Few bids received from chopper pilots

Three companies have successfully
bid for helicopter piloting services for the Royal Cayman Islands Police
Service patrol helicopter – due to arrive in the Islands later this year.

According to officials with the
Central Tenders Committee, two UK-based firms submitted proposals for piloting
services that were not accepted because they came in too late.

The Cayman
Islands government, in mid-December, sought tenders for qualified
helicopter pilots ahead of the planned arrival of the long-awaited police chopper.

The aircraft was due to arrive in
January, but it had not gotten to the Islands
by press time.  

The two-year contract – with a
possible two year extension – was advertised overseas as well as locally.

Central Tenders Committee Chairman
Ronnie Dunn declined to state whether the three successfully submitted bids
were from local or overseas companies. The only known helicopter pilot who
meets the tender specifications and currently resides here is Cayman Islands
Helicopters owner Jerome Begot.

Eligibility will be determined by
whether the service provider holds a current business licence, either in the Cayman Islands, or in the overseas jurisdiction they are
based in.

In addition, any pilots used will
be required to have at least 2,000 hours helicopter flying experience, with at
least 1,500 hours as the pilot in command of the aircraft. The pilot or pilots
will also posses 200 hours in night flying experience, with 50 hours as the
pilot in command.

The pilot or pilots will also have
to hold a valid commercial helicopter pilot’s licence and have an additional
1,000 hours of experience in a rotor wing twin turbine aircraft.

It is still unclear when exactly
the 1999 Eurocopter EC135 T1 model helicopter will be getting to the Cayman Islands. Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis
told the Legislative Assembly in October that the aircraft was expected to
arrive in January.

The chopper has been housed at a
storage facility in Louisiana, USA since late
2007.

It was purchased in July 2007 for
CI $1.8 million for a UK
police service.

Lengthy delays in the tendering
process have led to the belated arrival of the Eurcopter, which was once
scheduled to come to the Cayman Islands in September
2007.  

A September 2009 arrival date was
pushed back again because tendering for maintenance and storage hadn’t been completed,
according to Deputy Chief Secretary Franz Manderson.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police
Service currently contracts with Cayman Islands Helicopters for use of its
vehicle in certain operations. The private service otherwise uses its craft for
aerial tours around the Islands.

LOCALpolicehelicoperSTORY

A photo of the new RCIPS helicopter.
File

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