San Jose Police Unveils Newly Upgraded ‘Air3’ Helicopter

July 28, 2018 Updated: July 28, 2018

San Jose Police just unveiled a new aerial upgrade Airbus H125 helicopter, dubbed Air3. The helicopter will be replacing the retired Air2 and made its public debut on July 27, in front of the San Jose Police Department.

A small crowed of people gathered to watch Air3 land in front of the police department, snap photos and and see the helicopter up close.

San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia, explained that the new helicopter is replacing the current Air2 helicopter. Air3 is a single engine helicopter and has long been used in law enforcement.

Air3 is the third helicopter for San Jose Police and costed approximately $5.2 million.

According to a press release, Air3 will provide greater safety for both police officers and the community with its modern capabilities.

“It’s faster, the visuals, surveillance capabilities are much better. It can fly at higher altitudes and it’s equipped to enable us, in the future, respond to search and rescue mission much more efficiently than we could in the past,”explained Police Chief Garcia.

The new Air3 is larger compared to the current Air2 helicopter and is capable of carrying more passengers. Air3 is also able to fly for longer periods of time.

“This, with a crew of two, can stay in about an hour and a half to two hours longer in flight over the city than we were able to with Air2,” said Officer Pilot Kris Kubasta.

Aside from backing up officers in pursuing suspects, Air3 also could aid with rescue operations from cliff sides and water drops on wildfires. The helicopter’s improved safety features makes it less likely to encounter system failures.

“It’s got a couple safety features. One of them is a dual hydraulic system, which eliminates the possibility of a hydraulic failure, which was possible in Air2. The other one it has is FADEC [full authority digital engine control], which is two systems that electronically control all the engine components,” said Officer Pilot Kubasta.

The new helicopter has another backup system in case of failure from the previous two systems. This eliminates the possibility of human error during operation.

The new ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast) system can help pilots navigate air traffic and avoid potential problems or midair collisions.

Officer Kubasta explained that the new helicopter also has an improved camera and spotlight system, which provides high quality videos and allows the spotlight to operate in conjunction with the camera, which the Air2 lacked.

The new camera system now records in 1080p, similar to a phone camera, has a day mode, and an infrared light mode, which allows the pilots see at night.

The high definition camera helps pilots better distinguish people from other objects during missions from the air.

The soon-to-be-retired Air2 helicopter has been requiring more frequent maintenance and had limited flight time, along with an aging mapping and camera system.

As such, the new and improved Air3 helicopter is a much needed and welcomed upgrade, and it’s ready to aid the San Jose Police Department in future missions.