Ohio Highway Patrol to buy third helicopter

Ohio Highway Patrol to buy third helicopter

5-May-2015 Source: HeliHub.com

The Department of Public Safety, Ohio State Highway Patrol  has put forward a budget request to the Controlling Board of the Ohio Office of Budget and Management for a new helicopter.  Agenda item DPS0100351-15 for yesterday’s meeting reads “The Department of Public Safety, Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP), respectfully requests Controlling Board approval to waive competitive selection in the amount of $4,103,023.00 in FY15 to purchase a 2014 AS350 helicopter, fully equipped, from Airbus Helicopters Inc., Grand Prairie, Texas for the Ohio State Highway Patrol Aviation Section.“.  The budget request was approved by the Controlling Board, according to the Columbus Dispatch news outlet. Quite why they are seeking to buy a 2014 helicopter is unclear and perhaps an error dating back to the title of an earlier specification document submitted by Airbus.

Half of the purchase price will be met from Ohio state contraband accounts.  Specifically, $250K from the “Investigation, Contraband, Forfeiture” account, $300K from the “Contraband, Forfeitures, Other” account and $1.5M from the “Highway Patrol Justice Contraband” account.  The remaining $2,053,023.00 was requested from the FY2015 Highway Patrol Operating budget.

The request details show that there is a demand for two helicopters at all times, and thus a third aircraft provides both maintenance cover and greater availability.  The OHP currently operates two AS350B2 helicopters, built in 1993 and 1994, both of which will be heading for their 12 year overhauls in the early years of the operation of the new helicopter.   The publicly available paperwork did not detail whether they would buy a third AS350B2, or an H125 (ex “AS350B3e”).

The budget approval comes just days after it was announced by the Dayton Daily News that Ohio was also buying a new 9-Pax Beechcraft King Air 350i for $5.4 million, and a 6-pax King Air 250 for $4.2 million for the Governor and other state leaders to travel on official business.  A $1.3M allowance on the trade-in of two older aircraft, believed to be a 1973-build KingAir C90 reg# N880H and 1982-build King Air B200 reg# N860H, brought the net cost to $8.3 million.

Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com

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