The Leon County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Section operates three Bell 206B3 Jet Ranger helicopters and is the primary aviation unit for the region. The section is staffed by five pilots all of which hold at a FAA commercial helicopter pilot certificates. Three of the pilots are also certified helicopter flight instructors. The Director of Aircraft Maintenance holds a FAA airframe and powerplant certificate with inspection authorization and manages all aircraft inspections and maintenance.
Mission equipment installed on the aircraft include FLIR (Forward Looking Infra-Red) camera, color video camera, digital video recorder, real time video downlink transmitter, high power searchlight, mission management/mapping computer, gyro stabilized binoculars. An extensive multi band radio package allows instant radio communications with all Sheriff’s offices, police departments, state agencies, and fire departments in the area. Night vision goggles allow air crews to safely operate over the darkest areas of the county including the Apalachicola National Forrest.
Missions performed by the aviation section include:
Assist uniform patrol and other specialized units
Searches for fleeing suspects
Searches for lost or missing persons
Searches for missing or overdue aircraft or boaters
SWAT team deployment
VIP security / escort
Flood / storm damage assessment
Aerial larvicide (mosquito) spraying
Power line / electric facility thermal inspection
Radiation / nuclear detection