The State Patrol Flight Section is responsible for the support of state, county and local aerial law enforcement support. The flight Section is based in St. Paul and Brainerd.
There are nine state trooper pilots in the Flight Section who fly three Bell helicopters, four Cessna 182 airplanes and a Beechcraft Queen Air.
All helicopters are equipped with thermal imagers, Night Sun spot lights and microwave down link equipment capable of transmitting a live video picture from the helicopter to a receiver sight — this live video can then be streamed online. Most helicopter flying is done during nighttime hours and all the pilots are equipped and trained to fly using Night Vision Goggles. The pilots are also trained to fly fire fighting and rescue missions in conjunction with the State Patrol Special Response Team.
The Cessna 182 airplanes are used for traffic enforcement, transport of law enforcement personnel, while the Beechcraft Queen Air is used for this as well as transporting prisoners.
The Minnesota State Patrol Flight Section was formed in 1957 with the purchase of two Piper Super Cub airplanes. The airplanes were used for spotting unreported crashes, stalls and other traffic obstructions and hazards. The airplanes were also used in traffic speed enforcement.