STEVENSVILLE, Md.- It has an airplane propeller in the back and a helicopter rotor overhead. The unusual aircraft is called the gyro plane, but it acts more like a helicopter.
"It's a very non complex aircraft, very easy to fly we can do almost the same thing as a helicopter, maybe 70 percent," said Queen Anne's County Deputy Bill Schepleng, its pilot. Schepleng has been flying helicopters for more than a decade. He said the gyro plane is similar and it could be the future of law enforcement aviation.
"A lot of people are very interested in it. This is a new concept in law enforcement aviation, and the biggest thing nowadays is cost," Schepleng said.
The gyro plane is made in Germany and you can buy one for just $60,000. It costs less than $50 an hour to operate, which is significantly less than a helicopter. It is unique in the way that it has an open cockpit. One big advantage you can gain from that is there is a better view when conducting aerial searches and taking photographs.
The U.S. Justice Department owns the gyro plane and is lending it to the Queen Anne's County Sheriff's Office to test.
"They spotted us somewhere on their radar screen and asked us if we were interested in testing it for them and so we jumped at the opportunity," said Maj. James Williams of the Sheriff's Office.
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