In approximately a month, the U. S. Park Police Aviation Unit will take possession of a newer Bell 412 helicopter that will replace the aging Eagle 2 helicopter. Eagle 2 has
over 9,800 flight hours, which is approximately 4,800 hours past DOI replacement regulations. The replacement Bell 412 helicopter has approximately 2500 flight hours. The replacement helicopter is currently on its way to Summit Aviation in Middletown, Delaware to be reconfigured for the U. S. Park Police mission. Additionally, we have received unconfirmed information that the National Park Service will be seeking appropriations in FY’ 2018 to purchase a new Bell 412 replacement aircraft for Eagle 1, that has over 7,000 flight hours. The acquisition of this newer aircraft is a giant step forward for safety, reliability and mission effectiveness.
The event that sparked National Park Service action on this long-ignored problem was a visit by Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) to the U. S. Park Police Aviation Unit on January 11, 2016. During the visit Congresswoman McCollum was briefed by the pilots on the needs of the unit. Rep. McCollum made the following statement concerning the newer aircraft’s arrival and expressing her strong support for U. S. Park Police officers:
“The U.S. Park Police’s Aviation Unit provides vital services for our nation’s capital region– criminal searches, medical evacuations, air support at public gatherings, escorts for the President, and anti-terrorism missions. I will continue to use my position as Ranking Member on the Interior-Environment Appropriations subcommittee to ensure the men and women of the USPP have the equipment they need to do their jobs and keep our residents and visitors safe. To that end, I’m pleased that the National Park Service is pursuing the purchase of a newer helicopter.”
The USPP FOP is extremely grateful for the generous support of Congresswoman McCollum.