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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Helicopter Makers Vie for Seattle-Area Sheriff’s Business

The King County, Wash. Sheriff’s Office has completed fly-offs of the Eurocopter AS350B3 and Bell Helicopter 407 and will also evaluate AgustaWestland’s A119 Koala as a possible replacement or supplemental aircraft for its five-helicopter fleet. The sheriff’s aviation unit flies three surplus U.S. Army/Bell OH-58s, a surplus UH-1H and a Bell 206 used solely for training. The unit’s flying time is expected to increase dramatically. It had been flying about 1,000 hr. a year, but last year the sheriff’s office reduced the fees it charges neighboring jurisdictions for helicopter support, offering it free in cases of serious, in-progress calls. More

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