The renewed Aviation Unit of the New York Police Department (NYPD) is now on full strength. Bell Helicopter delivered the fourth and final Bell 429 on 16 July 2015, which will join the fleet that also includes a Bell 407GX (training) and two Bell 412EPs.
In 1948 the NYPD was the very first to use a Bell helicopter – a model 47 – as part of an airborne law enforcement team. The new Bell 429s replace the AgustaWestland A119s the NYPD operated for a while in the light helicopter role. The new chopper has more cabin space, a flat floor and able to seat up to seven passengers and one pilot.
They have better search capabilities with Trakkabeam searchlight, a EO/IR camera and can be deployed as air ambulance thanks to the hoist installed. Moreover, it is faster and has a better range than the retired AgustaWestland choppers, plus it has a fully-integrated glass cockpit and WAAS navigation / GPS to enhance the pilot’s situational awareness.
The Bells will be deployed mainly for surveillance, search for suspects, anti-terrorism and insertion of police forces. The Bell 412EPs the NYPD is flying are primarily tasked with air search and rescue at sea and standard fly with one or two divers on board. The 412EPs systems include radiation detection sensors for the anti-terrorism role and have flotation devices. None of the NYPD choppers are armed, but a select number of police officers and police snipers are trained to fire with rifles from the cabin area up to the Barret .50 heavy-caliber gun.
The NYPD Aviation Unit is based at former US Coast Guard station Floyd Bennet Field and has a personnel strength of about 70 officers, including crew and maintenance personnel.
Sources: Bell Helicopter / NYPD
Featured image: The NYPD and Bell clearly happy with the transfer of the first of four Bell 429s on 29 July (Image © Bell Helicopters)