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News > Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Departments Purchases AS350

Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Departments Purchases AS350

June 29, 2006

The sheriff’s department of Bernalillo County, New Mexico has purchased an AS350 B3. The need for an additional helicopter occurred when one of their existing aircraft was shot down by a sniper in August of 2005. The occupants walked away, but one of the pilots was shot in the leg and the helicopter was a total loss.  
“After the crash, we needed a utility ship, for the diverse missions that the Air Support Unit is tasked with,” said David Linthicum, chief deputy of the department. “We looked at several, but our pilots felt the B3 outperformed the others, after a head-to head evaluation.” 
Bernalillo County is just over 1,169 square miles, with a population of 650,000 in the metropolitan area. It’s a diverse region that includes desert, rivers, national forests and mountains, altitude variances from 5,200 to 10,500 feet, and high temperatures during the summer months. 
The helicopter will be used for patrol and a wide range of support functions, including mountain search and rescue, firefighting, and S.W.A.T. The county has had an air unit for seven years, which consists of 13 people, including tactical, mechanical, two staff pilots and five contract pilots. The department currently has just one other helicopter.  
The AS350 B3 is a 6-7 seat, high performance aircraft equipped to perform a wide variety of law enforcement missions: surveillance, command and control, search and rescue, transport, border patrol and aerial support to ground operations. It’s able to perform in high and hot environment and is capable of high pursuit speeds and offers excellent maneuverability, thereby increasing response times.
About American Eurocopter  
American Eurocopter Corp. is the American subsidiary of Eurocopter, the largest helicopter manufacturer in the world, and EADS North America, the North American operations of EADS, the second largest aerospace and defense company in the world. American Eurocopter builds, markets, sells and supports the broadest range of civil and para-public helicopters offered by any manufacturer. The product line represents the most cost-effective, technologically advanced helicopters, ranging from light single to heavy twin, serving all markets and missions.  
American Eurocopter’s headquarters and main facility are in Grand Prairie, Texas, with a manufacturing facility in Columbus, Mississippi. For more information: (972) 641-0000 or visit our website at 

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