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Flying cops board gyroplane for Big Brother-style eyes in the sky

Lydia Leavitt, @lydialeavitt
September 13, 2011
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"Get to tha choppa!" is probably the first thing the Tromball, Texas cops will be shouting now that they're the proud owners of America's first police gyroplane. This type of aircraft is nothing new, but for the 5-0 testing the Auto-Gyro MTOsport, it's a cheaper and simpler alternative to a helicopter -- and way sweeter looking. For the price of two high-end squad cars (around $75,000), the heat can go air-bound, compared to $1-4.5 million for a standard whirlybird. The machine also requires far less pre-flight prep before soaring 13 feet per second into the sky only to max out at a face-melting speed of 115 mph. With a rotax motor, pilots can dip from the air quickly and easily since the copter's already in autorotation, unlike a standard helicopter, which requires some heavy maneuvering. The downside? It's horrible at night and in bad weather, meaning the cops will have to keep those Crown Vics in the garage, just in case.

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