When people think of the NYPD Aviation Unit, they probably picture pilots wearing aviator sunglasses, walking in slow-motion out to the helicopters with the theme of Top Gun playing in the background. While this is true, sometimes, what most people don't know is that the Aviation Unit is also made up of highly skilled mechanics, who's job it is to keep the NYPD's fleet of helicopters running smoothly. This elite group of cops and detectives come from various military and civilian, aviation mechanic backgrounds. Not only do they keep the helicopters in the air, they also cycle through the Air Sea Rescue crew as "Crew Chiefs" (or "System Operators" as they're now called) who's job is to deploy and recover the SCUBA divers and run ESU rappelling operations while constantly relaying commands to the pilots. It always amazes me when there's a helicopter in the hangar stripped to pieces one week and the next week it's back in the air flying. Unfortunately their work rarely gets noticed by the public (or even most cops) but they definitely deserve to be recognized. Here are a few photos I shot of the mechanics re-installing an engine on one of the units Bell 412 helicopters.