Cop chopper touches down

| 04/03/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman headline news, Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, police helicopter(CNS): After almost three years and a considerable amount of controversy, the police helicopter has finally landed in the Cayman Islands. The airborne crime fighting machine touched down at Owen Roberts International this afternoon around 3:30 to the delight of the police commissioner, who says the helicopter is here to make a difference. Although there are a few more hurdles for the RCIPS to mount before the EC135 helicopter can join the fight against crime, at least it is now on Cayman soil. The helicopter came with its own temporary pilot who will take the controls until CTC sorts out the pilot and maintenance contract.

As the helicopter made its first appearance in Cayman on Thursday 4 March, after a two-day 1500 mile flight from Louisiana, Commissioner of Police David Baines told the media that it would be a few weeks before the machine was working to help police in the crucial fight against drugs and firearms smuggling, as well as search and rescue. He explained that in addition to sorting out the long term piloting and maintenance contracts, the newly formed RCIPS Air Operations Unit would be training and going through the process of meeting all of the requirements of the CAA to gain its air operations certificate.

“We will be pushing the envelope on the flying with craft and operating it in extreme circumstances. The pilots will be flying at lower levels and in difficult conditions so we need to make sure that the training is complete before the craft can be operational,” Baines explained, adding that the training would begin right away.

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman headline news, Royal Cayman Islands Police Service“There is still a bit of work to be done before the helicopter becomes fully operational. However, it’s important to everyone involved that we ensure that we meet the very high standards of training and aircraft effectiveness required to allow us to obtain the relevant certification.”

The commissioner acknowledged that the arrival had been a long time in coming but the community would soon appreciate how useful the helicopter will be.

“This dedicated resource will allow us to cover vast areas of land and sea very quickly and it will be invaluable when it comes to assisting in searches, operations and tracking offenders. This new crime fighting tool will soon become a common sight in the air above Cayman and will have a tremendous impact on the operational capacity of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service,” Baines stated.

The EC135 helicopter can, contrary to earlier concerns, fly to all three islands and is fitted with forward looking infra red cameras and broadcast quality daylight cameras, all with recording facility for evidence. It has aviation police radios for use into the Cayman Islands public radio system, a ‘Nightsun’ light capable of lighting up the area of a football field, and the ‘Skyshout’ public address system, which is capable of alerting the public on the ground, whether it is on the lookout for a missing person, or offender, or other information in a critical incident. It is fitted with a video downlink system that allows the camera images to be relayed to other officers or commanders on the ground, giving the benefit of real time images to those on the ground.

Baines said that while there were no pop-out floats on the aircraft it had two engines which offered an extra safety feature, and although there was no winch, during search and rescue the helicopter would act as the eyes to direct the Marine Unit to pick up those who are lost at sea.

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman headline news, Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, police helicopterSteve Fitzgerald, RCIPS Air Operations Manager, has been working in the background for some months with the helicopter in Louisiana and with the RCIPS on the Islands. “Whilst there remains a lot to do from our side to bring the operation live, I am extremely pleased to see the helicopter finally delivered onto the Cayman Islands. All our staff are keen to start training and delivering results.”

Baines explained that until the CTC finalises the contracts for piloting and maintenance, the RCIPS had temporarily contracted the services of a pilot from a police helicopter speciality agency in the UK.  

Baines confirmed that the financial costs for operating the helicopter had all been covered in the police budget for this year and he was confident the government appreciated the importance of the aircraft and would ensure the helicopter remained properly funded.

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  1. Rorschach says:

    Be ready to start being kept awake at nights with low flybys and night sun spotlights and loudspeakers blaring "Ride of the Vlakyries"….We will soon see the commissioner walking around wearing a big blue stetson and muttering…., "I love the smell of napalm in West Bay….smells like….WICTORY!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    For those who think this Chopper burns fuel like XXXX should think again, it’s a Police Helicopter, it is design to circle these Islands for hours. And it was design with fuel effeciency in mind, it is not a regular tour chopper like Island Airs. So fuel economy is not a problem when it comes to these kind of Choppers, for it is not heavy like what most you on here think it is. And yes it is fast and laoded with special equipments not unlike a tour Chopper. So stop the talk about fuel depot and fuel burning. For it is not a regular Chopper it is a ( Police Chopper).

  3. Anonymouse says:

    Lest we forget. we will now need to install special fuel depots in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman to service this chopper. Wonder what those depots are going to cost me since I will have to help pay for them?

