An important segment to complete the cycle of air care in several Brazilian states, the fixed-wing fleet of public security organizations suffers with the lack of more appropriate models to handle some police and rescue missions.
By João Paulo Moralez
Of the 26 federative units of Brazil and the Federal District (Brasilia), all of them in general are equipped with some public security air service. The missions and activities extend to flights to combat organized crime, police air support, rescue, firefighters, organ transport, injured, sick, intelligence gathering and others.
The helicopter is already well spread and consolidated in public safety, being present for more than 34 years in the country. The types adopted by the police and firefighters are, in general, suitable for that mission. However, fixed-wing aviation still suffers with few copies and models in service, with many imposing limitations on public safety air activity due to its category.
Today only 14 states have a mixed fleet of helicopters and airplanes, in addition to Brasilia and other federal bodies that also operate with airplanes and helicopters. Of these, only five are located in the North and Central-West, regions that have 10 States in total and that, due to natural geographical features, have less road and airport infrastructure.
The fixed-wing aviation fleet is around 25 specimens, most of which consist of types such as the Piper Seneca, Cessna 182, Cessna 206, Cessna 210 and Beech 58 Baron. A few states own the Cessna Caravan and the King Air.
“Although Brazil has more than 4,000 airports, being the second largest in the world, behind the United States, less than 20% have paved runways. The North and Central-West regions are the ones that most concentrate infrastructure problems when talks about approved airports with dimensions that allow the landing of aircraft of greater capacity and power, so important elements such as supply, guidance and navigation services, easy access to roads, emergency equipment in case of an accident, become problems of infrastructure still to be solved The reality of these regions is totally different from that of São Paulo There is no capillary road network like in the South and Southeast regions and the weather is usually much hotter, nor is there much support for navigation and, in certain regions, there are no references for visual navigation, due to the extensive forest regions. Decuados are in much smaller number and allied to the shortage of supply points, the distances of the flight sections become a very serious problem, being perhaps the main challenge for the planning of the missions “, explained Carlos Eduardo Falconi, Colonel of the Reserve of the Military Police of the State of São Paulo and police helicopter pilot, having commanded the Air Radio Patrol Group of the Military Police of the State of São Paulo and today being president of the Brazilian Association of Aeromedical Operators (ABOA).
In general, police aviation is a highly complex activity because it involves, in most missions, emergency actions where response time can be the difference between success and failure. Efforts and coordination between the various actors involved in the same scenario should be made as efficiently as possible to ensure good results. “The performance of fixed-wing aviation, therefore, needs the complement of this surveillance modality, as well as rotary-wing aircraft to give the necessary mobility that will allow the success of the mission,” Colonel PM Falconi completed. .
However, much of the fixed-wing aviation fleet in public security services comes from apprehension by federal authorities, mainly because they have been used in criminal activities of smuggling and drug trafficking. Or by judicial deposit, while awaiting the resolution of some judicial process to know the fate of that good. Thus, in most cases, they are smaller, single-engine aircraft without much power.
Because they have not been chosen according to technical criteria, but because they are the option available at the moment, the aircraft operated in the public security activity end up providing more limited support in these types of missions.
In the transport of patients, for example, it is necessary to have more internal space for the boarding of stretchers, a nurse or doctor (or both) and more some support equipment if necessary. This type of flight also requires greater speed and agility in travel, greater robustness for landing on unpaved or shorter tracks, greater engine power to make operation safer in hot and humid environments and with lower fuel consumption for that the plane can fulfill longer flights or in more remote places without relying on refueling in isolated areas. “The PM of São Paulo also had, in its history, this characteristic (of using small, single-engine and seizure aircraft), but for a decade operating a King Air B-200 GT aircraft, pressurized aircraft that can fly to levels higher and that it can land on dirt tracks with small dimensions. Thus, I understand that police aviation needs to modernize its fleet focusing on aircraft with these characteristics, “Colonel PM Falconi concludes.