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Monday, June 1, 2009

Rotorcraft Report: Louisville Helo On the Ropes

PUBLIC SERVICE | POLICE

Members of the Louisville, Ky. Police Department are wondering if their one remaining helicopter will stay in service. The MD520N, known as Air Unit 20, was recently returned to duty after spending two years being repaired. A rollover accident destroyed its rotor system and seriously damaged its fuselage.

"We have 700,000 residents and 370 square miles to cover," said Lt. Rich Sohan, commander of the LMPD’s air support unit. "We get up to 750,000 people at our local air show and another 250,000 at the Kentucky Derby. We need an air support unit to do our job." While Air Unit 20 was in the shop, the LMPD had to request air support from the Kentucky National Guard or state police.

Air Unit 20 may have to be sold due to tight municipal budgets. The LMPD’s other MD520N, Air Unit 10, has already been sold for the same reason.

"I don’t know if there has been a decision yet; that’s something made by levels of command above me," said Lt. Sohan. "But if Air Unit 20 is sold, its loss will certainly be detrimental to the LMPD’s ability to patrol the city and protect the city. I just hope it doesn’t come to that."

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