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On May 9, the Pasadena Police Department Air Operations Section hosted its 29th annual disaster response exercise and fly-in on the grounds of the Rose Bowl Stadium, attracting public safety aircraft and flight crews from around Southern California.
The purpose of the annual fly-in is to familiarize crews with the Rose Bowl location, which in the event of an earthquake or other regional disaster would be used as a staging location for vertical-lift aircraft, including law enforcement and military helicopters, and potentially even tiltrotors from the U.S. Marine Corps. The large open area surrounding the stadium, combined with Pasadena’s central location in the Los Angeles Basin, makes it an ideal location for coordinating emergency helicopter operations, keeping nearby airports available for additional fixed-wing aircraft.
“We’re preparing for a large earthquake, natural disaster, or man-made event that requires a large public safety response,” said Lt. Mike Ingram of the Pasadena Police Air Operations Section, explaining that the annual training exercise familiarizes crews with the location of the Rose Bowl and arrival and departure procedures. A “control tower” area is set up for the event, where trained officers direct arriving helicopters into the landing area and guide them to their parking spots.
“We have a vendor-hosted lunch for the crews so they can meet and greet and get to know each other, and understand how different air support operations operate,” Ingram said. “We have found that when everyone knows everyone and there’s an event, either big or small, this understanding keeps things running smoothly.”
More photos from the event can be found on the Vertical Facebook page.