BCSO Air Unit Back on Patrol


November 14, 2022, 9:43 pm

By: ABQRAW staff

Posted: 11/14/2022 @ 2:30PM

Metro 1 takes a flight over Double Eagle Airport on 11/14/2022.

Double Eagle Airport –

Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department held a press conference inside the BCSO Hanger at Double Eagle Airport on the westside of Albuquerque. The mood was somber but celebratory that BCSO once again is flying air missions. Metro-2 crashed in July killing the former air support unit.

The agreement is to have a commercial pilot from Vertical Limit Aviation pilot the 2007 A-Star E-3 Helicopter, also known as Metro 1. The Bernalillo County Fire Department, and University of New Mexico’s Emergency Medicine Outreach Team will also be part of the crew.

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BCSO Sheriff Manny Gonzales talks to the press with the Metro 1 Crew in the background.

Full press conference from BCSO hangar at Double Eagle Airport

Metro 1 took it’s ceremonial flight in front of press and crew. It flew east across the city of Albuquerque and came back to Double Eagle Airport. At a previous press conference Sheriff Manny Gonazles said getting the program back into the air could take years. The air unit team and Sheriff went to California to get some advisement on how to proceed with the program.

The Star E-3 helicopter was purchased by the County in 2007 after their previous helicopter was shot down in the Metro area by a crazed maniac. That crash injured the contract pilot and the flight officer also on board. The helicopter currently can be used as a five seater but typically only two are on board at a time. This helicopter is classified as a light aircraft/helicopter with uses for law enforcement, search and rescue, and medical purposes.

“This asset has been missed, it has been missed by the community, and I get asked on a daily basis about the air unit,” said BCSO Sheriff Manny Gonzales.


The contract with Vertical Limit Aviation is a temporary deal with at most four months until BCSO Sgt. Charles Will is certified to fly. Additionally, the Sheriff’s office said the sub-contracted pilot will make $40.00-a-hour.


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