July 20th was a special day in Fort Myers with a visit from the President. And while small airplanes were grounded
in the area, some of our friends from the Sheriff's Department got a very special assignment ....
The arrival of the President of the United States is a big deal for any area,
but especially for those who are on the protection detail. The President has his own Secret Service, but they also employ
the local law enforcement to assist in the duties of protecting the President. We are fortunate to have a friend who works
on the helicopter for the Sheriff's Department and who was wing tip to roter blade with Air Force One as it arrived in Fort
Myers. Please enjoy his photo's of the arrival of Air Force One in Fort Myers, FL. Also are photos of the cargo C-17s that
assist with cargo and Presidential support. One of the planes broke a windshield and was down for repairs so another was sent
in its place.
So we are learning about the role of the Sheriff Department helicopters and
we are offered a facilities tour. Of course we jumped at the chance and headed off to the Sheriffs' hangar to see the array
of toys and to get an up close and personal look at how they catch the bad guys. There are 3 aircraft at the hangar: 2 AS
350 helicopters and a Cessna 210, each is equipped with an array of cameras, spot lights, low jack receiver and
sophisticated surveillance equipment. They put the APU on to light up the 210 to give us a demonstration of the heat sensing
equipment. We followed the "company cat", Rusty, through out the hangar, both with the camera and the heat sensing
FLIR. I was quite amazed to see how sensitive the FLIR actually was. You could hold your hand on the side of a helicopter,
remove your hand and the image of the hand (where it slightly heated the metal of the aircraft) would be visible for a short
period of time. There were differences in the heat absorption of the paint on the helicopter and the tail numbers vinyl lettering.
You could see where the cell phone or other items were located in a pocket of a flight suit. The building had heat signatures
too: the water bottles were cool; the electrical chords were warm; electric motors running various items of equipment were
warm; door seals were cool; roof beams were warm, etc. It was fascinating. We also saw the helmets with the night vision equipment
- all very heavy and enough to make my head fall off of my neck. The bad guys do not stand a chance!
the tour of the facilities over at the Lee County Mosquito Control Hangars where we saw their arsinal of DC-3's, Jet Ranger
and Heuy helicopters, a King Air and an OV10 Bronco. Just as the bad guys do not stand chance against the Sheriffs,
the mosquitos are doomed vs. Lee County Mosquto Control!