Onondaga Co. Sheriff's Office finds new home for Air-1

Sheriff's Helicopter now being housed at Hancock Field with 174th Attack Wing

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - Start getting use to seeing Onondaga County's Air-1 Sheriff's helicopter taking off and landing at Hancock airport.

The Sheriff's Office has struck a deal with the 174th Attack Wing to house the chopper at the Air National Guard’s Hancock Field base.

Onondaga County Sheriff Gene Conway tells NewsChannel 9, "The fact that there's not a lot of places for us to bring the helicopter made this opportunity with the airbase basically a one of a kind situation for us."

With the building in serious disrepair the department has been looking for some time now for a place to house its most expensive asset.

Sheriff Conway says, “We know that when we leave at the end of their shift, the pilots, its not only in a well maintained facility but it's a much, much more secure facility then certainly we had at Amboy."

He says Air-1 still does come out to its old Amboy home to get fuel.  The system there is too old to move to Hancock Field.

The Sheriff says they are looking for grant money to buy new fuel tanks and lines to fill up the chopper out at Hancock Field.

The only cost to Onondaga County to keep Air-1 at the base is that of utilities.

The program for Air-1 stays the same despite its new home, flying about 600 hours per year.  It’s staffed 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

The only thing different for flight crews, for now, is getting used to flying in and out of such a busy airfield like Hancock which is unique with both military and commercial aircraft using it.

Sheriff Conway says, "Coming in and out of the helicopter might take a few more minutes but the tradeoff is just so great for us to be able to be here and have the facilities we have, the partnership with the 174th."

With the State Police now housing its chopper for the region in Rochester Air-1 is the only law enforcement helicopter for several miles around Conway says.

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