The Lee County (Fla.) Mosquito Control District is upgrading its aircraft fleet with six new Airbus H125 helicopters. The new aircraft are being used to support aerial spraying across the 1,000-square-mile district.
County officials selected the H125 because of its performance and ability to carry a heavier load. Each H125 is capable of hauling about 1,000 lbs. more equipment and mosquito abatement product than the district's previous aircraft in certain configurations, allowing the district to cut the number of helicopters it operates from 10 to six.
Airbus Helicopters Inc. received a supplemental type certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration to allow the Lee County aircraft to operate at the higher weight necessary to meet the mission requirements.
The district expects to operate each of the H125s 200 to 250 hours a year, according to Rick O'Neal, a pilot for the Lee County Mosquito Control District. Peak mosquito-fighting season for the district is May through September.