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04
LA Helicopters Trains Rwandan Police Pilots for Police Missions

Kigali, Rwanda - The Law Enforcement Division of Los Angeles Helicopters and Akagera Aviation work together to train Rwandan pilots for the Kigali police department. Akagera recently purchased a new Robinson R44 police helicopter and initiated an Airborne Law Enforcement program for Kigali, the capitol city of Rwanda. The ship is turnkey and complete with the latest and most up to date Police equipment including microwave downlink ability and the latest FLIR systems.  

David Baard, Director of Operations for Akagera Aviation contacted Los Angeles Helicopters to negotiate for a highly qualified and skilled pilot with law enforcement experience to travel to Kigali, Rwanda and train five of their police pilots in the use of all the equipment as well as ABLE tactics. Baard was already familiar with Los Angeles Helicopters having visited and worked with LAH back in 2008.
 
After talks between Los Angeles Helicopters and Akagera Aviation took place, LAH police instructor, Officer Jose Barajas traveled to Kigali, Rwanda to spend 10 days working with the police pilots, management and staff at Akagera.  Officer Barajas is a pilot for the El Monte Police Department in El Monte, California.  He has been an officer and pilot flying police missions for over 12 years and has amassed close to 10,000 hours patrolling in the Robinson Police R44.
 
Mountainess terrain, 30 degree Celsius temperatures, few maps and fewer street names are just a few of the challenges faced by the pilots in Kigali.  Despite these challenges, Barajas and the team from Akagera overcame the obstacles and successfully completed the training with high standards.  The inaugural flight of “Police One” flown by Barajas and Baard took off for patrol the night of January 27, 2010.  
 
“The course was exactly what I needed in terms of introduction to the work. We achieved what we needed to. The course was well prepared and presented. The theory was well organized and relevant,” said David Baard.
 
The training was closely monitored by government officials and officer Barajas was asked to present an overview of the program to the Officials at the completion of the course.  In addition, LAH and Akagera are currently in talks regarding future a future vertical reference and long line training program.
 
Akagera Aviation is a well respected helicopter operator in Rwanda with five Robinson R44’s used for varying missions ranging from; charter, scenic flights, aerial photography, advanced training, and survey work.

Los Angeles Helicopters operates out of Long Beach, California. In addition to its Law Enforcement Division, they also offer a professional vertical reference and long line course, as well as training from Private Pilot through to Airline Transport Pilot (ATP).

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