ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Joined by the New Mexico Secretary of Public Safety and the State Police Chief, businessman Allen Weh today handed over the keys to a special mission surveillance aircraft that will be used by the State Police for public safety purposes.
Weh, CEO of the Albuquerque-based aviation support and logistics company CSI Aviation, said his company owns two Seeker aircraft for business purposes, but recently determined the company needed just one. He had two options: Sell the aircraft or give it to first responders. The answer, he said, was simple.
“Our first responders put their lives on the line every day for the rest of us, and they are underpaid for what they do. They often lack the equipment they need, or they have to make do with older, worn out equipment,” Weh said. “Today, I have the genuine pleasure of doing something about this problem in a small, but meaningful, way.”
The Seeker was offered via a competitive proposal process to several New Mexico law enforcement agencies that were believed to have an interest in obtaining the aircraft, and which also operate an aviation program. The RFP was announced November 2012 and the aircraft was officially awarded to New Mexico State Police on January 22, 2013. The transaction was made official today at a ceremony with the Seeker at Atlantic Aviation.
“We are proud that New Mexico’s State Police Department is a forward-looking organization that is not only committed to public safety, but innovative in providing its law enforcement services,” Weh said. “I can assure you that the Seeker will provide our State Police with an exponential increase in surveillance capabilities, and I am confident it will now be able to expand these missions. And not unimportantly these days, the department will be able to fly this aircraft at a vastly reduced cost compared to helicopter and comparable fixed wing aircraft.”
State Police Chief Robert Shilling said the Seeker will enhance mission capabilities and increase support to multiple local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
“The Seeker is a great addition to our fleet,” Chief Shilling said. “Because of the aircraft’s unique surveillance capabilities, our aircrews will now be able to monitor sensitive, undercover law enforcement operations using its extraordinary ability to fly slowly.”
New Mexico Secretary of Public Safety Secretary Gorden Eden said Weh’s company is an exemplary organization.
“It’s great to see a New Mexico business like CSI Aviation make this kind of contribution to protect New Mexicans,” Secretary Eden said. “With this company’s scope of work, it could be headquartered anywhere in the United States. But they choose to call New Mexico home.”
The Seeker is a mission specific, rugged utility aircraft used for commercial and security operations. This airplane is valued at approximately $250,000 and is being donated to the State Police at no cost. At a third of the cost of rotary-wing equivalents, the Seeker provides an efficient alternative for operations such as environmental inspection, border security and law enforcement. The aircraft’s capabilities are proven after thousands of hours of operation by military and government users worldwide.
The aircraft was one of two that the company purchased in 2006 and 2009. Both aircraft were acquired as demonstration aircraft for the aerial surveillance market in North America but the company subsequently found that one aircraft was adequate for its purposes.
More about the Seeker…The aircraft is fixed-wing but offers unique features that make it an affordable option to rotary wing craft and a perfect match for ground surveillance operations. Its helicopter-like visibility – a feature that is resultant of its rear-mounted “pusher” engine and forward crew seating -allows for 270 degree visibility. The airplane has docile handling characteristics that provide for a safe, low speed stall, responsive harmonized control, minimal pitch change with power and flap changes, and stability which reduces pilot workload and increases situational awareness. It can be configured in multiple ways to accommodate a variety of surveillance and sensor equipment.
The CSI Story… CSI Aviation is a service-oriented, Albuquerque-based company that was founded in 1979 by Allen Weh. With a $25,000 bank loan, hard work and great vision, Weh built CSI Aviation from a one-man business into an internationally respected aviation support company. The CSI team specializes in designing and implementing complex air transportation programs that include everything from emergency evacuation and movement of people to retrofitting aircraft to accommodate special security or delicate cargo transport needs.
CSI Aviation operates globally and serves customers that include Fortune 500 corporations, federal agencies, athletic organizations, the film industry, energy and oil and gas industries, and more.