The Erie County Sheriff's Aviation Unit is comprised of Sr. Tactical Flight Officer Art Litzinger, Tactical Flight Officer Shawn Young, and support staff.
The Aviation Unit currently utilizes the following equipment:
Air 1, an American Eurocopter - Model AS350B2. This aircraft is capable of carrying a pilot and 5 passengers. It is capable of 150 mph speed.
Air 1 is equipped with:
- Rescue hoist (300 lbs)
- Cargo hook
- Emergency inflatable floats
- 15 million candlepower searchlights
- Special day/night camera DVR recorder system
- Computerized Street Navigation System
- Digital/Analog Video Downlink System. Capable of sending broadcast quality video up to 90 miles away.
- Lock-back rescue slide doors.
This new Eurocopter extends the range, endurance, and rescue/surveillance capabilities of the Aviation Unit.
Air 2 is a Hughes 500 Turbine Helicopter. This aircraft is capable of carrying a pilot and 3 passengers. The aircraft was given to the Sheriff's Office through the United States Military 1208 surplus equipment program. This aircraft was totally refurbished and immediately put into service with the latest high-tech search and rescue equipment installed.
The Search & Rescue Unit is the only full time dedicated law enforcement helicopters in Erie County. We are available to 28 Police agencies and 96 fire companies in Erie County, and respond on a regular basis to assist the nine adjoining counties. We are also the official first-responder helicopter for the United States and Canadian Coast Guard in the Buffalo Area.