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The aviation unit was established in 1996 with government surplus UH-1s and OH-58s. Like most counties in Florida, the unit originally was split into two parts, the sheriff’s office and mosquito control. Mosquito control would use the Hueys and the sheriff’s office would use the OH-58s.


The two parts have since merged into the sheriff’s aviation unit that provides all public safety and public health aviation to the county. It operates AS350s and UH-1s as multi-mission platforms; their missions include law enforcement, long-line rescue, mosquito control, and firefighting. By combining into one unit, the county


was able to share resources and offer more services at a lower cost. The unit staffing is two sworn pilots, two A&P mechanics, and seven part-time tactical flight officers.


The aviation unit is called upon to provide mutual aid to the surrounding counties that don’t own aerial assets, and most of these requests come in the form of aerial firefighting. The Charlotte County aviation unit is uniquely capable in this task with a UH-1 Huey fitted with a 350-gallon fire tank, along with a 144-gallon Bambi Bucket for the AStars (AS350s).


The Charlotte County aviation unit is uniquely capable with a UH-1 Huey fitted with a


350-gallon fire tank, and a 144-gallon Bambi Bucket for the AStars (AS350s)


74 July/Aug 2020


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