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East Flagler Mosquito Control District Welcomes New Helicopter

L-R: Pilot T.C. Cunha, Mosquito Control Commissioners Mike Martin and Ralph Lightfoot, Senior Field Tech Rob Fisch, and Mosquito Control Director Mark Positano. ⓒ East Flagler Mosquito Control District

The East Flagler Mosquito Control District has a new toy: the agency welcomed its new Airbus H-125 helicopter on Thursday, the much-anticipated successor to the previous, two-decade-old Bell 206B Jet Ranger that was previously in use. Those involved with the District are confident this newest acquisition will greatly expand the treatment capabilities of their aerial program.

The Airbus arrived at the District headquarters a bit before 3:00 pm on Thursday, where it was welcomed by staff, elected Mosquito Control commissioners, and family members. Photos were taken and personnel began preparing to get the copter into service.

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How the Helicopter Will Be Used

Those questioning the necessity of the purchase, an inevitability whenever a government agency acquires expensive hardware, had their concerns addressed by Mike Martin, Chairman of the East Flagler Mosquito Control Commission. “Experts agree that the mosquito remains the world’s deadliest animal,” Martin said. “With the District’s recent expansion, the need for an aircraft that could maintain the District’s level of service is crucial.”

The aerial program of the East Flagler Mosquito Control District is composed of three main elements, as laid out in their Friday statement: surveillance, larviciding, and adulticiding. The range of the Airbus H-125 (around 400 miles) will provide the District an expanded ability to survey the potential of mosquitoes to populate in standing water bodies, pinpointing where treatment is most necessary.

The new Airbus H-125 above the Mosquito Control headquarters. ⓒ East Flagler Mosquito Control District

Larviciding and adulticiding, as their names suggest, targets mosquitoes at different stages of life. Larvicide operations take place during the day, in which District staff say they can eliminate immature mosquitoes in water with no impact to other wildlife that inhabits those spaces. Adulticide is carried out after dark, in which the Airbus will help staff eliminate mature, airborne mosquitoes.

“The East Flagler Mosquito Control District is dedicated to protecting the public from mosquito-borne diseases and improving the quality of life for its constituents,” the District said in their announcement. “Safety is at the forefront of all operations conducted by the District. The Airbus H-125 is equipped with the latest safety features, including avionics and automated systems, as well as an impact resistant fuel tank to provide the highest level of safety for both the flight crew and the public.”

Airbus H-125’s Specs and History

The Airbus H-125 is a single-engine light utility helicopter which debuted in 1975. Its model, the Eurocopter AS350 Écureuil was designed and constructed by a coalition of French, German, Brazilian, and other European engineers. It’s still a popular model for government operations, also being used by police departments in Miami, Philadelphia, San Diego, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Washington D.C. among others. It’s also used by the Alaska State Troopers, California Highway Patrol, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Outside the United States, the Airbus H-125 is also in use by the Icelandic Coast Guard, Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, U.K. Empire Test Pilots School, Russian Aerospace Forces, and Royal Canadian Mounted Police among several others across the globe.

The model’s D-value (the length from the top of the main rotor blade to the tip of the tail rotor) is 42.25 feet, with a rotor diameter of 35.07 feet and cabin internal volume of 105.94 cubic feet. The model can be built to accommodate up to 6 passengers in addition to one or two pilots. It has a maximum takeoff weight of 4,960 pounds, and a standard fuel tank capacity of 937 pounds. It can ascend to a maximum altitude of 23,000 feet, over four miles off the ground. Its maximum cruise speed is 136 knots, or just over 156 miles per hour. All data is per the Airbus H-125 technical information page.

Written By

Chris Gollon is a Flagler County resident since 2004, as well as a staple of the local independent music scene and avid observer of Central Florida politics, arts, and recreation.

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