Texas DPS Flies High-Altitude Spy Plane

The Texas Department of Public Safety has used its high-altitude spy plane to assist border authorities in tracking down two suspects.

The DPS commissioned the Pilatus PC-12 NG in May. (DPS photo/file)

SAN ANTONIO (January 12, 2014) Texas Department of Public Safety pilots have flown a $7.4 million high-altitude spy plane from San Antonio to Fort Stockton to assist in the search for two suspects.

The Swiss-made Pilatus PC-12 NG aircraft is equipped with $1 million worth of surveillance cameras.

The flight Friday took an hour and 17 minutes at an altitude of 16,000 feet.

A DPS spokesman said the plane’s crew assisted ground personnel in Terrell County, bordering Mexico, in tracking down two subjects suspected of firing a weapon during an incident with law enforcement officers earlier Friday.

Border patrol agents took the two suspects into custody.

The aircraft has a pressurized cabin, allowing it to fly at altitudes up to 30,000 feet at speeds as high as 322 miles per hour.

DPS purposed the plane in 2012 for surveillance and to assist U.S.-Mexico border operations.

It's also been used to support the response to emergency situations.

The plane, which was commissioned in May 2013, was was named in honor of the Texas Ranger Bobby Paul Doherty, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1978.

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