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LEAs 'Creep' Toward Twin-Engine Helicopters

Bell Helicopter executive says agencies looking to maximize a craft's available missions are slowing beginning to opt for twin- or multi-engine aircraft.

October 12, 2010  |  by

The U.S. Park Police use a Bell 412 twin-engine helicopter for airborne patrol and other law enforcement duties. Photo courtesy of Bell Helicopter.

Law enforcement agencies looking to maximize their airborne helicopter units are slowly moving toward twin- and multi-engine craft that offer greater flexibility of use for a variety of units, a Bell Helicopter executive tells POLICE Magazine.

But American law enforcement agencies, unlike their European counterparts, haven't exclusively shifted away from single-engine craft, Larry Roberts, a Bell senior vice president, told POLICE on Tuesday.

"We have started to notice a slow interest and transition into twins for their ability to perform a multi-mission purpose," Roberts said. "That translates to first responders [wanting the craft for missions] such as tactical insertion, search and rescue, command and control, and other roles in LE agencies. We're seeing a slow creep into twins although it's not going to be like Europe, which is light-twin exclusively."

Roberts spoke to POLICE via teleconference on Tuesday from the 2010 Air Medical Transport Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Bell Helicopter announced it has sold 32 helicopters at the show mostly for medical evacuation. For law enforcement, the company offers two twin- or multi-engine helicopters — the 412 and 429. It's single-engine craft are the 206L4 and 407.

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