STEVENSVILLE, Md. (AP) — An unusual aircraft is taking to the skies over the Eastern Shore.

The Queen Anne’s County sheriff’s office says it is flying patrols with a gyroplane, which is part helicopter and part airplane, under a Department of Justice grant.

Sheriff R.G. Hofmann III told The Star Democrat of Easton that the gyroplane can be operated for about $50 an hour, compared to about $900 an hour for a helicopter.

Deputy Bill Schepleng is piloting the gyroplane for the county.

He says the two-seat, open cockpit aircraft is comparable to a helicopter, does well in windy conditions and can stay up in the air for as long as three hours.

Williams says the Justice Department is providing the aircraft to the county for about a year.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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