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News Release

Thursday, March 29, 2001

Media Relations

LAPD Grounds Eurocopters Temporarily


Los Angeles - On Saturday, March 17, 2001, the East Bay Regional Park Police experienced a complete engine failure in one of its Eurocopter AS350B-2 helicopters while it was being operated on patrol over the unincorporated area of San Leandro. The pilot safely maneuvered the aircraft to a landing sight and the crew sustained no injuries. The aircraft sustained minor damage.

Because the Los Angeles Police Department operates eight of the same model helicopters, it began a study of the East Bay Regional Park Police (EBRPP) incident to discover the facts associated with that incident. On Friday, March 16, 2001, members of the Department’s Air Support Division traveled to the EBRPP air operations facility to view the aircraft and interview key personnel. Subsequent to that visit, the police department and helicopter maintenance representatives from the Department of General Services discussed the issues with representatives of the Eurocopter Corporation (the aircraft manufacturer) and Turbomeca (the engine manufacturer).

As a result of its investigation and in the interest of aviation safety, LAPD has temporarily grounded its AS350B-2 helicopter fleet pending further investigation. The Department continues to work closely with Eurocopter Corporation, Turbomeca and appropriate federal authorities in an effort to determine the cause of the EBRPP incident and ensure that LAPD aircraft are properly equipped for return to service.

It is important to stress that LAPD has other model helicopters and will continue to provide airborne law enforcement services to the citizens of this great city. It is expected the AS350B-2 helicopters will be returned to service during the next six weeks.

For further information, contact Media Relations Section at 213-485-3586.

This press release was prepared by Sergeant J. Pasquariello, Media Relations Section.