MASCOUCHE, Que. — The prison breaks in both St-Jerome last year and in Quebec City over the weekend have one thing in common.
The type of helicopter used in both events appears to be the same: a Robinson R-44.
It’s one of the more popular choppers in the world and it’s find them at many airports in the Montreal area.
Tour companies have a preference for them, as they’re only 40 feet long, and pilots say that they can take off and land with ease.
Experienced helicopter pilot and instructor Stephane Grenier told Global News that they’re practical for getting in and out of “tight spots.”
“Fifty feet by 50 feet, we can land on that,” Grenier said Monday.
“If it’s not surrounded by tall trees we can land and we can take off from there.”
This is probably one of the reasons why the helicopters have been used in the daring jail breaks.
READ MORE: Massive manhunt for three inmates who escaped Quebec prison
Another reason is that they can hold quite a bit of fuel.
“The fuel tank of the chopper is 150 litres,” said Yves LeRoux of Mascouche-based Passeport Helicopters.
“It can fly for three hours with a full tank of gas.”
LeRoux said that he guesses the escaped prisoners may be hiding out in remote part of Quebec or in another province altogether.
“The chopper’s maximum speed is about 200 kilometres an hour,” LeRoux noted.
“After three hours, you’ve flown 600 kilometres straight line.”