Frequently Asked Questions for the Helicopter Division
Q. What are the operational hours of the Fairfax County
Police Helicopter Division and what is the helicopter's call
Q. What types of missions does Fairfax 1 fly?
Q. What kind of helicopter does the division fly and how many do they have?
Q. Why is Fairfax 1 circling my neighborhood and how do I find out what is going on?
Q. Does the Fairfax County Police Helicopter Division attempt to reduce helicopter noise?
Q. If there is a helicopter flying over my neighborhood can I assume it is Fairfax 1?
Q. How do crew members interact with the public if they are always in the air?
Q. What if I am a member of the public safety community and I would like a demonstration?
Q. How much trouble can I get into for pointing a laser at the helicopter?
Q. Can I operate an unmanned aircraft (UA/drones) in Fairfax County?
Q. Who do I contact if I have further questions?
A. The Fairfax County Police Helicopter Division maintains a 24-hour, 7 days a week, single-aircraft mission response capability. The standard duty crew is comprised of one pilot and two paramedic qualified flight officers. If you listen to air traffic control for Dulles or National Airport you will routinely hear the crew communicate using the call sign "Fairfax 1."
A. Fairfax 1 provides tactical police aviation support, aeromedical evacuation, search & rescue, and other specialized air support as needed within Fairfax County, and through mutual aid agreements to other jurisdictions within the National Capital Region to enhance public safety and welfare.
A. The Fairfax County Police Helicopter Division maintains two Bell 429 helicopters purchased through funds saved over more than a decade. The helicopters are projected to last approximately 20 years.
A. If the helicopter is circling your neighborhood it is on a mission. You can contact the Fairfax County Department of Public Safety Communications at (703) 691-2131 and they will tell you what type of mission the helicopter is on. The Fairfax County Police Helicopter Division also posts recent missions on their website and that website is updated at least once a week.
A. The crew members take the noise produced by the helicopter into account on every mission flown. The division uses the Helicopter Association International's Fly Neighborly Guide as a model for helicopter noise reduction. Unfortunately, due to mission critical components of certain flights, the crew cannot always adhere to those guidelines.
A. If you are a member of a community organization based in Fairfax County, or a Fairfax County employee working in your official capacity, you can request a demonstration or fly-over. The crew can fly-out to a predetermined location to meet your organization, fly over a special event, or meet your group at the hanger so you can see the helicopter first hand. (Examples include Fairfax County Public Schools, boy scout troops, National Night Out events)
A. The division will provide a demonstration to any public safety agency as long as it is logistically possible. Working with our local, state, and federal partner agencies is vital to our mission and we encourage those partners to contact us anytime.
A. Pointing a laser at any aircraft, helicopter or fixed wing, is a federal crime with a punishment of up to 5 years imprisonment. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest of any individual who aims a laser at aircraft. The reward is available for 90 days in all 56 FBI field offices ( FBI Press Release June 03, 2014).
A. The operation of unmanned aircraft (UA/drones), to include model aircraft, is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Information concerning the operation of UAs can be found on the FAQ section of the FAA website. Additionally, a large portion of Fairfax County is included in the Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ). Further limitations are placed on UA operations inside the FRZ. Information concerning the operation of UAs in the FRZ can be found in NOTAM 0/8326.
Fairfax County Police Helicopter Division
TFO Douglas Middlebrooks, PhD TFO Eric Acevedo
Heliport Direct Line 703-830-3105