The Aviation Section is a unit of the Bureau of Emergency and Special Operations (BESO) specializing in air support for law enforcement operations.

Aviation Patrol Unit zones and locations

A county map of Pennsylvania with PSP Aviation zones

APU 1 Helicopter

Reading Regional Airport
124 West Apron Drive
Reading PA 19605

APU 2 Helicopter

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Int’l Airport
601 Hangar Road
Avoca PA 18641

APU 3 Fixed Wing

Capital City Airport
575 Airport Road
New Cumberland PA 17070

APU 4 Helicopter

Altoona – Blair County Airport
186 Aviation Way
Martinsburg PA 16662

APU 5 Helicopter

Arnold Palmer Regional Airport
148 Aviation Lane, Suite 106
Latrobe PA 15650

APU 6 Helicopter

Venango Regional Airport
1526 Airport Road
Franklin PA 16323


There are six Aviation Patrol Units across Pennsylvania. Though helicopters and airplanes fly routine patrol in the entire coverage area, the hangars are situated such that should an aircraft be at the assigned airport location, response time anywhere in a patrol zone is within approximately thirty minutes. No unit aircraft is restricted to a particular area, with aircraft and crew ready to assist anywhere in the Commonwealth, should the need arise. Any municipal, state or federal law enforcement agency can contact the units directly for assistance, or the Department Watch Center at 877-777-3375.

History and mission

The Pennsylvania State Police entered the law enforcement aviation community by legislative decree in the fall of 1968. In 1969, two Bell Model 47 Helicopters were purchased, and six pilots were assigned to the Section. Since then, the Section has grown to over thirty trooper pilots and full-time mechanics, using six helicopters and two airplanes statewide. The Aviation Section of the Pennsylvania State Police provides aerial support to all federal, state and local law enforcement agencies within the Commonwealth, as well as assisting in other non-emergency situations, including major civic and sporting events. In addition to general air patrol work, the Department receives hundreds of requests for assistance annually from the 1,200 sworn law enforcement agencies in the Commonwealth’s sixty-seven counties. 

Helicopter and airplane pilots, stationed out of six Aviation Patrol Units across the state, log thousands of hours of flight time a year on missions including, but not limited to: conducting searches and rescues; assisting in vehicle pursuits; conducting criminal surveillances; participating in marijuana eradication efforts; crime and traffic incident scene photography; transports; conducting Emergency Management and Homeland Security missions providing an aerial platform for incident command and control; and attending events promoting law enforcement efforts.

BESO Contacts

171 E. Hershey Park Drive
Hershey, PA 17033