate donations.

“The addition of the twin-engine Huey takes our capabilities to the next level,” said Randal Olson, LEAC’s chief pilot. “This is only the second twin-engine Huey in the nation to be transferred to a local law enforcement agency. It came to our region largely due to the excellent reputation LEAC has established over the past eight years for being a professional aviation organization.

Twin-engine Hueys, originally built for the Marine Corps, are rarely transferred, and we are very pleased to have received this special aircraft. Having two engines, this helicopter gives us the ability to perform over water search and rescue operations. LEAC has the only two heavy-lift helicopters available in this region, outside of the military, and can offer quicker availability in the event of natural disasters or other emergencies.”

LEAC is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, supporting the helicopter operators in providing no-cost air support for search and rescue, law enforcement, fire service and counter-terrorism missions throughout the region. More information about LEAC and the AIR-ONE helicopter program is available online at airsupport.org.

From the March 30-April 5, 2011 issue



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