TOMBALL, Texas — Police in Texas have given traffic enforcement and surveillance helicopters a new rival: The gyroplane.
Using a rear-mounted propeller for speed and an angled rotor to create lift, the roofless, doorless vehicle can hit speeds of up to 115 mph, according to Popular Science. It needs a little more than a hundred yards to take off, and it ascends into the air at a rate of 13 feet per second.
For their Auto-Gyro MTOsport model, the Tomball Police Department paid $75,000 — a fraction of the cost of a helicopter. Operating costs are approximately $50 per hour since it runs on regular pump gas, and it should help out police forces in underserved areas like Tomball.
According to the chief of police, the gyroplane is equal to the deployment of 20 officers.