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How to help air support help you

Submitted by Kenneth Solosky, P1 Aviation Columnist

When ground officers are working with aviation unit aircraft, keep in mind the perspective of the airborne officer is significantly different than the ground officer. It is best to direct an airborne unit with directions of the compass and distance instead of a particular street address. For example, “fly a quarter mile south” is much better than “we are in front of 325 Chestnut St”.

In addition, particularly at a large incident, don’t say “come to the location where all the flashing lights are” because there could be two or more locations that are visible to the aircrew with flashing lights!

Finally, when an aircraft arrives at an incident they might appear to just “fly by.” In most cases, the aircrew is conducting a “safety” reconnaissance in order to check for any hazards such as wires, towers etc. If the arriving police aircraft is a helicopter and they need to hover, the aircrew needs to know the wind direction as well.

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