Friday, September 16, 2011

Is This The Future Of Police Aviation?

Wired.com had a bit this week that looked at an experimental aviation program being tested by the Tomball, Texas Police Department. The program is testing a small two person autogyro as a cheaper alternative to the more commonly used police helicopter.
Conceptually, a gyroplane (or autogyro) is an old idea. Get the motor spinning and use a rear-mounted propeller to gain speed. As you travel forward an angled, unpowered overhead rotor utilizes the air pushed into the blades to create lift. 
“The use of this type of aircraft isn’t novel. The novelty lies in the bringing of best practices from Europe to the United States” says the chief, Robert S. Hauck. This city outside Houston is using a grant from the Department of Justice Law Enforcement Aviation Technology Program to test the vehicle.
As someone who has hung outside the doors of more than one police helicopter while taking aerial photos of a crime scene I found regular aircraft unnerving enough. I think I'd be really unnerved in one of these.

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