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Focus: Orange County Community News | FULLERTON

2 CHP Helicopters Will Get a New Home

January 09, 1998|MIMI KO CRUZ

Local California Highway Patrol helicopters soon will call Fullerton Municipal Airport home.

Officials on Thursday celebrated the start of construction for an airport hangar, a portion of which will serve as headquarters for two CHP helicopters.

The $1.2-million project, funded by General Aviation Company Inc., which leases a portion of the airport from the city, is expected to be completed by June 1. The CHP will occupy about a third of the 29,400-square-foot metal hangar and pay General Aviation $8,000 a month in rent.

City officials said they are overjoyed by the CHP's impending move. "We look forward to the completion of this facility," Mayor Don Bankhead said at the groundbreaking ceremony.

The airport already is the home base for Orange County Fire Authority choppers.

Both CHP helicopters will continue to serve all of Orange and Los Angeles counties after their move from the Los Alamitos Armed Forces Reserve Center, CHP Flight Officer Keith Thornhill said. "This works out really well for us," he said. "It's a little bit more centrally located."

Ten flight officers and two supervisors will operate the H-62 and H-64 aircraft; their primary mission will be to patrol the freeways of Orange and Los Angeles counties. The helicopters also will be available to help other police agencies with car chases and searches, he said.

General Aviation President Fred Miller said he will use the rest of the hangar to house corporate planes that businesses or individuals can charter.

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