The Air Force’s last operational UH-1H Iroquois helicopter, more commonly known as Huey, was recently transferred to New York State Police’s aviation unit as part of the Law Enforcement Support Organization Program at Hurlburt Field, Fla., June 5.
The program’s purpose is to identify excess assets that are no longer in use by the Air Force, and have been requested by U.S. civilian law enforcement agencies.
“It was a great opportunity for (Air Force Special Operations Command) to be able to give a helicopter like this to the law enforcement support agency supporting New York State Police aviation,” said Ben S. Harton Jr., the aerospace vehicle distribution officer for AFSOC.
NYSP Aviation crewmen arrived a week before the flight to see the Huey, and start the transfer of the helicopter with systems checks and small test flights to ensure the plane’s readiness for departure.
“It’s a great program; we’re getting a great piece of equipment from the military that’s being phased out because it not being used anymore,” said Phil Napolitano, the NYSP Aviation crew’s chief pilot. “When you buy an aircraft like this nowadays (new), you’re talking millions of dollars.”
The Huey is slated to be used primarily for utility, cargo and search and rescue missions because of its high cargo capacity, Napolitano said. The crew is scheduled to fly the helicopter to Latham, N.Y., making frequent stops along the way to check the status of the NYSP’s newest Huey addition.