Welcome to the Lake County Sheriff's Office Aviation Unit located at Leesburg Regional Airport Leesburg, Florida. The Aviation Unit consists of three Army OH-58 helicopters that were purchased by the Sheriff through the Army Surplus Re-utilization Program.  Each aircraft was received in airworthy condition with histories of excellent maintenance.  A small administrative fee of $200.00 was expended by the Sheriff's Office.  This type of aircraft if purchased new would cost approximately $900,000.00.

Obtaining the helicopters through the military has also qualified us to enroll in the Government 1122 program.  This allows us to purchase new aircraft parts at a considerable discount.  An example is, Main Rotor Tension Straps, if purchased direct from a commercial vendor they are approximately $6,000.00 per set.  Purchase price through the 1122 program is $820.00.  We have similar savings when purchasing fuel.

The helicopters are on a "ready" basis, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Typical calls for service include overdue boaters, missing Alzheimer's patients, late or lost hikers, warrants, and additional flights to help maintain the safety of our Lake County Residents and visitors.

Each pilot is required to obtain a FAA Commercial Pilot License at their own expense on off duty time before being considered for a full time pilot position.  This process can take up to one year to complete and a considerable financial investment.  Flight Observers complete an in-house training program that includes aircraft safety, radio communications and aircraft ground handling.  Each Flight Observer also completes extensive training on the use of the Forward Looking Infra-Red Camera System.

With the assistance of Forward Looking Infra-Red Camera, Night Vision Goggles, and a 30 million-candle power searchlight, we have been very successful in all aspects of our commitment to serve the needs of Lake County Residents and Visitors.