Welcome to the Lake County
Sheriff's Office Aviation Unit located at Leesburg Regional Airport Leesburg, Florida.
The Aviation Unit consists of three Army OH-58 helicopters that were
purchased by the Sheriff through the Army Surplus Re-utilization Program.
Each aircraft was received in airworthy condition with histories of
excellent maintenance. A small administrative fee of $200.00 was
expended by the Sheriff's Office. This type of aircraft if purchased
new would cost approximately $900,000.00.
Obtaining the helicopters through the
military has also qualified us to enroll in the Government 1122 program.
This allows us to purchase new aircraft parts at a considerable discount.
An example is, Main Rotor Tension Straps, if purchased direct from a
commercial vendor they are approximately $6,000.00 per set. Purchase
price through the 1122 program is $820.00. We have similar savings
when purchasing fuel.
AVAILABILITY & CALLOUTS:
The helicopters are on a "ready" basis, 24
hours a day, seven days a week. Typical calls for service include
overdue boaters, missing Alzheimer's patients, late or lost hikers,
warrants, and additional flights to help maintain the safety of our Lake
County Residents and visitors.
Each pilot is required to obtain a FAA Commercial
Pilot License at their own expense on off duty time before being considered
for a full time pilot position. This process can take up to one year
to complete and a considerable financial investment. Flight Observers complete an in-house training
program that includes aircraft safety, radio communications and aircraft
ground handling. Each Flight Observer also completes extensive
training on the use of the Forward Looking Infra-Red Camera System.
With the assistance of Forward Looking Infra-Red
Camera, Night Vision Goggles, and a 30 million-candle power searchlight, we
have been very successful in all aspects of our commitment to serve the
needs of Lake County Residents and Visitors.