Thursday, July 29, 2010

Safe Streets Acts

More and more police departments were getting helicopters to be used in law enforcement.  What a tool to have when fighting crime.  The federal government was funding part of these programs through what was called, Safe Streets Acts.  Of course some cities already had helicopters, but many larger cities like Kansas City, MO did not.
Hughes Aircraft brought in two of their helicopters to be used for a trial period with the police department.  Comet Aviation contracted to get the maintenance support and also provide pilots.  Kansas City was a perfect environment for this trial test.  There is nothing like playing cops and robbers, when you have a helicopter.                                                   

Also when you have a city that provides you with a variety of crimes to try out your new hardware.  Needless to say, the trial test was a complete success and Kansas City elected to participate in the purchasing of three new helicopters.  Hughes Aircraft came to me and offered me a job training police department pilots.  I accepted the offer, but then Hughes decided to contract a new company known as World Associates to do the training.  I became the chief pilot for this new company.  My very first assignment was to train six pilots for Kansas City.  The training was  initially started in Long Beach, CA and when the newly purchased helicopters were completed at the factory in California, the new pilots would fly them back to Kansas City.  This was done with my supervision and one other flight instructor.  One of the six policeman had some flight experience, but the other five did not. One of the pilots had never flown in anything but the airplane that flew him to California.  So I really had my work cut out for me.  This was not an impossible task, but a very difficult one.  A ground school was set up for the morning hours and in the afternoon we did flight training.  It was our goal to get all six pilots licensed as Private Pilots in approximately six weeks.  The training was being done at a place called, Southland Helicopters.  A hotel within walking distance housed the six pilots and two flight instructors.  We became really good friends and our days were very long.  It seemed like the training never stopped.  Even after hours, we would talk about problems that might of happened during the day. More on this post later...............................

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