MUSEUM Public Programs

Public Programs of the National Law Enforcement Museum

Guardians in the Air: Law Enforcement Aviation and the 40th Anniversary of Air Florida Flight 90

Forty years ago, the crash of Air Florida flight 90 in the Potomac River gripped the nation’s capital. Not only did the daring skill of the United States Park Police save five lives that day, the dramatic rescue from the icy waters by helicopter forever changed the nature of aviation in law enforcement.

“Guardians in the Air” is a unique program presented in a documentary style to share the stories from current U.S. Park Police aviation officers, see demonstrations of equipment used during air rescue, view new footage of DC from the air, including the route flown 40 years ago for the rescue, and learn more about the vital role of police aviation as our guardians in the air.


Introductory Welcome Remarks

  • Thomas Canavan, Executive Director, National Law Enforcement Museum

Keynote Speaker and Moderator

  • Chief Pamela A. Smith, United States Park Police


  • Charles E. Fulcher, Jr., Director of Programs, National Law Enforcement Museum

Special Remarks and Eyewitnesses

  • Steve Souder, D.C. Metro Fire Department, Dispatcher
  • Lynn Herring, former Chief, United States Park Police
  • Chester Panzer, Videographer of Flight 90 Rescue
  • Don Usher, Pilot of Eagle One
  • Russell E. Matthews, President, Air/Sea Heritage Foundation
  • Sgt. Timothy P. Ryan, Acting Commander, Aviation Section, Special Forces Branch, United States Park Police