County Police Chopper Kept Flying By One of Nation’s Best Mechanics


Metro Air Unit Has Never Had A Mechanical Failure
By John Auble
January 28, 2010

CLAYTON, MO (KTVI - - When police call for a helicopter, the "metro air unit" responds with state-of-the-art crime fighting equipment. But, they also carry the expertise of a man who has developed a national reputation for keeping them flying. Some call him the "wizard of the whirlybirds."


Police get new crime-fighting, rescue tool

Capt. Kurt Frisz, left, Col. Tim Fitch, Sheriff Tom Neer and Col. Daniel Isom unveil their new crime-fighting and rescue tool.

The St. Louis Metro Air Support Unit has another tool in its crime fighting quiver that also doubles as a search and rescue tool.

The unit bought a 2009 MD500E, made by MD Helicopters Inc., for $1.5 million in grant money through an Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Homeland Security grant, along with the St. Louis Area Regional Response System (STARRS).


Eyes in the Sky: Jurisdictions Combine to Improve Helicopter Patrols

Pilot Jim Hilderbrand performs a pre-flight check on a St. Louis County helicopter before flying his shift. (Rick Graefe photo/Suburban Journals)

Helicopter pilot Jim Hilderbrand is none too happy with the outcome of the evening's events. He openly expressed his feelings as he settled in for a late-night cup of coffee in the ARCH Air Medical Headquarters break room.

What's got the St. Louis County police helicopter pilot so frustrated is that moments earlier, a suspect he was chasing by air apparently had eluded police capture ... for now, anyway.

"We did what we could. You're too hard on yourself, brother," his co-pilot, Korey Kline, reassured him.