Damaged police chopper to be inspected in US

The damaged helicopter has been wrapped up for delivery to Louisiana. - Photo: RCIPS

The police helicopter that was damaged in February during takeoff is being sent to the United States for an assessment on the extent and nature of repairs that need to be made on the vehicle.

The EC135 helicopter was wrapped and delivered to the port on Tuesday to be shipped to Houston, and then to Louisiana for the assessment at an approved repair station with the manufacturer, Airbus.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service received a new US$11 million Airbus H145 helicopter in March, and are in discussions with insurers about the damaged one. The 1999 model helicopter had a projected useful life of about five years when it arrived in Cayman in early 2010 and by now has gone well beyond that date.

However, a thorough – and expensive – maintenance regime kept the vehicle in peak condition over the years. Before the helicopter was damaged in February, RCIPS Air Support Unit commanders expect it to last at least another five years on patrol. Between 2013 and 2017, the Cayman Islands government spent a total of $2.1 million on maintenance for the aircraft – averaging just more than $425,000 per year.

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