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This month, the Air Support Unit of the Slovenian police force provided 14-day training for police helicopter crews in Skopje, Northern Macedonia. The training aimed to test their flight proficiency and train them in firefighting and cargo transportation on the external load.

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Slovenian police helicopter crews trained seven Macedonian pilots and five flight engineering technicians to be able to extinguish fires by means of a helicopter bucket, carry external loads and operate the external load operating site.

Those are very specific skills, requiring special equipment and special preparations for the teams, the terrain and the helicopter, as well as specific communication and operational procedures.

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The Northern Macedonian police force uses Bell 206, Bell 212 and Bell 412 helicopters. The last two helicopters have been replaced in the Slovenian police in the last few years by new and modern AW169 helicopters capable of carrying out the most demanding flight operations. A third helicopter of the same type is due to be delivered to the Slovenian police this autumn.

The training was organised pursuant to an agreement between the two police forces and upon the recommendation of the police helicopter crew from Montenegro. The Slovenian Air Support Unit will continue to provide assistance in restructuring the Macedonian unit.

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