BLACKSBURG; Va. — Planes and helicopters are routinely used in law enforcement, but Virginia Tech’s Police Department is putting something a bit different up in the sky.
It’s not your typical police vehicle.
“It's almost like being in a balloon,” said pilot Kevin Kochersberger. “It’s very slow and peaceful.”
It's called a powered parachute. It looks similar to a dune-buggy, with an open seat and a small motor, except there is a parachute strapped on the back to make it fly.
“It's fun, without a doubt,” said pilot Kenny Smith. “It's almost like it's not a job.”
The powered parachute was given to Virginia Tech through a grant from the Department of Justice. It will be used for both law enforcement and for research.
“I love flying,” said Smith. “I love being in the air.”
Virginia Tech Police Officer Kenny Smith is one of two police pilots. He'll use the powered parachute for aerial surveillance, search and rescue, and crime prevention.