COLUMBUS and JACKSON — Captain Ron Kelly of the Mississippi Highway Patrol Air Wing recently accepted delivery of a Mississippi-made Airbus Helicopters Inc. AS350 B3e AStar, produced for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS).
Kelly, commander of the Highway Patrol Air Wing, said the AS350 B3e, which was built in Columbus, was clearly the best aircraft for the department’s missions. “We considered price first, and Airbus had the best. Equally as important, we considered the functionality of the aircraft. Airbus’ cockpit design is better for our mission-specific operation. We also considered performance and payload capability, and this model beat the competition.”
“I’m delighted that our home state will now own one of our aircraft,” said Sam Adcock, vice president and general manager of the AHI Columbus facility. “Our employees work hard and have a strong sense of ownership in producing the highest quality helicopters. They will be proud to point to this aircraft with the Mississippi Highway Patrol paint scheme, and claim it as one of our own.”
Mississippi DPS sold its aging helicopter fleet to provide funding for the purchase of the new AS350 B3e.
The AS350 B3e has a multi-mission capability for patrol, drug eradication and hurricane support. More than 220 Airbus Helicopters AS350 AStars are operated by U.S. law enforcement agencies.