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OPP spruces up its fleet

May 27, 2011  By Matt Nicholls

May 27, 2011, Orillia, Ont. - Residents in Ontario are even safer today thanks to the acquisition of two new helicopters to its aging fleet.

OPP chief pilot Brian Paul is
impressed with the way the
technologically advanced EC135
maneuvers in the air.

At a spirited ceremony at Ontario Provincial Police headquarters in Orillia, OPP commissioner Chris Lewis accepted the delivery of two Eurocopter EC135 helicopters, which will replace the OPP’s aging fleet of Twin Star helicopters it acquired in 1991.

“The officers of OPP aviation services play a critical role in combating crime and helping to keep our communities safe,” said the Hon. Jim Bradley, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. Bradley was one of several high profile dignitaries at the event, including Eurocopter Canada president/CEO Guy Joannes; Chris Lewis, Commissioner of the OPP; and former OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino.

The EC135 is one of the most popular helicopters in the world and is highly suited for a law enforcement role for a number of reasons, says OPP chief pilot Brian Paul. With its low noise rating, reduced maintenance needs, cost effectiveness, high tech cockpit, tremendous visibility and versatility, “it’s an excellent fit for the OPP. It’s also very adaptable, technologically advanced and highly maneuverable,” he says.

The Opp's new Eurocopter EC135 is perfectly suited for the multi-task world of law enforcement.


Over the past 20 years, OPP pilots have logged a combined total flying time of approximately 20,000 hours (or about 106 trips around the world at the equator) on the retiring Twin Stars. Commissioner Lewis says the Twin Stars served the force well for close to 20 years, four years more than their perceived life span of a fleet. The new EC135’s will be used for a variety of roles including search and rescue (approximately 65 per cent of operations), surveillance, drug eradication, searches, suspect apprehension pursuits and regional traffic and crime initiatives. The helicopters will be based in Orillia and Sudbury.

 Several honourable guests helped
introduce the OPP's new EC135
aircraft in Orilla May 27: (from left)
Guy Joannes, President/CEO
Eurocopter Canada; Chris Lewis,
Commissioner, OPP; Jim Bradley,
Minister of Community Safety and
Correctional Services; Julian Fantino,
Retired Commissioner, OPP.

“Whether for search and rescue operations or surveillance or other law enforcement functions, the acquisition of these new helicopters will ensure our pilots will continue to be prepared, ready and able to carry out their duties in the service or the people of Ontario in the best traditions of the Ontario Provincial Police,” Lewis said.

Eurocopter is a leading choice for law enforcement operations in Canada – 18 out of the 22 police helicopters in the skies in this country are made by Eurocopter.


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