25-Apr-2023 Source: North Carolina Department of Public Safety
The State Highway Patrol unveiled the newest addition to its aviation fleet today at a ceremony in Raleigh. The Bell 429 helicopter will further expand the Patrol’s mission of saving lives across our state utilizing aviation assets. The event was held before distinguished guests and media invitees at the SHP’s Driving & Training Facility showcasing what is now the largest helicopter of the Patrol’s Aviation fleet.
Although this helicopter joins an existing fleet which is overseen by the SHP, the majority of the missions conducted each year continue to be in support of partner agencies outside of the State Highway Patrol. Year after year, 80-85% of our missions are for local agencies that need help in finding missing persons to include the search for missing children. Colonel Freddy Johnson, Jr. provided the following remarks to those in attendance:
“As our state continues to grow and thrive, we as an agency must continue to possess the tools needed to positively support our agency’s lifesaving mission,” said Colonel Johnson, commander of the SHP. “We are extremely proud of what this helicopter will be able to do not just for our agency, but in support of our partner agencies across the state.”
The new aircraft will be completely operational in the coming weeks as members fulfill the necessary training and certification requirements.