  4. Anonymous says:

    This copter will cost well over $1000 per hour to operate and will be virtually useless against crime on Grand Cayman, and totally useless against crime on the Sister Islands.

    Has anyone done a cost/benefit analysis on the use of this new vehicle against crime?

    The RCIP have to get out of their vehicles and patrol on foot so they can see crime before it happens and have a chance to apprehend the criminals. An very effective foot patrol would consist of pairs of officers, each lightly armed, and each carrying cell phones or walky-talkies.

    Foot patrols are certainly not a new idea, but do provide a creditable police presence on the streets and in the places where crime is likely to occur.

    The officers would become much more acquainted with the people they are serving which would engender trust in the police, something which is sadly lacking on Cayman.

    And if we are serious about stopping crime on Cayman, that is where we should be spending our money.


    • Anonymous says:

      Why pray, do you think this helicopter will be virtually useless against crime on Grand Cayman?  Please give us the benefit of your expert opinion, I am fascinated.

  5. Joe Average says:

    The helicopter is a tool. Used by police forces throughout the world when crime gets out of hand.

    Sadly now, we need one.

    Note that also throughout the world the difference between an army and the armed forces and the police have diminished. This has taken place slowly.  Now, in some cities especially in the United States, the police are equipped with armored vehicles, automatic weapons, tasers, water cannons, rubber bullets, tear gas, and all the other equipment you would normally associate with warfare.

    I do hope that on our island it does not turn to that.  Because then we will be trapped in a war zone between two armed camps. The thugs and the police.

    And, we will be refugees in our own country.  If you don’t want to see that happen turn the bastards in.  Or duck and be prepared for some funerals.

    Right now there is an option. Later, there won’t be. Once it starts, believe me, there is no turning back.


    • Anonymous says:

      You write that we need a helicopter.

      Exactly why do we need one? What will it provide that leasing the existing helicopter won’t?

      You cannot pay to keep it in the air and you cannot pay to keep a man sitting at the airport 24 hours a day ready to fly away to the scene of a crime. So it won’t be any good for rapid response.

      For looking for a lost boat or ship at sea the other helicopter can be used or the mosquito control plane to search and report to ships to do rescue.

      I think the ongoing spending of money  will do nothing to stop crime nor the smuggling that goes on here.

      The country is in a financial crisis get rid of the helicopter.

      We cannot afford it, another pie in the sky dream brought to you by the PPM.

      • Anonymous says:

        Did you read the article describing the helicopter’s features?  Are you familiar with the work of the police with these helicopters elsewhere in the world…  I thought not.  If you did, you would not be asking these questions.

        The helicopter is equipped with state of the art technology, none of which the current leased helicopter has.  Plus of course, we will be saving on the lease costs of the old helicopter too.

        Of course it won’t be kept in the air and nobody has to sit at he airport all day just in case they get called out they just have to be on duty as its a police helicopter, remember?  Most likely the police pilot will be based in GT for easy access to the airport.  No good for rapid response?  You act like we living in the US and have to wait a couple of hours for the pilot to reach the airport from home.  C’mon, be realistic.  Provided the procedures are effective, the helicopter could be up and about within 5-15 mins of any report.  It can carry armed units to any location in far less time than a car can.  With its infra red cameras and floodlights it can detect pretty much anything that moves on a night time both at sea and on-island.  The reason we have already experienced so much unwelcomed smuggling and lost so many lives at sea is because we didn’t have such sophisticated equipment on hand to help on previous occasions.  Neither the other helicopter nor the mosquito control plane have comparable resources in any conceivable way.  Please believe me, I have seen these helicopters in action and this is going to be a blessing to Cayman in the long run, both in terms of addressing crime and those lost at sea amongst other benefits which will show themselves in time to come I am certain.

        The way they went about getting it, and the amount of money spent on the helicopter is atrocious, I’ll agree on that, but for once, we’re going to see a return on our money, which is more than we can say for all theother money the governments have frazzled away foolishly.



  6. Anonymous says:

    I understand that the helicopter will have an operating cost of over $1,000,000.00 CI per year. The benefits of this piece of equipment is doubtful and an unnecessary luxury that we cannot afford.

    It was purchased at a time when the PPM were throwing money around that we no longer have.

    Sell the helicopter and work on making inroads in the local community to get information from closed mouthed Caymanians on criminals on the ground here.

