Columbus Police Department Helicopter Unit Recognized For 45 Years Of Dedicated Service; 76,000 Flight Hours In MDhi-Brand Aircraft

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Ashley Sanchez


MDHI’s exclusive E-to-F model conversion program integral in the revitalization of the CPD Helicopter Unit; the upgraded, six-aircraft fleet delivers improved overall performance and expanded operational range

MD Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI) congratulates the Columbus (Ohio) Police Department (CPD) Helicopter Unit on 45 years of exemplary service.

The Columbus Police Department acquired their first two (2) of what would become six (6) E-model helicopters in 1997. Over the past 20 years these aircraft have flown 16-hours a day, 7-days a week, logging nearly 5,000 hours per year. Statistically, this unit is responsible for over 500 felony and misdemeanor arrests annually.

“We are proud to celebrate this achievement with the Columbus Police Department Helicopter Unit,” said Lynn Tilton, Chief Executive Officer for MD Helicopters, Inc. “Part of our law enforcement family for nearly half of their 45-years of operation, we are honored to have played a role in their impressive history, and are grateful for their ongoing commitment to the MD 500-series helicopter as an integral part of their law enforcement unit.”

Today, with their fleet of certified MD 530F-model helicopters, the CPD Helicopter Unit – the second largest of all-MD municipal law enforcement agencies in the United States – celebrates more than 76,000 flight hours of over watch; supporting ground patrol officers in the execution of suspect searches and apprehensions, vehicular pursuits, and delivering aid to other law enforcement agencies throughout Central Ohio.

Fleet Upgrade

The Columbus Police Department began the revitalization of their Helicopter Unit in 2015, when the first four (4) of their MD 500E-model helicopters were upgraded to F-model (369FF) aircraft through MD Helicopters’ E-to-F conversion program. The FAA-approved factory recertification is an exclusive offering to MD Helicopters, delivering enhancements that increase the hot-and-high performance capability of the aircraft, as well as improve the operational range and flight time.

CPD’s final two MD 500E-aircraft completed inspection, overhaul, and re-recertification at MDHI’s Mesa, Arizona headquarters this summer, and were returned to service last month.

“Our FAA-approved E-to-F conversion program has been an outstanding way for operators to upgrade from their proven E-model aircraft to a factory-converted, FAA-certified F-model, returning to service more capable than ever before” said Nick Nenadovic, Vice President Aftermarket and Customer Support for MD Helicopters, Inc. “Particularly in law enforcement operations, we know these aircraft provide an essential level of over watch to both the officers and citizens below. We couldn’t be more proud of CPD’s Helicopter Unit and the work they do, and we look forward to continuing our long-standing relationship with them for decades to come.”

More than 76,000 Fleet Flight Hours

The exceptional construction and reliability of MD Helicopters’ 500-series airframe combined with meticulous care and maintenance performed by CPD’s dedicated technicians have helped the 21-person Aviation Unit amass an impressive 76,000 flight hours over the past 20 years. First on scene nearly 40% of the time, the Columbus Police Helicopter Unit has played a critical role in making Columbus and its surrounding communities safe.  The city has seen a 50% reduction in overall street crimes and a 30% reduction in burglaries thanks, in large part, to the always felt presence of CPD’s ‘eye in the sky’.

“Since inception, the Helicopter Unit has been instrumental in our efforts to ensure the safety of both our officers on the ground and citizens throughout Central Ohio,” said Lieutenant Jack Harris, Columbus Police Department Aviation Section. “These aircraft are essential members of our team. They are worked extremely hard, and it takes an army of extremely hardworking and talented officers and civilian staff to ensure each one is ready to deploy when the call comes in.”

“It is truly an honor to know our aircraft have and will continue to play a significant role in improving the overall productivity of the Columbus Police Department and protecting the citizens of the communities they serve,” Tilton concludes. “I am proud to celebrate this milestone achievement with you. Congratulations and thank you for your service. I look forward to many more years working together to support you as you protect and serve the citizens of Columbus and surrounding areas.”

Media Inquiries

Ashley Sanchez

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