New York State Police

History of the Aviation Unit

Image of Lt Hughes and the original SP aircraft  in the 1930s

Lt Huges and the original SP aircraft from the 1930s

The New York State Police Aviation unit was originally formed in 1931. It consisted of only one fixed wing aircraft. It was discontinued a few years later. In 1967 the unit was reformed, and again consisted of only one single engine aircraft, a Cessna 172. That aircraft is still in service today. Currently the unit has 19 aircraft and over 40 pilots.

Our primary mission is to support our members who directly provide services to the community. In 1998, the Department of Environmental Conservation’s flight department was merged into the State Police aviation unit. Since that time we have adopted all missions previously conducted by DEC which include aerial photography of illegal dump and waste sites, rescue missions with the State Forest Rangers, scientific research such as water sampling at remote ponds, aerial fire suppression and stocking remote ponds and lakes with fish.