    For search work use the existing helicopter and or the mosquito control plane.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Finally!!! it’s here and a good looking piece of machinery it is. Now lets get on with the job and make it worthwhile and a pain in the butt for the criminals who seem to be poppin up everywhere these days on a frequent basis with bad intentions. Let’s stop the bashing, it’s all water under the bridge now and support this initative. However all these efforts will not make much difference if all our crime fighting arms of Govt. do not step up to the plate and display the ability to sucessfully pursue, prosecute and appropriately encarcerate these criminals. I would definitely support a "hard time" prison for serious offenders since we can’t have capital punishment. This should serve as a deterent since spending time at Northward is just considered a holiday by most criminals now.

    By the way I like the idea of naming the chopper. "BumbleBopter" is a good start but I think "BumbleBee" is perfect since it’s colour scheme is representative of one and it delivers a hell of a sting.

    Caymanians lets take our island back! Remember evil prevails when good men sit by and do nothing.

  8. Anonymous says:

    People don’t underestimate the benefits of this outrageously expensive helicopter.  I truly believe its gonna make a huge difference to all the crime on the island, particularly shootings and smuggling.  It can be at the scene of the crime within minutes of it being reported, with the surveillance equipment on-board it can quickly detect anyone hiding in bushes or running away.  Had it arrived when originally intended, it may have saved the lives of those lost at sea… the 5 onboard the canoe immediately spring to mind. 

    I am sure we will see all these benefits and more moving forward.  The government may have made the people pay through the nose for this, but at least, for once, we’re going to get something out of this investment, and right now, personally, I feel it’s arrived at a very crucial time considering the continued crime, violence and tragic loss of lives we are experiencing  in recent times.

  9. da real G says:

    Boy look ya come see da gas bill, fill her up boys and don’t forget you get a brand new gas card and a round of Av gas for everyone courtesy CI Government thanx boys

  10. Anonymous says:

     Do not be fooled, this aint no helicopter it is the long thought to be extinct Cayman Islands endemic “Caymanensis Bumblebopter” !



    And it is cute.

    Only us older folk remember this critter.

  11. The_Facts! says:

    A police helicopter in the air ain’t much of a benefit if Immigration doesn’t get its act together and impliment very strict homeland security measures!!

    At the present time, the Police is ALL we have but they can only be as effective as the tools they have to work with and right now, they only have a pen in their pockets whilst dangerous criminals carry weapons.

    The RCIP, Immigration, and Labour,  and to a certain extent, the Courts should ALL be operating on ONE security system!!!

    The QUESTION IS:  WHEN will the ‘powers to be’ come to this realisation???????

  12. Anonymous says:

    Wait till you see my Apache helicopter that is on the way. It sweet! Unfortunately it is an RC model.

  13. Anonymous says:

    It cannot fly to the Brac in an emergency, but it can fly from Cuba rather than bringing it on a boat. This is why we laugh at our Government. It is comprised of morons.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are not intelligentat all, that chopper just did two days,1500 miles flight from Louisiana, so how in the world it can’t fly to the Brac, which is only 80 miles away from Grand Cayman? Answer that one Genius.


      • Anonymous says:

        I know the helicopter has more than the range, the point is that CAA (or some other Govt. entity) will not let it fly operationally more than 10 minutes from land.




        Of course it can fly to the Brac.The authorities will not let it.

    • Anonymous says:

      And one more thing, the chopper can fly 20,000 feet up and cover 393 miles, which means it can cover all three Islands and yes including your Cuba. It came on a boat, maybe because it had no license to fly here, that is why it is waiting on CAA approval. But as far as flying over these Islands, it is more than capable to do so.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Thank goodness it’s finally here.  I think it’s great that there is now another tool available to fight crime.  I really hate to hear those people who call the talk shows to complain about this and especially bashing the ex-commissioner Kernohan.  There is obviously a personal beef there from these know-it-alls who call in and really don’t know anything.  They need to get a life really.  The helicopter purchase would have gone smoothly to begin with if the PPM had not wanted to get all the additional gadgets without the proper budget.  The PPM simply screwed the country all around.

  15. Anonymous says:

    How is the use of the Chopper going to be controlled?  If it was up so some individuals they would probably jump in it every chance they get.  Need to remember every time the enging starts it’s costing us more $$$ so it has to be worth it!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Hope the police don’t just use it for JOY RIDING!!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Wow, that’s a seriously good looking helicopter!

