2003-10-24 / Community

NYPD Aviation Shows Off New $9.8 Million Jewel

By Brian Magoolaghan
NYPD Aviation Shows Off New $9.8 Million Jewel

NYPD Aviation Shows Off New $9.8 Million Jewel


Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and top aviation unit officers answer questions about the hi-tec crime fighting helicopter.Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and top aviation unit officers answer questions about the hi-tec crime fighting helicopter.

By Brian Magoolaghan

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly unveiled the aviation unit’s new $9.8 million helicopter at Floyd Bennett Field this week.

The modified Bell 412EP Helicopter, the most advanced in use by any police force, is the result of a U.S. Department of Justice grant.

Kelly said the versatile helicopter will be used for fighting "conventional" crime, search and rescue operations, and will "play a key role in anti-terrorism efforts."


The NYPD Aviation Unit’s new Bell 412EP Helicopter was unveiled at Floyd Bennett Field, this week.The NYPD Aviation Unit’s new Bell 412EP Helicopter was unveiled at Floyd Bennett Field, this week.

Among its impressive features is an advanced photo and video system that is capable of sending still pictures and video to headquarters. The helicopter is equipped with microwave technology that can send downloads back home, or to a handheld device on the ground. Kelly said the cameras could take a clear picture of a license plate from 1,000 feet away, or pick up the catcher’s signals at Yankee Stadium.

The chopper has a 600-pound-test hoist that can be used to rescue people in difficult-to-reach locations, and a search light with infared. The 412EP also has an advanced Global Positioning System (GPS) to aid in navagation, and a dual digital automatic flight control system (autopilot) that the pilot can use to plot automatic approaches. The system can also keep the helicopter hovering over a specific spot.

There are even features that top aviation officers would not elaborate on.

The NYPD has been in possession of the helicopter since September 11, of this year. Since then, aviation unit pilots have been training on their new 412EP.

"The 412 is a workhorse that has been around for years….It just gets up and goes to work every day," said Michael Cox, a representative for Bell, the company that makes the helicopter. The 412EP is very reliable, and can "carry a lot of folks or equipment" Cox said. With its wide-opening doors, a forklift can be used to load as much as two tons of cargo. It is known for durability, spaciousness, and its powerful engines, he said.

Kelly cited a late September aviation unit rescue of a man who stabbed himself and was airlifted to a hospital as the kind of mission the 412EP could easily assist in.

The NYPD Aviation Unit is one of the busiest units in the department and flies about 9,000 missions per year, Kelly said.


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