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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.


MISSION 

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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.

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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.

 


AIRCRAFT

The Massachusetts State Police Air Wing maintains a fleet of five turbine helicopters and one fixed wing aircraft. The primary duty aircraft is the Eurocopter EC-135T2+, a twin engine, multipurpose helicopter that possesses modern technology and avionics, a reconfigurable cabin design, redundant hydraulic & electrical systems, and instrument flight capabilities. Each of these aircraft are equipped with Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) camera systems, GPS synchronized mapping, interoperable communications equipment, and a digital video downlink system that coupled together creates a versatile aerial platform. The EC-135 is a state-of-the-art modern helicopter, and is replacing the unit's older AS-355N TwinStars. One TwinStar remains in service, but is expected to be replaced during 2014. The Air Wing began transitioning to twin engine aircraft in 1999 with the arrival of the TwinStars, which have performed superbly over the past fifteen years. But their age and older generation equipment have become obsolete, requiring a conversion, which is currently underway, to replace the aging TwinStars with the more modern EC-135T2+. The single engine AS-350BA (AStar) is used primarily for training and as a back-up aircraft. The fixed wing aircraft is a Piper Saratoga (PA-32), and is used primarily for longer distance transports and instrument training.

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PERSONNEL

 

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Crews for the Air Wing are selected from within the sworn ranks of the Massachusetts State Police. This tightly knit team has experience and expertise as diverse as the missions the Air Wing is called on to perform. Presently, the unit consists of 28 sworn and civilian personnel, commanded by two Lieutenants, and three Sergeants. There are 12 rated pilots, 10 Tactical Flight Officers, four civilian airframe and powerplant mechanics, and one civilian administrative assistant. The aircraft are stationed at three strategic Air Bases throughout the Commonwealth, to facilitate rapid response and deployment to mission requests. While deployed on a mission, each air crew consists of a minimum of two Troopers, one performing as the Aircraft Commander (pilot) and at least one performing as the Tactical Flight Officer (TFO). Although each crew member has specific roles and responsibilities, either crew member can assume control of the aircraft in the event of an emergency. An additional TFO may be added for particularly difficult missions, and can operate all mission equipment from a specially designed crew station in the rear seat. 

 


CONTACT INFORMATION:                                            

Lieutenant Robert D. Smith, Unit Commander
35 Lonczak Street,  Chicopee, MA  
01022

State Police Dispatch    508-820-2121   24 hours

Lawrence Air Base       978-686-9464    fax: 978-685-7510 

Plymouth Air Base        508-465-9200    fax: 508-465-9230

Westover Air Base       413-378-1200     fax: 413-378-1222



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