Police flying squadron
Helicopter pilots with high-tech on board provide valuable support, especially at night.

Finding missing persons, searching for criminals, rescue and recovery or deploying special units: The tasks of the police aviation squadron are diverse. In 2020, the range of missions was expanded to include firefighting from the air. Supporting ground forces, especially at night with thermal imaging cameras, is also becoming increasingly relevant.

The pilots of the police aviation squadron have an overview and support their colleagues from the air. This is done during the day, but also at night, and then with particular effectiveness, as night vision devices and thermal imaging cameras can often detect details from the air that remain hidden from the police officers on the ground. For example, the thermal imaging cameras can detect the slightest differences in temperature on the ground or on water. Since 2017, the police aviation squadron has been using six AIRBUS H145 helicopters.

The NRW flying squadron is based at Düsseldorf and Dortmund airports and is on standby 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. From their bases, the helicopters can be anywhere in the country within 30 minutes at the latest. An alarm helicopter equipped with various camera systems and live image transmission is available around the clock.

The NRW police helicopter squadron flies an average of over 2,000 missions a year. Mainly searches for missing persons and search missions.


In large-scale operations, such as disaster situations, major fires, large sporting events, demonstrations and serious traffic accidents, an appropriately equipped helicopter can transmit live images to the police commander and thus enable a visual assessment of the situation.


When pursuing criminals, it is not always possible for a patrol car to chase fugitives without putting bystanders in danger. The helicopter can follow vehicles at a great distance without losing visual contact. When searching for missing persons, rescue is often only possible with the targeted use of the police helicopter. Equipped with a thermal imaging camera, the operator operating the camera can detect temperature differences of less than one degree Celsius. This enables the helicopter crew to find missing, lost and helpless people even in the dark.


Even rough or remote terrain can be easily surveyed from the helicopter. Rescue teams can be dropped off quickly and in a targeted manner at a person to be rescued and picked up again together with them. Helpless people can also be reached quickly in the water and can be saved from drowning with a life ring. The helicopter can also be equipped with a winch for rescue and recovery.

How do I become a helicopter pilot with the NRW police?

After completing dual studies and working in other police functions, you can apply to join the flying squadron. Passing an extensive selection process is then the prerequisite for a transfer to the Fliegerstaffel.


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In urgent cases: Police emergency number 110