Greetings from The Aero Experience Team


The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Friday, June 17, 2016

2016 Year In Aviation Service: Metro Air Support Police Bring Mission, Helicopter to Missouri Aviation Historical Society Meeting

By Carmelo Turdo
The June Missouri Aviation Historical Society welcomed the Metro Air Support Police helicopter and crew along with former unit commander Kurt Frisz to Creve Coeur Airport in St. Louis County Thursday evening.  Frisz, currently the Wentzville, MO Chief of Police, was instrumental in developing the tri-county Metro Air Support unit now in service with St. Louis City and neighboring St. Louis County and St. Charles County.  He gave a concise history of aviation in law enforcement, dating back to 1914 when the Miaimi Police Department used a 1914 Curtiss flying boat to apprehend a robbery suspect hiding on a boat.  Today, the Metro Air Support unit is a model for medium-sized metropolitan areas for using aircraft to assist ground units in apprehending suspects, performing search and rescue and transporting critical personnel and items in the shortest possible time across three counties.

The St. Louis County aviation support services were initiated in 1971 using three Bell 47 helicopters.  The air operations continued, making their current home at Spirit of St. Louis Airport in 1981.  In the mid 1980s, budget cuts reduced the air support unit to two pilots, later including Kurt Frisz, and the MD-500 (Model 369) became the standard aircraft type.  In 2003, Frisz became the support unit commander, and he visited the Los Angeles County Police Department to learn from their experience operating a large air support unit.  Shortly thereafter, he initiated the planning for a metro St. Louis area air support unit that would later grow to six aircraft.  Federal block grants following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks helped in the purchase of additional MD-500 aircraft and systems upgrades including night vision, FLIR and 30 million candlepower search light.  Today, the unit trains its own pilots, flies 3,000+ hours per year and has several aircraft flying pro-active patrols within the 1500 square mile area.  Each pilot and observer flies at least four hours per day/night shift and are fully qualified law enforcement officers from one of the three sponsoring agencies on a mixed crew basis.

Following a briefing from Kurt Frisz, the aircraft arrived around dusk and the crew were available to visit with the meeting attendees before returning to base.  Here are some views from the helicopter arrival, static display and takeoff Thursday evening:


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