State Police Air Wing has provided the Commonwealth and its network of first responders with airborne support for over three decades. It is the largest and most comprehensive full time public safety aviation unit in New England. Aircrews stand ready to respond from three strategically located Air Bases within the state 365 days a year.
The Massachusetts State Police Air Wing responds to more than 1900 mission requests annually and is one of the Commonwealth's most versatile assets. Aircrews are routinely called on to work in collaboration with state and local incident commanders to search for wanted, missing, or endangered persons, to conduct airborne incident and scene assessment, aerial photography, or investigative support and surveillance. Utilizing specialized onboard equipment the aircrew can provide on-scene incident commanders with real time video imagery and a Common Operating Picture. Because of this capability, the Air Wing is an almost constant presence over any large public gathering, disaster response, technical rescue, or tactical incident. Electronic tracking equipment makes the aircraft a key player in the recovery of stolen vehicles and when responding to emergency locator transmitters (ELT) from downed aircraft or individuals in distress.
The Massachusetts State Police Air Wing plans extensively with Federal, State, and Local agencies to integrate the interoperable capabilities of the aircraft into the State's Homeland Security initiatives. One such initiative is the preparation for aircraft to assist in the rapid transport of priority assets and materials between locations within the New England area, a critical function in the event of a real world disaster or incident response. Aircrews routinely conduct overflight patrols to ensure the security of the Commonwealth's infrastructure and critical resources when not directly engaged in the support of a specific event.
The Massachusetts State Police Air Wing maintains a fleet of five turbine helicopters and one fixed wing aircraft. The primary aircraft is the Eurocopter AS-355N Twinstar, a twin engine, multipurpose helicopter that possesses a reconfigurable cabin design, redundant hydraulic & electrical systems, and an external cargo hook. Each of these aircraft are also equipped with Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) camera system, GPS synchronized mapping, interoperable communications equipment, and a digital video downlink system that together creates a versatile aerial platform.
Crews for the Air Wing are selected from within the sworn ranks of the Massachusetts State Police. This tightly knit team has the experience and expertise as diverse at the missions they are called on to perform. Presently, the unit consists of approximately 30 pilots and tactical flight officers. The aircraft are stationed at three strategic airbases through out the state. In-flight each aircraft has a minimum crew of two, one Aircraft Commander (pilot) and at least one Tactical Flight Officer (TFO). Each crew member is assigned specific duties; however all crew can pilot the aircraft in the event of an emergency. An additional TFO may be added for particularly difficult missions.
Each crew member is equipped with nomex flight gear, helmet and personal survival vest with a flotation collar, integrated load bearing harness, emergency breathing device, and is trained in the use of NVG (night vision goggles).
Flying greater than 2000 flight hours annually requires the expertise of a four dedicated civilian technicians that comprise the unit's maintenance staff. These outstanding support team members are the unsung heroes of the unit that keep the fleet of aircraft mission ready and capable to respond whenever the need arises.
Lieutenant Robert D. Smith, Unit Commander
255 Padgette StreetChicopee , MA 01022
|State Police Dispatch||508-820-2121||24 hours|
|Lawrence Air Base||978-686-9464||fax: 978-685-7510|
|Plymouth Air Base||508-988-7100||fax: 508-866-6853|
|Westover Air Base||413-378-1200||fax: 413-378-1301|