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Monday, September 1, 2008

Rotorcraft Report: North Carolina County Takes New R44

ALEA 2008

Sheriff Sidney Causey of New Hanover County, N.C. and several of his deputies traveled to the ALEA Conference in Houston to take delivery of a new R44 Raven 2 police helicopter from Kurt Robinson of Robinson Helicopter. The shiny, all-black aircraft is the Sheriff’s Office’s first, and came equipped with a forward-looking infrared sensor, searchlight and moving map system.

“For our mission, we thought it was the best for us,” said Causey of the $680,000 aircraft, which was on static display in ALEA’s exhibition hall (and also appeared on the July cover of Rotor & Wing. “You can thank the drug dealers we arrested, because we paid for it with the money we confiscated from them.”

Prior to receiving Raven 2, the sheriff’s office leased a private R44 from Lt. Scott Gerow, a sheriff’s deputy, who flew it on an as-needed basis. After a year of using his non-police equipped helicopter, the county saw the value of an airborne platform and moved to purchase a fully equipped one, keeping Gerow as the pilot and using other deputies as tactical flight officers.

New Hanover County is in southeastern North Carolina and includes the City of Wilmington. The helicopter unit’s seal includes silhouettes of retired WWII battleship USS North Carolina, which is moored in Wilmington, and the nuclear attack submarine of the same name, which was commissioned there in May.

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