Opening the parade with a flyover will be a couple of helicopters, one of them Burbank Police Department’s own Hughes MD520 Notar® helicopter (no tail rotor blades). It is one of three units that is operated by Burbank’s Air Support Unit.
Burbank provides patrol services to cities of Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena along with emergency services provided to other government agencies when requested. These helicopters cost in the range of $1.5 million when fully outfitted with all the police departments special equipment, such as Moving Maps, GPS, Computer Downlink, radios, Lo-Jack system and a flir. (Forward looking inferred camera).
The top airspeed of these helicopters is 160 Knots or about 170 MPH but to conserve fuel, normal patrol cruise speed is around 60 MPH and while working standard patrol they fly around 500 feet altitude. When working a perimeter at a possible crime scene, they can lower to 300 feet. Helicopters do not have minimum height requirements but need to fly high enough to be able to land in auto rotation mode in the case of an emergency.
The helicopters are also used for surveillance, SWAT insertion, fire long line operations, fire observation flights, photo flights, search and rescue missions , and conducts ‘green pool’ mosquito abatement operations with city inspectors.
The staff of the unit, located at the Bob Hope Airport, consists of five police officers, one sergeant and one civilian mechanic. The unit is combination of personnel from both the Burbank and Glendale Police Departments. The unit works seven days a week and depending on the day of the week will be on duty until 2:00 in the morning.
Joining Burbank’s helicopter today possibly will be helicopters from LA County Fire Department, Los Angeles City Fire Department and LA County Sheriff depending on their availability.
Today’s Air Boss will be Burbank Police Sergeant Robert Quesada. When he makes his appearance overhead you will all know it and make sure you give him a wave because he’s looking down and waving back.