During the 2022 Winter Olympics held in China in February, Beijing Police performed Electronic News Gathering (ENG) and aerial video shooting missions on behalf of the Olympic Broadcasting Services. The services were delivered during the opening and closing ceremonies and the games. In addition, similar services were provided during the Paralympic Winter Games in March. This is a unique task, adding to the usual law enforcement, rescue and surveillance operations typically assigned to the operator. The Beijing Police used a Leonardo AW109 Power light twin and an AW139 intermediate twin-engine helicopter to carry out the operations. The two aircraft performed over a dozen sorties logging in excess of 100 flight hours over a month period. In order to effectively deliver ENG services, Beijing Police leveraged both types’ outstanding speed to rapidly cover long distances, range and endurance. Furthermore, the cockpit and cabin comfort and space for the crews onboard, combined with all-weather night flight capabilities and dedicated equipment ensuring stable and high quality streaming and recordings, were key enablers for successful operations. Beijing Police is not new in supporting major sports events: in 2008 for example, this operator used Leonardo helicopters during the Olympic Games too.
Beijing Police has been operating Leonardo helicopters since 2007 with the deliveries of its first AW109 Power and AW139 helicopters. The more recent order for two AW189 super-medium category twin-engine helicopters, to be used for law enforcement, search and rescue and fire-fighting in Chinese Capital’s metropolitan area, will make Beijing Police the largest Police Aviation unit in China with a nine aircraft fleet spearheading an expansion into emergency management roles. Several other law enforcement operators in China have been using Leonardo helicopters in China for many years, with the first aircraft entering service in 2004. More than 200 Leonardo civil helicopters of various types have been sold to Chinese operators to date for a range of both commercial and public services.