VIDEO: Sgt. Kate McHugh becomes first female SABLE helicopter pilot

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A member of the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office has made history by becoming the first female SABLE helicopter pilot.

Southeastern North Carolina Airborne Law Enforcement, or SABLE, is a helicopter used by departments like NHSO and the Wilmington Police Department to provide them an eye in the sky.

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Sgt. Kate McHugh started in law enforcement in 2010 and began with the sheriff’s office in 2012.

She’s been a part of several joint-task forces, including housing, gang, and mobile field, with NSHO and WPD.

In 2018, she saw an opening for a tactical flight officer with the SABLE aviation unit.

“I had no idea what I was in for,” she said in a video released by NHSO.

She jumped at the chance to become a pilot after her chief pilot asked if she was interesting in learning to fly.

Sgt. McHugh put in the hard work and completed the licenses to make it possible.

“If 10 years ago you would have told this is where my career would be now I would have laughed and wholeheartedly disagreed,” Sgt. McHugh said. “That being said, I couldn’t be happier this is where I ended up. “I’m doing the job I was meant for as a professional aviator and New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sergeant. Here’s to the strong women. May we know them, may we be them, and may we raise them up.”

Congrats, Sgt. McHugh!