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

Year-round training envisioned for Salmon Arm’s Rapattack base

Mayor hopes council’s support of Rapattack will pay off in longevity for base

Letter: Better fix needed than what’s proposed for Balmoral Road/Highway 1 intersection

Province already behind on widening of Trans-Canada Highway

Salmon Arm approved for worker based in Vernon to support homeless

While application to Ministry of Social Development gets nod, one to BC Housing denied

Column: Potentially valuable WorkSafeBC review let down by bias

Notes from the Legislature by Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo

Boil water notice rescinded for Yard Creek Campground

Interior Health water testing shows acceptable levels of bacteria

Trudeau to meet with U.K. and Japanese prime ministers ahead of G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron, this year’s G7 host, has little expectations of a unified front from the leaders

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

UPDATE: Crown cross-examines B.C. father accused of killing daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

In photo: Mount Ida Painters Guild’s works on display

Eleven artists featured in show at Senior Citizens Drop-in Centre, Aug. 23 and 24

Most Read