It weighs just 115 pounds, but is able to hold up to 10 people – or 3,500 pounds. Originally developed in France for quick insertion and extraction during special operations missions, the AirTEP has become increasingly popular on this side of the Atlantic – and is being used for an increasingly wide variety of missions.

Butch Flythe, Business Development Manager at Aerial Machine and Tool Corp (the North American distributor of the AirTEP) told Vertical that several agencies, such as the San Antonio Police Department in Texas and Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office in Washington state, were using the AirTEP fairly extensively for search and rescue missions, as well as for short-haul transport of equipment, and even insertion and extraction of SWAT teams on rooftops or divers, complete with equipment, into water.

“If I’d have had that with Hurricane Katrina when I was down there working with the Coast Guard, it would have come very handy for rooftop rescue,” said Flythe. “We would be over a rooftop and down and up, down and up…that’s a lot of hoist. There’s nothing wrong with hoisting, but if we could have had one of these where I could have just sent it down with a swimmer on it, and had 10 people get on, strap in, and move them right away to the safe zone…I think it would have made a significant difference in the operation if we’d have had these.”

Source: Oliver Johnson for

Up Next

Trap in Colorado suspect’s home had 30 homemade grenades, gasoline (video). It weighs just 115 pounds, but is able to hold up to 10 people…