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Above: EC145 flying on a patrol flight in Thuringia Photo: Caterina Hessler

graphs of the scene in order to clarify the course of accident. The three police officers grab their helmets and climb into the EC145. Only minutes later the helicopter is cleared for take off and is airborne, heading towards the site of the accident. The crew passes by the “Drei Gleichen,” three of the many castles in Thuringia, following the A9 in a low level flight. The helicopter has an auto pilot which helps to reduce the pilot´s workload tremendously. After a short flight, the crew arrives at the

scene where the accident happened. Two trucks have jack-knifed and are badly keyed in a con- struction site. The motorway is floated with fuel and oil and is fully blocked for cars. The heli-


copter circles around the area while the FLIR operator takes the pictures. He can either take stills or film video sequences and send them to the police crews on the ground. Fire brigade, emergency doctor and police cars are on scene too. “Sometimes we discover an accident during our routine control flights. Quite often the car is on fire and we are the first to help. In such a case we try to land near the accident site and pull out the unconscious passengers from their cars. Over the years I have had the privilege to save some lives,” Stefan Haupt explains. “It’s good that our flight

suits are fire-resistant,” he adds with a

chuckle. After returning to the home base, a lot of


bureaucratic work is waiting for the pilots. “We do most of our paperwork on our own, like reg- ular pilots,” says Haupt. “It makes no difference that we are cops. We have to fill in the flight book, the flight report, the personal reports such as the logbook and, if the mission was complet- ed successfully, a report

for the administration

office,” he comments. Of course there will always be missions that

cannot be completed due to bad weather con- ditions or which are called off because the vic- tims of accidents were so severely injured that they passed away. Besides those sometimes frus- trating missions, there are also funny moments in the work of the police pilots. For example, the

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