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Lee County Mosquito Control District in Florida is operating six new Airbus H125 helicopters as part of a major upgrade of its aircraft fleet. The new aircraft are being used to support aerial spraying to control the mosquito population in the roughly 1,000 square-mile district in southwest Florida, which includes the city of Fort Myers.
Lee County officials selected the H125 because of its superior performance and ability to carry a heavier load. Each H125 is capable of hauling about 1,000 pounds more equipment and mosquito abatement product than the previous aircraft in certain configurations, allowing the district to cut the number of helicopters it operates from 10 to six.
“The bottom line is the H125 will improve our fuel efficiency and cut down on maintenance,” said Rick O’Neal of the Lee County Mosquito Control District. “Six aircraft will now do the work that 10 used to do.”
Airbus Helicopters Inc. received a supplemental type certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to allow the Lee County aircraft to operate at the higher weight necessary to meet the mission requirements.
“We take great pride in helping our customers achieve their missions,” said Chris Emerson, president of Airbus Helicopters Inc. “The H125 is the leading high-performance single-engine helicopter available, and we are pleased that the Lee County Mosquito Control District selected it to conduct their missions of protecting citizens by fighting disease-carrying mosquitoes.”
Created in 1958, the Lee County Mosquito Control District is committed to improving the quality of life, facilitating outdoor activities and protecting public health by implementing environmentally sound practices that control mosquito populations throughout the Gulf Coast county. The district operates both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.
The district expects to operate each of the H125s 200 to 250 hours a year, O’Neal said. The peak mosquito-fighting season is May through September.
Airbus Helicopters Inc. produces the H125 at its final assembly plant in Columbus, Mississippi, by a workforce that includes about 40 percent U.S. military veterans. The H125 is known for its high performance, payload, reliability, and multi-mission flexibility.
Airbus Helicopters is a leading provider of civil and commercial helicopters in the U.S. The company is based in Grand Prairie, Texas, where it operates helicopter completion, paint, and MRO facilities, performs flight test and engineering support, and flight and maintenance training for customers.
The Columbus plant produces UH-72A Lakota helicopters for the U.S. Army and the H125 for the civil market.