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Public to Meet New Patrol Chopper

April 08, 1998|JOHN CANALIS

The police helicopter of the future will touch down Thursday at John Wayne Airport.

Police Chiefs David L. Snowden of Costa Mesa and Robert J. McDonnell of Newport Beach plan to introduce the public to the $1.1-million patrol chopper, which sports night vision, a high-powered video camera, a stolen-car tracking device and a searchlight. Its water-dropping "Bambi bucket" is good for fighting fires too.

The new aircraft is quieter than older models and less likely to disturb residents, Newport Police Sgt. Mike McDermott said. Along with decreased engine noise and a rudderless tail, night vision allows it to fly higher and thus farther from homes.

"That's one of the prime considerations, especially for an agency like ours, where we do a lot of residential patrols," McDermott said.

The Boeing 502N NOTAR started patrols recently in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa and sometimes answers calls in Santa Ana under a shared agreement, the Air Borne Law Enforcement Program.

Newport and Costa Mesa shared the cost to buy the helicopter.

This adds a third helicopter to the fleet. Six pilots, four from Costa Mesa and two from Newport, fly two 1989 McDonnell Douglas models.

All three helicopters will be on display at 2 p.m. in Hangars 25-26 at John Wayne Airport, 361 Paularino Ave.

Information: (714) 644-3711.

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