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Tue, Mar 08, 2022

Polk County Sheriff Buys 2 More Robinsons

After One Year in Service, the R66 has Earned its Keep

After a year with the department's first Robinson R66, the Polk County Sheriff's Office has purchased another pair of the aircraft to add extra redundancy and capability for their busy flight crew. 

The lightweight, turbine helicopter is well suited for the Sheriff's mission that sees around 1,100 hours a year providing air support over its 2,000 square mile jurisdiction located between Orlando and Tampa. Last year, the office's freshly painted, show-ready R66 was displayed as an example of the design's law enforcement capabilities to departments across the country. Polk's R66 is equipped with a suite of essential gear for overhead surveillance, containing Wescam MX-10 EO/IR imaging system and an HD infrared sensor, Spectrolab’s SX-7 Starsun searchlight system, Aerocomputer’s UC-6000 digital mapping system, and a full glass panel flight deck with synthetic vision technology. The new Robinson quickly established itself as an integral part of the Sheriff's flight operations, joining their MD Hughes 369E and MD 500s. The Sheriff's office raised eyebrows last year when they sold off one of their 2013 MD 500s, which could indicate a change over to the R66 across the board in the coming years. Polk's new aircraft will be delivered this year with NVG compatibility, impact resistant windscreens, aux fuel tanks, and similar survey equipment to their forebear. Performance-wise, the R66 offers close competition to the MD500, with very similar metrics, seating for 5, and capability. The determining factor that won the department over to Robinson?Affordability.

“We are adding a second and third R66 because of our confidence in the helicopter’s ability and functionality. It’s a great aircraft that has reduced our operating costs by nearly fifty percent,” said Sheriff Grady Judd. In purchasing their first R66, Judd alluded to the affordability of the Robinson product as a decisive factor in its selection. “Having a robust aviation unit is critical to our mission of keeping people safe. We are thrilled to add the Robinson R66 turbine helicopter to our aviation fleet. Not only is this aircraft a great asset to law enforcement, it allows us to cost effectively support and protect our citizens better than other options out there.”

FMI: www.robinsonheli.com

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