Reporting Monique Griego
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Maryland State Police (MSP) take the first step toward replacing their aging fleet of medevac helicopters. The first brand new chopper is on display.
Monique Griego has more on the big change.
These new medevac helicopters are a lot bigger and completely state-of-the-art. In 2008, the need for a new fleet was highlighted after a crash that killed four people.
September 2008: A Maryland state rescue helicopter goes down near Andrews Air Force Base with five people on board. Four of them were killed in the crash.
The mother of one of the paramedics that was killed spoke out on Friday at Martin State Airport.
“They went out to save lives and they gave their life trying to save somebody else,” Wilma Lippy said.
Bad weather and poor communication with air traffic controllers was blamed for the accident. And the crash highlighted the need for a new fleet.
“If we took it upon ourselves to take a good, hard look at our program and say, ‘What can we do to improve?’” Lt. Walter Kerr of MSP Aviation said.
Friday, Maryland State Police unveiled the first of a new set of helicopters that will replace an aging fleet.
Ten of the current 11 are more than 20 years old and this new model is state-of-the-art.
“The instrumentation that the pilots will be using, the things will help them avoid other aircrafts, to be able to fly in inadvertent weather,” Lt. Kerr said.
State leaders say this new fleet will allow state police to do their job more effectively and hopefully, help avoid future tragedies.
“Technology that’s on board this aircraft makes our job much safer,” Lt. Kerr said.
“It’s just a shame they didn’t have this four years ago,” Lippy said.
These new aircrafts are still waiting for approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) but the MSP tells WJZ that could happen any day now.