GPD helicopter relaunches after engine repair

By on March 20th, 2013
Officers gathered for a ceremonial takeoff Tuesday to make sure the helicopter was running smoothly and fit for flight.

Missy Perez / WUFT News

Officers gathered for a ceremonial takeoff Tuesday to make sure the helicopter was running smoothly and fit for flight.

Gainesville Police Department launched its helicopter back in the air Tuesday after a 15-month hiatus.

Helicopter N911GV underwent repairs in a factory center in Arizona after an in-flight engine failure in December 2011.

While it awaited the helicopter’s repair, GPD used helicopters from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, with which it has a joint aviation unit. Officer Ben Tobias, GPD spokesman, said having the helicopter back allows the department to not have to rely on the Sheriff’s Office for their aircraft.

“For us, it’s a morale boost,” Tobias said. “Even though it’s a joint aviation unit … the different helicopters still have different agency markings on it. So to have ours back, where it says Gainesville Police Department on it, it’s a great thing for the pilot out here. It’s a great thing for all the GP personnel to be able to use the helicopter.”

People do not need to worry about the helicopters being used as surveillance,” Tobias said, because their technology cannot see farther than the human eye. They will be used only for chases and fighting crime.

Laura Foreman wrote this story online.

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