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Thu, Sep 14, 2006

400th EC120 Delivered To Sacramento County Sheriff's Department

Helo's Registration Honors Fallen Officers

Aero-News learned this week the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department (SCSD) has taken delivery of a new American Eurocopter EC120 -- one that, in addition to serving the community, will also serve as a living tribute for two officers who lost their lives in a 2005 accident.

"We chose another EC120 because we are pleased with its performance, crew comfort, quiet Fenestron tail, and overall suitability to our missions," said Lt. Fred Links, commander of the SCSD's Air Support Bureau. "We also realized that having a uniform fleet is the best way to juggle our operational and maintenance requirements, and since we have gone this far with the EC120, it made sense to stick with it."

The registration of the SCSD's new 'Star 8' helicopter -– 288JK -– also serves as a living tribute to the Department's fallen officers, SCSD Deputies Joseph Kievernagel and Kevin Blount. As Aero-News reported, the two officers were killed when their EC120 suffered catastrophic engine failure, and impacted a hillside July 21, 2005.

"Normally, we register our aircraft in sequence, so that Star 5 was registered as 255SD (above) -– "SD' for 'Sheriff's Department' -- Star 6 was 266SD, and so forth," said Lt. Links. "However, we asked and received permission to register our new Star 8 as 288JK; JK standing for Joe and Kevin. It allows us to say that Joe and Kevin (shown at right) are onboard for every flight."

The department's new EC120 is the 400th helicopter delivered to a customer, since the type's introduction to the market in 1998.

With four helicopters in its roster, the SCSD Air Support Bureau is now fully equipped to conduct patrols in concert with local police and Homeland Defense personnel, and to provide fast response in time-critical missions such as locating missing children. Thanks to the mobility of this unit, the average response time for the Air Support Unit is an impressive two minutes.

Able to carry a pilot and four passengers, the single-engine EC120 equipped with a Turbomeca ARRIUS 2F turbine engine -- allowing the EC120 to achieve a fast cruise speed of 122 kts, and operate in a wide range of temperature and weather conditions. Today, EC120s are performing air support duties for police departments around the world.

American Eurocopter is the American subsidiary of Eurocopter, the largest helicopter manufacturer in the world, and EADS North America, the North American operations of EADS, the second largest aerospace and defense company in the world.

FMI: www.sacsheriff.com, www.eurocopterusa.com

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