The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office in Tampa, Florida has contracted Metro Aviation to retrofit its H125 helicopter. “This Airbus H125 aircraft and Metro Aviation's designed and installed mission package represents a significant increase in capabilities for our unit and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office,” says chief pilot Jason Doyle. “The staff at Metro took our mission and equipment needs and provided a well laid out, clean, streamlined installation.
Metro configured the helicopter at its Shreveport-based completion centre with equipment including a Goodrich electric-powered rescue hoist, LoJack system integration for the recovery of stolen vehicles and NVG compatible avionics. The Hillsborough team worked with Metro experts to build a configuration suitable for conducting surveillance, hoist operations and SAR missions.
“During the design and installation process, the staff demonstrated their expertise in the helicopter completion industry all while being thorough, responsive, courteous and professional,” Doyle adds.
The aircraft joins a fleet of four Airbus AS350B2s and a Cessna 208 Caravan.
Metro Aviation has also delivered the first single/dual pilot instrument flight rules-capable Airbus EC145e to GundersenAIR in La Crosse, Wisconsin. “Having IFR capabilities assures that we are providing our crews and our patients with the utmost safety and technology and we are grateful to Metro for the painstaking and meticulous work it has done to develop the three-axis autopilot for our new EC145e,” comments programme director Stephanie Hill.
The certification, an IFR HeliSAS STC and TSO, marks the first of its kind for the EC145e. With support from Metro Aviation, Genesys AeroSystems and S-TEC established an STC for the aircraft in February 2019. The IFR platform incorporates the latest HeliSAS/EFIS technology, including the Genesys AeroSystems IDU-650 EFIS and a three-axis autopilot. For the GundersenAIR programme, this translates to expanded service capabilities in the western Wisconsin region.
“The road to this new technology has not been quick or easy, but we are enthusiastic about expanding the customer base for this aircraft,” says Metro MD Milton Geltz. “We placed the first EC145e in service in July 2016 and have successfully operated this airframe as a VFR ship since then. We are excited about introducing it in Wisconsin with IFR capabilities.”
Beyond the added IFR features, the configuration includes Metro’s traditional EMS package, which was installed at its Shreveport-based completion centre. Metro Aviation expects the full completion and purchase to be finalised in March 2019 and it will operate the aircraft once in service.