LAPD Helicopter Ride-Along Over City Sees Action Like a Silent Movie (VIDEO)
Helicopter Command Pilot Stuart Lomax soars above an LAPD bust, Dodger Stadium, the Hollywood Sign, Santa Monica Pier, sprawling hillside mansions and Downtown L.A. as part of the world's largest airborne law enforcement operation. At all times during daylight hours, at least two LAPD helos circle the 468.7-square-mile city.
Lomax calls what they see from aloft "like a silent movie" in which the airborne crews act as the eyes for police who are chasing, tracking or arresting suspects or responding to calls on the ground:
LAPD helicopter ride-along soars over DTLA.
"You can see all the stuff that's happening on the ground," says Lomax. "We may not hear the gunshots or, you know, the tires screeching from suspects or whatever, but we can see all that's happening."
In one of the most sought-after jobs in the 10,000-officer LAPD, these two-person crews — pilot and navigator — "paint a picture for those guys" working far below.
UCLA Bruins Men's Baseball vs. Cal State Fullerton Titans Men's Baseball
TicketsTue., Mar. 28, 6:00pm
Los Angeles Lakers v Washington Wizards - Verified Resale Tickets
TicketsTue., Mar. 28, 7:30pm
Los Angeles Clippers v Washington Wizards - Verified Resale Tickets
TicketsWed., Mar. 29, 7:30pm
Premium Seating: Los Angeles Angels v. Los Angeles Dodgers
TicketsThu., Mar. 30, 7:07pm
Among the skills honed by these helo crews is the ability to immediately know, based on memorized features on the ground and a sophisticated mapping system, the name of any street over which they're circling — whether it's an obscure dead-end in the hills or one of hundreds of grid streets that look identical to the untrained eye.
It's a tricky job when things are going down.
But hey, it's also one of the greatest tours of Los Angeles, and you can't buy a ticket at any price.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Los Angeles, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.