Hungarian Police Aviation Service
In 1950 a unit of aeronautical professionals to control civil aviation and perform police flight duties was established. The first aircraft in its inventory was a Czechoslovak M-1C Sokol. This M-1C Sokol was followed by a Super Aero 45 in the early 60’s. Only a few years later a L-200D Morava followed and in the end of the 60’s a PZL-104 was added to its inventory. This PZL-107 replaced the Super Aero 45. In 1970 a new type was added, a Zlin Z-43. This Zlin was the replacement for the L-200D Morava. It was 1974 when the first helicopters were added to the wing with the arrival of Kamov Ka-26 and Mil Mi-1 helicopters. During the years the fixed wing aircraft were withdrawn from use and with the arrival of seven Mil Mi-2 helicopters in 1978 also the Kamov-26 and Mil Mi-1 helicopters were withdrawn from use. Unfortunately, four Mi-2 Hoplites have been written off from 1983 till 1988 due to accidents. With only three Hoplites active there was a need of a new helicopter and in 1990 six MD500E’s arrived. One MD500 was withdrawn from use and due to accidents with two of the MD500s, which were also withdrawned from use, there was again the need of more helicopters because only three MD500s were operational. Five MD902s were bought in Germany and were delivered in 2016 and the beginning of 2017. With the arrival of these MD902s the days of the Mi-2 Hoplites were counted and the last flight with the Mi-2 was in 2017 after almost 40 years of active service!
At this moment the unit has three active MD500s in its inventory and there is also one MD500 used for spare parts for the three operational MD500s. The five MD902s are also still in service and another six MD902s were bought in the United Kingdom. Those were delivered to the Police Aviation Service in 2018. The MD902s which were bought in the United Kingdom are the same type as the MD902s which were bought in Germany. So, in total they have three MD500s and eleven MD902s in active service. At this moment it is unknown till when the MD500s will be in active service.
The Police Aviation Service is on 24-hour duty and these are their main tasks: border guard, civil aviation control, traffic patrol, counter terrorism missions, transport and protect VIP’s, aerial surveillance of crowd gathering, criminal intelligence and pursuit suspects, search for lost persons and objects, assist disaster management, training and display flights.
The MD500s are used for training and patrolling flights due to lack of space in the back of the MD500s. The MD500s can carry the following systems: SX-16 Nightsun and Talon.
One MD902 is used for VIP flights and has a different color scheme comparing to the other MD902s. The other ten MD902s have the same tasks and can also carry the same camera systems. The MD902s can carry the following systems: Ultra Force II or Wescam MX-15 and SX-16 Nightsun or A800, high resolution daylight camera with 30x zoom, Swir short wave infrared camera and laser rangefinder with a maximum distance of twelve kilometres. Those camera systems can be replaced from one to the other helicopter in less than 30 minutes. The pilots are using the ITT F4949 night vision goggles when flying during the hours of darkness.
The main base for the Police Aviation Service is Budapest – Liszt Ferenc International Airport. Next to this main base there are three other detachments in Hungary. One of them is Sifok – Kiliti which is next to lake Balaton in the south-west of Hungary. This is a detachment during the summer months when there are a lot of tourists in that area. The other two bases are near the borders. In the north-east of Hungary near the border with Ukraine is Barabás Heliport. In the south of Hungary near the border with Serbia is Bácska Helicopter base. At Bácska Helicopters Base is also a permanent detachement with one MD902. At Nyíregyháza Airport, near the border with Ukraine and Romania, and at Szeged Airport, near the border with Romania and Serbia the Hungarian Police Aviation Service have their own fuel container, independent from the airports.
Training and personnel:
The future pilots go to Debrecen for their training which lasts 1,5 year. In the past they started to fly in the Cessna 150 and after 50 hours they switch to the Robinson R22 helicopter. After 50 hours on that helicopter, they went on to the Robinson R44 helicopter and on this type another 50 hours were made. After that they could start their training at Budapest. This training program has been changed not so long ago. At this moment only 20 hours are made in the Cessna 150 and then switch to the Bell 206 for another 60 hours. After this they go to Budapest to the Police Aviation Service to learn to fly with the MD500 and MD902.
At this moment the Police Aviation Service is in the need of personnel. They only have five instructors, five pilots-in-command, twelve co-pilots and eight crew who can operate the camera systems.
At this moment the helicopter fleet of the Police Aviation Service is capable of performing all the tasks where they are needed for. If there is need of a new helicopter than the Airbus Helicopters H145 could be a very good candidate. The Hungarian Air Force has twenty H145s in active service. The Airbus Helicopter has more space for passengers, a longer flying time and also a higher average speed than the MD902s.