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Sheriff's Office - Charleston County, South Carolina
Air Support Unit

In case of an Emergency dial 911



Chief Pilot W. Britt

Phone: (843) 745-2297


The Air Support Unit provides a full-range of airborne law enforcement support to the Sheriff's Office patrol and specialized units. Also, as the only full-time airborne law enforcement unit on the coast of South Carolina, it routinely provides assistance to every local, state, and federal agency operating in the tri-county area. The unit is actively engaged in homeland security operations and supports Project Seahawk, a multi-agency task force, headed by the U.S. Attorney General's Office, which is responsible for security operations in the Port of Charleston.

It is manned by three full-time pilots and ten collateral duty flight observers from the surrounding agencies. All pilots have a Commercial Certificate with Instrument Rating and fly at night using the AN/AVS-9 Pinnacle Night Vision Goggles. At all times, a crew is "on call" to quickly respond to a call for service.

The unit operates both rotary and fixed wing aircraft. Two surplus military OH-58A+ helicopters are used to support the daily law enforcement missions. Primarily, these missions include patrol, pursuits, fugitive searches, missing persons, drownings, overdue boaters, search and rescue, marijuana eradication, ship escorts, reconnaissance and photo, homeland security missions, and aerial backup during traffic stops, disturbances, and domestics. Each helicopter has the following specialized equipment: FLIR U8000 with Laser Pointer, AVM 4090 Color Monitor, AVR8000 Video Recorder with remote keypad, TFM-138B VHF radio, GNS430 GPS/Communications radio, KLX-135 GPS/Communications radio, BMS Microwave Downlink System, and the SX-5 Nightsun searchlight. The PA-31-310 Navajo multi-engine airplane is used primarily to extradite prisoners from areas in the eastern U.S. It is also used to perform surveillance at night or along the coast, and to transport specialized cargo and law enforcement officers. It is a fully-equipped Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) certified aircraft with dual VOR Navigation Radios, GNS530 GPS/Communications radio, Distance Measuring Equipment (DME), and autopilot.



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