The full-service mission operation of the first new Agusta Westland AW 139 helicopter has begun.
The helicopter was on display at the Aviation Command’s Frederick Section to officially mark the commencement. The pilots and flight paramedics who staff "Trooper 3" are the first to have been fully trained on the new aircraft. They are now flying the new helicopter around the clock on all Aviation Command missions.
"This new helicopter and the others that will be deployed, represent an incredible improvement to public safety capabilities in Maryland," Colonel Marcus Brown said. "They will provide a safer aircraft four our crews, with more room and equipment for our flight paramedics to care for the injured. I thank Governor O'Malley who, with the support of the General Assembly, fulfilled his promise to the State Police, our public safety partners, and to the people of Maryland. These new aircraft will be put to good use and will, along with out EMS partners, continue the amazing lifesaving response and care Maryland is known for."
The new helicopters contain the latest in avionics and safety equipment, including terrain awareness warning systems, night vision compatibility, cockpit voice and video recorders, radar altimeters, and advanced instrument flight rating capabilities, all recommended by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Also speaking at the event Tuesday was Matt Wiles, a man who was critically injured in a fall two years ago. He was flown by a Trooper 3 crews and credits them for saving his life. To show his gratitude, Wiles had the names of the Trooper 3 crew members tattooed on his arm, right under a full color tattoo of the Maryland State Police helicopter. Wiles had the opportunity to meet Pilot Russ Zullick and Flight Paramedic Cpl. Lance Shank for the first time.