REDDING,Calif. - The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has a couple of brand new helicopters in Redding to cover 13 Northern California counties. The helicopters are just now going into service after the pilots have been training on them for the last month.
KRCR News Channel 7's Mike Mangas got to ride along with CHP Friday where they showed him some of the capabilities of the upgraded Airbus B-3 Echo.
"We have an upgraded infrared and video camera. It also has an infrared laser on it so we can see the laser with our night vision goggles so we can track vehicles with the laser and see where the camera is pointing the laser as well as on the TV screen," said CHP Officer Shawn Bainbridge.
Bainbridge said the Echo also has new touch screen which enables them to search and choose from various types of maps. Bainbridge added the helicopters are used primarily for search and rescue so the new technology really helps.
Mike Mangas and the CHP flew over Manzanita Elementary School, did a security check of Shasta Dam, observed a traffic stop by a Redding police officer, and saw Mt. Shasta from a distance. Bainbridge said Mt. Shasta is a summertime rescue hotspot.
"There's some years we've done six rescues in one day on Mt. Shasta. And other times, maybe four or five. Mt. Shasta is it's own animal as far as weather, and it's generally altitude, so those rescues are a little bit more exciting," said Bainbridge.