The new Air 5 RCMP helicopter was unveiled Thursday in Langley. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance)

New ‘workhorse’ police helicopter named for pilot who died in Fraser Valley crash

The new Air 5 chopper is named for David John Brolin.

The new Air 5 RCMP helicopter was officially unveiled in Langley, dedicated to a pilot who died in a training crash seven years ago in Chilliwack.

The brand new H145 Airbus helicopter is larger and has more bells and whistles than other local police helicopters, including longer range cameras, a hoist that can haul up rescue victims or allow ERT members to rappel down, space for two stretchers in the back, and simplified computerized displays for the pilot.

• READ MORE: RCMP release name of helicopter pilot killed in crash near Chilliwack

But Cpl. Curtis Brassington, the tactical flight officer, choked up when talking about one particular feature – the name and call sign, which are in honour of the late civilian pilot Dave Brolin.

Brolin’s initials form (DJB) the last three letters of the aircraft’s call sign, and “The Spirit of Holidave” has been written on the side of the helicopter, after Brolin’s nickname.

Compared to the smaller and lighter Air 1 and Air 2 helicopters often seen over the Lower Mainland, the new Air 5 is more of a “workhorse,” according to the RCMP officials on hand for the unveiling.

It will be based out of the RCMP hangar in Langley, but will operate province-wide. With its twin-engine design – a first for an RCMP helicopter in B.C. – it can travel over water by night, and is also capable of dropping off patients directly at hospital helicopter landing pads.

Asked about recent noisy training flights that disrupted sleep for people in Cloverdale and parts of Langley, Brassington noted that those were done using a B3 helicopter borrowed from Edmonton for training.

“We have been operational at night for the last 13 years,” Brassington said.

He noted that the new H145 Airbus should not only be quieter than the B3 being used for training, it should be quieter than the current smaller Air 1 and Air 2 helicopters.

“Will we be doing training in Willoughby?” Brassington said. “We may!”

They do their training in areas where they may have to work, which includes urban and suburban areas, he noted.

The Air 5 cost $13.4 million, funded 70 per cent by the province and 30 per cent by Ottawa. It’s expected operational lifespan is about 20 years.

The Air 5 isn’t in the air quite yet. Pilots and crews still have two to three months of training to do before it’s fully operational.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

LSS students lift each other up for Anti Bullying Day

Schools across the nation come together to unite against bullying on Feb. 26

Inked magazine cover hopeful receiving strong local voting support

Chemainus Secondary grad and Ladysmith resident a strong contender for the top prize

LSS improv teams finish second in Vancouver Island competition

GISS from Salt Spring Island will advance to the national competition

Saskia and Darrel deliver high volume of Canadian content

Songs with great storylines to be featured in Chemainus performance

VIDEO: One person treated for minor burns in Crofton fire

Firefighters were called out at 7 a.m. to a blaze at the Twin Gables Motel

Rail disruptions expected to continue after new protest sites emerge

Nationwide rail and road blockades have been popping up for weeks

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

COLUMN: Forestry no longer close to top of B.C.’s economy

Our reactions to a forestry downturn reflect the past, not the present

Caught on camera: Police release video of man who allegedly stole seaplane in Vancouver

Police say the man broke into the Harbour Air terminal and then got into one of the seaplanes in the harbour

51 health professionals send letter to Trudeau, Horgan panning northern B.C. pipeline

They point to studies about the health and climate change risks from pipeline

Fake meat and a latte? Starbucks adds Beyond Meat in Canada

The Seattle roaster has talked about introducing plant-based patties in the U.S., but has yet to do so

Groundhogs got it wrong: spring isn’t coming soon, Weather Network says

The only part of B.C. to warm up early will be Victoria

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Most Read