Arizona DPS acquires two Skytruck aircraft

- The Arizona Department of Public Safety is getting ready to roll out a new set of wings, that will help improve the agency’s travel and response times in emergency situations.

On Monday, we got our first look at the aircraft at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

“Think of it as a pickup truck with wings,” said DPS aviation supervisor, Andy Dobis.

DPS has obtained two airplanes from the federal government as part of a program that provides surplus military equipment.

“To go out and buy these -- $10- to $14 million dollars each -- we acquired them for zero. So that’s a huge, huge plus for the department,” Dobis said.

The Skytrucks, built in Poland, are being phased out by the U.S. Air Force.

DPS will use them to transport specialty units around Arizona along with all of their equipment in one shot, without having to make multiple trips.

“We can put 16 people in the back of these airplanes, so with two of them, we can fly over 30 equipped members of like our SWAT team or our bomb squad, anywhere in the state.”

The planes will be able to get in and out of rough terrain fairly easily.

This is a first for the Arizona Department of Public Safety. And it's said to be a first for the nation.

“There’s to our knowledge, no other civilian fliers in the United States flying these airplanes. So were the first,” Dobis said.

DPS will begin pilot training next month. It will then put the planes into service.


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