  18. Anonymous says:

    WoW this must be the week for all the  PPM achievements, new licensing department opens, faith hospital renovated, chopper is here… great job PPM, all the ppl that curse you for what you guys did for us, will be the same ppl who use these facilities.. your hard work is greatly appreciated  

  19. Anonymous says:

    Chopper just in time! If Mac cuts the civil servants pay he will need this to get away….(In the words of Arnold) Git too di chopppaaaaa!

  20. whodatis says:

    No negative sentiments should be thought or uttered in regards to this news as this can only be a good and helpful development in light of what has been happening recently.

    I’ll bet the little smuggling bastards are shaking in their boots right about now!

    Helicopter law enforcement is a pain and nuisance to every criminal organization regardless of country!

    Car chases, foot pursuits and most importantly – water / ocean incidents … no boat can outrun a metal bird!

    (I trust its fitted with a bullet resistant undercarriage though?)


    • Pending says:

      This is not negative and I hate to burst you’re bubble but they are not shaking in their boots…The RCIPS has utilised the services of a certain helicopter for quite a long time now and evidently it has done little to change the attitude or quell the influx of drugs and guns to this island.

      The mere fact that the RCIPS now has one that they can call their own  begs  a few questions;


      1) Who will be piloting this chopper?

      They are going to have to hire someone to do the job or train a few people and I can assure you it will not be cheap and it will take alot of time. Who will pay for it?

      2) How often will they use it?

      To run it day / night will cost a fortune and will be a complete waste of money. So, they will be acting on information received..which is exactly what they were doing up until now with the services of a certain helicopter.

      3) Is it going to be used exclusively for the RCIPS?

      I doubt that very much indeed. Certain persons will be using for personal excursions when arriving at ceratin ceremonies to show how big and powerful they are or when certain dignatories grace our shores.

      4) What happens if they crash it or it breaks down like all the other expensive toys that other such police departments have and break on a REGULAR basis?

      Will they buy another, or will it sit their until they can afford to repair it?

      5) How long will it be, taking into consideration all the above and then some before we see any sort of payback for the huge sum paid for this metal bird?


      I welcome everbodies answers.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how long it will be before a private helicopter landing pad is put in at Beloved Leaders house and on the roof of the new Government Admin Building that was never actually for sale? After all it clearly says in the Constitution that the Premier is not only entitled to a big wall around his private helicopter landing pad, he is also entitled to 3 stewardesses on the helicopter while he is on board. 

  22. Anonymous says:

    @ 22:43. Dude you watch to much tv idiot!

  23. Anonymous says:

    At least it actually says police on it, and not Guy Harvey!!  Now perhaps they can get on and move forward.  Difficult move in financial climate, but good judgement.  Good luck RCIPS in this one

  24. A Guy says:

    Or how about Blue Thunder?

  25. Anonymous says:

    Mission Accomplished….

    What a pity that we couldn’t employ the services of Arnold Schwareneger and Sylvester Stalone (SlY) they would get the jobs done for the RCIP.

  26. EastSider says:

    FINALLY !!!!!!!!!

  27. lurking says:

     First play it should be patrolling is the Government fuel station!

  28. Andy says:

    Now you just have to come up with a swanky name for it, ours it called HAWKS.

    Maybe -"Police Overhead Serveilance Service Inter-island"

    nicknamed -POSSI’ -get it- posse’, get it?

    your welcome


  29. Anonymous says:

    A nice "new" toy – supposed to have been for Kernohan to fly around in. Won’t make a damn bit of difference to the RCIPS trying to solve Caymanian gangstas killing other Caymanian gangstas that is going on right now.

  30. Anonymous says:

    i guarantee that this will not be operational in 2 months

  31. Andy says:

    As a former expat now living in Alberta I feel you are very lucky to have such a tool to fight crime. Our nearby city Calgary has a similar program and has won many operational awards with it [second only to L.A Calif.]

    Used properly these units are second to none for disrupting\\apprehending illegal going ons.

    Citizens please support your well deserved & needed Police Air Service.



  32. Anonymous says:

    Great!! Now sell it MAC!!! Joking.


    I hope this actually proves very effective with the amount it will cost to operate it.

  33. ExBlueGirl says:

    Congratulations RCIP!  A very sensible piece of equipment that will give a positive boost to the Police Service and the community as well!

    Well Done!

  34. Anonymous says:

     Is it all equipped like Airwolf was?

  35. peter milburn says: