The new Air 5 RCMP helicopter was unveiled Thursday in Langley. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance)

New ‘workhorse’ police helicopter named for pilot who died in Fraser Valley crash

The new Air 5 chopper is named for David John Brolin.

The new Air 5 RCMP helicopter was officially unveiled in Langley, dedicated to a pilot who died in a training crash seven years ago in Chilliwack.

The brand new H145 Airbus helicopter is larger and has more bells and whistles than other local police helicopters, including longer range cameras, a hoist that can haul up rescue victims or allow ERT members to rappel down, space for two stretchers in the back, and simplified computerized displays for the pilot.

• READ MORE: RCMP release name of helicopter pilot killed in crash near Chilliwack

But Cpl. Curtis Brassington, the tactical flight officer, choked up when talking about one particular feature – the name and call sign, which are in honour of the late civilian pilot Dave Brolin.

Brolin’s initials form (DJB) the last three letters of the aircraft’s call sign, and “The Spirit of Holidave” has been written on the side of the helicopter, after Brolin’s nickname.

Compared to the smaller and lighter Air 1 and Air 2 helicopters often seen over the Lower Mainland, the new Air 5 is more of a “workhorse,” according to the RCMP officials on hand for the unveiling.

It will be based out of the RCMP hangar in Langley, but will operate province-wide. With its twin-engine design – a first for an RCMP helicopter in B.C. – it can travel over water by night, and is also capable of dropping off patients directly at hospital helicopter landing pads.

Asked about recent noisy training flights that disrupted sleep for people in Cloverdale and parts of Langley, Brassington noted that those were done using a B3 helicopter borrowed from Edmonton for training.

“We have been operational at night for the last 13 years,” Brassington said.

He noted that the new H145 Airbus should not only be quieter than the B3 being used for training, it should be quieter than the current smaller Air 1 and Air 2 helicopters.

“Will we be doing training in Willoughby?” Brassington said. “We may!”

They do their training in areas where they may have to work, which includes urban and suburban areas, he noted.

The Air 5 cost $13.4 million, funded 70 per cent by the province and 30 per cent by Ottawa. It’s expected operational lifespan is about 20 years.

The Air 5 isn’t in the air quite yet. Pilots and crews still have two to three months of training to do before it’s fully operational.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Just Posted

Nanaimo RCMP probe fires at Brechin Elementary School

Police say eight fires appear to have been set intentionally

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select routes

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries to be sold on Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

Diary of Anne Frank turned into emotional stage production

Nanaimo Theatre Group director, actors say message relevant today

Actress tells war stories in D-Day remembrance play in Nanaimo

‘Jake’s Gift’ follows a Second World War veteran coping with his past

Man pleads guilty to child porn charges in Nanaimo, Crown alleges 250,000 images

Psychiatric assessment requested by Crown, sentencing to be set June 4 in Nanaimo court

4 victims killed in Penticton shooting spree remembered at vigil

John Brittain, 68, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

Nanaimo Business Awards celebrate an ‘outstanding’ year

Winners were revealed last week at a gala event at the Port Theatre

Undercover cops don’t need warrant to email, text suspected child lurers: court

High court decision came Thursday in the case of Sean Patrick Mills of Newfoundland

Whitecaps fans stage walkout over club’s response to allegations against B.C. coach

Soccer coach has been suspended by Coastal FC since February

Three climbers presumed dead after avalanche in Banff National Park

One of the men is American and the other two are from Europe, according to officials

TSB makes two safety advisories in probe of B.C. train derailment that killed three

The CP Rail train went off the tracks near the B.C.-Alberta border in February

Vancouver Island cat jumps from fourth floor to escape fire

Blueberry was missing after the fire but has been found

VIDEO: Trump tried to seize control of Mueller probe, report says

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report revealed to a waiting nation Thursday

Contaminated soil to stay at contentious Shawnigan Lake site?

Reaction: “The community would lose their minds if this plan proceeds.”

Most Read