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California Highway Patrol’s newest helicopter to provide advanced air missions

California Highway Patrol says it will begin assisting the Coachella Valley with its newest premier aircraft as soon as next week.

With a state of the art system as far as helicopters go, the 2021 Airbus H125 will provide air support in and around the Coachella Valley where it is needed.

This new helicopter is the 11th of the 15 helicopters CHP is replacing throughout the state.

It can travel straight at 180 miles per hour, reach up to 23,000 feet, has advanced technology regarding its optics flir technology, and even has a rescue hoist.

All of these features will help conduct missions in the treacherous parts of the Coachella Valley.

The aircraft has an autopilot feature that can be turned on in the event the aircraft flies through sand or clouds. The autopilot helps the helicopter adjust and fly itself to where it needs to go.

It can even land itself in the event the helicopter experiences engine failure.

One of its other updated features is the advanced camera system that has the ability to pick up heat signatures. This would be most beneficial when providing support in capturing a suspect on the ground or finding search and rescue victims in the mountains.

The camera can spot anyone and anything from 500 to 1,000 feet, and be zoomed in on with a clear shot.

Last year CHP says it conducted 97 rescue missions in the Coachella Valley region last year alone. Now with these missions, the helicopter will be able to transport victims directly to the hospital. This will even be done without a hefty bill attached to the ride.

One of the aircraft's seats if capable of being removed, where a gurney is able to lay on one side of the helicopter. At least one of the helicopter pilots will always be a paramedic, and able to attend to someone in the event they need care.

CHP aircrews in Thermal are currently finishing up a 2.5 week training. After October 20 the helicopter will be put to use around the Coachella Valley.

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Crystal Jimenez

Crystal Jimenez is a new reporter who joined the KESQ News Channel 3 team in June 2021. Learn more about Crystal here.

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