HURLBURT FIELD, FL – The Air Force’s last operational UH-1H Huey helicopter performed its first flight as a New York State Police aircraft during its departure from the flightline here, June 5.
The helicopter is one of four aircraft transferred to New York State Police’s aviation unit as part of the Law Enforcement Support Organization Program.
“It was a great opportunity for [Air Force Special Operations Command] to be able to give a helicopter like this to the law enforcement support agency supporting New York State police aviation,” said Ben S. Harton Jr., the aerospace vehicle distribution officer for AFSOC.
The program identifies excess assets no longer in use and requested by U.S. civilian law enforcement agencies.
“It’s a great program; we’re getting a great piece of equipment from the military that being phased out because it not being used anymore,” said Phil Napolitano, chief pilot for NYPS Aviation crew. “When you buy an aircraft like this nowadays, you’re talking millions of dollars, but it cost essentially nothing for us.”
NYPS Aviation crewmen arrived a week before the flight to see the Huey, starting the transfer of the helicopter with systems checks and small test flights to ensure the plane’s readiness for departure.
The Huey is slated to be used primarily for utility, cargo and search and rescue missions because of its high cargo capacity, Napolitano said.
Napolitano and his crew are scheduled to fly the helicopter to Latham, N.Y., making frequent stops along the way to check the status of the Big Apple’s newest Huey addition.