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$1.1 Million Helicopter Contract Goes Before Austin City Council
The Austin City Council today will vote on a package to trick out their new police helicopter.
Back in August, the city council approved spending $2.6-million on an American Eurocopter that could also be used to fight wildfires and rescue people. The contract with Metro Aviation the council is voting on today would spend another $1.1 million to fully equip the new helicopter with a thermal imager, a searchlight, night vision goggles and a cargo hook sling system.
With all the after-market add-ons, the helicopter can be reconfigured for different missions, including sling load operations, personnel insertions, firefighting, rescue-hoisting-extraction during flash floods, or for rescues of injured persons in wilderness and green belt areas, and inspection of critical city infrastructure including power lines.
The new helicopter will of course be able to do the usual police eye in the sky search for bad guys. But it will also include the ability to be used in fighting wildfires. The helicopter will be equipped with buckets that may be filled from various water sources including stock tanks and swimming pools.
Metro Aviation was the only bidder even after the city advertised and extended the bid window and even contacted dozens of other companies to make sure they knew about the proposal.
By Fred Cantu