Collection Item Summary:
This uniform belt was worn by Lt. Joe Santoro of the Monterey Park California Police Department while flying the first known ultralight aircraft used as a tool in law enforcement (see NASM American Aerolights Double Eagle displayed at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center). Monterey Park Police began flying this airplane on September 2, 1982, and it quickly became a valuable asset. However, the engine proved fragile and Lt. Santoro, project manager, grounded the Eagle after seven engine failures in six months. "Our hilly terrain and lack of appropriate forced landing sites do not allow a viable program in this community," Santoro said after grounding the Eagle, "but the concept is good." Lt. Santoro continued to believe in the idea and experimented with several other types of ultralight aircraft including an improved and more reliable twin-engine Ultraflight Lazair SS EC (see NASM Lazair on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center).