Sussex Police Air Operations Unit

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The Sussex Police Air Operations Unit, popularly referred to by the aircrew's police net callsign, Hotel 900,[1] was a unit of Sussex Police that provided emergency air support in the Sussex area of England.[1][2][3] In October 2010, the unit was merged with the Air Support Units of Surrey Police and Hampshire Constabulary to form the South East Air Support Unit, which officially commenced operations in April 2011.[4] The unit operated an MD Explorer helicopter based at Shoreham Airport[3][5] with aircrew provided by both Sussex Police and the South East Coast Ambulance Service, and flew sorties at the request of police control at Lewes,[1] or the joint air ambulance control desk at Coxheath, Kent.[2]


Hotel 900 was crewed by a pilot, a Sussex Police air observer, who was a fully sworn constable (or sergeant) and a paramedic seconded from South East Coast Ambulance Service, who was also trained as an air observer.[1] The last helicopter was an MD-902 Explorer and operated from Shoreham Airport.[3] Operational since February 2000,[1] the Explorer replaced an earlier helicopter which had been in service since 1987.[6] The unit was available for missions between 0800 and 0130 Monday to Saturday, and 0900 to 0000 on Sundays, although out-of-hours cover was provided for serious incidents.[1][7] Hotel 900 completed nearly 1,500 sorties every year, of which almost 25% were for ambulance purposes, with the remainder consisting of police tasks, such as searching for offenders or fleeing suspects, identifying suspect or stolen vehicles, facilitating vehicle pursuits, transport of police officers, and search & rescue.[1]

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  1. ^ a b c d e f g "H900 - The Eye in the Sky". Sussex Police. Retrieved 2009-04-29. 
  2. ^ a b "Ambulance service initiates radical shift in Air Ambulance deployment". South East Coast Ambulance Service. 2006-12-18. Retrieved 2009-04-29. 
  3. ^ a b c "Police Helicopters N-Z". UK Emergency Aviation. Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  4. ^ "South East Air Support Unit officially launched". Sussex Police. 1 April 2011. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "Sussex Police Air Support Unit". Shoreham Airport. 
  6. ^ "Life saving service scrambled into the skies day and night in West Sussex". Midhurst and Petworth Observer. 3 April 2008. 
  7. ^ "New night role for Sussex Police Helicopter". Mid Sussex Times. 27 March 2008. 

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