First All-Women Spokane Regional Air Support Unit Crew Takes Historic Flight Over Spokane County
In honor of Women’s History Month (March) and International Women’s Day (March 8) last week, the Spokane Regional Air Support Unit is proud to announce the flight of the first All-Women Law Enforcement Flight Crew in Washington, and possibly the country, to our knowledge.
Civilian Pilot: Megan Fine
Tactical Flight Officer (TFO): Makalia McKitrick, Spokane Police Officer
Tactical Flight Officer (TFO): Krystal Bitzer, Spokane Valley Police Department Deputy
On March 11, 2023, Spokane Regional Air Support Unit’s (SRASU) Air-2 took flight on a regularly scheduled patrol flight, but this evening, they made history as the first three-person All-Women flight crew. The mission was piloted by Civilian Pilot Megan Fine, accompanied by TFO Makalia McKitrick and TFO Krystal Bitzer.
During the flight, they assisted patrol units on the ground with calls of a missing child, a carjacking, an assault, and others, while keeping watch over our community to keep them safe from high in the air.
We congratulate and thank Civilian Pilot Fine, TFO McKitrick, and TFO Bitzer for their dedication and professionalism and for representing Spokane County on this historic flight.
Pictures were provided by Erik Smith of Erik Smith Photography, who was kind enough to volunteer to take pictures to commemorate the occasion.
About the Spokane Regional Air Support Unit
The Spokane Regional Air Support Unit is comprised of Volunteer Pilots, Tactical Flight Officers (TFOs) from local law enforcement agencies, and Helicopter Rescue Medics (HRMs), certified EMTs with Spokane Valley Fire Department.
TFOs: Deputies and Officers from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, Spokane Valley Police Department, Spokane Police Department, and the Liberty Lake Police Department.
Air 1 and Air 2: Two OH-58’s equipped with Forward-Looking Infra-Red (FLIR), which allows aircrews to detect heat on the ground. FLIR can be used to locate both missing people and hiding fugitives.
Air-1 and Air-2 are also equipped with a 30 million candle power searchlight, a GPS moving map system, and the flight crews are equipped with night vision goggles. In addition, Air-1 is fitted with a downlink that transmits live video from the helicopter to the Mobile Command Vehicle. The microwave downlink allows police and fire staff to see real-time video from the helicopter and make timely decisions based on what they see.
Rescue 3: A Bell UH-1H Super Huey is equipped with a long line and hoist system for short-haul rescue missions. The long line and hoist system allows our Tactical Flight Medics and Tactical Flight Officers to be lowered from Rescue 3 to retrieve a citizen that is either injured or lost in remote areas. The primary mission for Rescue 3 is search and rescue.