American Eurocopter has delivered two AS350 B3 helicopters to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Aircraft Section. These are the first AS350 B3's in the Aircraft Section's all-Eurocopter fleet, which includes 13 Eurocopter AS350-series AStar helicopters and one EC145. The new AS350 B3's provide increased power and performance and build on the proven reliability and capabilities of its AStar fleet.
"The selection of the AS350 B3's highlights Texas DPS's confidence in American Eurocopter and the AStar family," said Ed Van Winkle, American Eurocopter's Law Enforcement Market Manager. "The AS350 B3's will provide the Aircraft Section with increased capabilities in order to better-serve the citizens of Texas and we are honored that they continue to choose our helicopters as they update and augment their fleet."
In addition to law enforcement and patrol missions, the mission scope of Texas DPS now includes search and rescue, tactical operations and homeland security missions throughout the state. The AS350 B3's will give Texas DPS additional payload, range and endurance to enhance their capacity to respond to these vital missions.
"The role of helicopters in support of modern law enforcement is evolving," explained Bill Nabors, Texas DPS Chief Pilot. "In serving the citizens of Texas, the scope of our missions is changing and we needed to select helicopters that will help us meet current and future mission requirements. The AS350 B3's will enable us to adapt to the variety of missions and changing environments across the state."
Because of the geographic diversity within the state, Texas DPS will benefit from the added power and performance provided by 847 shp Turbomeca Arriel 2B1 engines with dual-channel FADEC and dual hydraulics. With these, Texas DPS flight crews will be able to perform additional missions at higher altitudes on hotter days.
The mission equipment suite on the new AS350 B3's includes a thermal imager, searchlight and moving map system. Texas DPS added the capability of a 500 lb. rescue hoist, which will aid in search & rescue operations. The avionics integration and completion were performed by Metro Aviation, which is also an American Eurocopter customer.
One of the new AS350 B3's, a replacement for an AS350 BA, will be stationed in Alpine, Texas, an area where missions will benefit from the hot & high performance capabilities of the Arriel 2B1 engine. The second AS350 B3 will be stationed at a new base located in Longview, Texas. This additional helicopter was promoted and supported by the citizens of Longview and Gregg County and will improve mission capabilities and enhance the level of service to the citizens of East Texas.
About American Eurocopter
American Eurocopter is the U.S. affiliate of Eurocopter, the largest helicopter manufacturer in the world, and a subsidiary of EADS North America Holdings, the North American operations of EADS, the second largest aerospace and defense company in the world. American Eurocopter is a helicopter manufacturer and the company markets, sells and supports the broadest range of civil and para-public helicopters offered by any manufacturer. The product line represents the most cost-effective, technologically-advanced helicopters, ranging from light single to heavy twin, serving all markets and missions. American Eurocopter's headquarters and main facility are in Grand Prairie, TX, with a large manufacturing and production facility in Columbus, MS.
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