Airbus had partially assembled AS350B2 and AS350B3 AStar helicopters in Columbus, Mississippi, since 2005. Production of the H125 (formerly AS350 B3e) on the full final assembly line began late last year. The OSHP aircraft is the first H125 produced from the Columbus assembly line and certified by the FAA.
The H125 assembly line is part of Airbus’s 40-acre Mississippi plant that also produces the UH-72A Lakota for the U.S. Army, the military variant of the H145. To date, the plant has delivered more than 340 Lakotas. The H125 is powered by a single Turbomeca Arriel 2D engine and features dual hydraulics, dual-channel engine Fadec, 30-minute takeoff power and an advanced glass cockpit.
The primary mission of The Ohio State Highway Patrol pilots is enforcement of traffic safety laws and assisting motorists. The OSHP also conducts aerial searches using Foward Looking Infared Radar (FLIR) equipment, photo missions, marijuana location and eradication missions, enforcement of school bus and railroad crossing violations, emergency transportation, and technical service for aircraft crash investigations and enforcement of laws governing air traffic. OSHP also conducts Operation TRIAD missions, which stands for Targeting Reckless, Intimidating, and Aggressive Drivers – where “road rage” and aggressive driving types of violations are occurring; and concentrated following too closely enforcement details. OSHP offers its services to other law enforcement agencies whenever possible.
Patrol pilots can assist agencies with access to any area where “birds eye view” photographs would help document a scene for evidence or prosecution purposes. Aerial photographs help better document crime and crash scenes, and can give any type of investigation another documentation perspective.
The value of traffic enforcement from the air is pilots are essentially taking a speed evaluation of a vehicle over an entire mile, which is different than the officer on the ground using a laser and getting a speed at a specific moment in time, or a short tracking period through radar. Also, observing a vehicle over a mile distance allows the pilot to pick out the more severe or aggressive driving violations.
The Ohio State Highway patrol also utilizes a Cessna Caravan, which is equipped with a state of the art surveillance package, allowing covert day or night surveillance of persons or objects on the ground. Along with the ability to view and record this information, the technology provides the opportunity to microwave down-link images digitally to one or multiple ground-based receivers, allowing on-scene commanders to make tactical decisions based upon real time information. The surveillance package and camera on the Caravan aircraft allows pilots to perform surveillance operations up to an altitude of 9,000 feet.The Caravan is instrumental in the state’s ongoing homeland security efforts, including a focused initiative intended to enhance northern border security.