A viewer recently asked, “Does the Florida Highway Patrol really have planes or are those signs on the highway fake?”
The short answer is yes.
FHP has seven aircraft statewide. They are fixed-wing aircraft, both Cessna 172s and 182s. One in Tampa, Sarasota, Orlando, West Palm Beach and in Miami. Of course, if you’re doing the math you’re missing two because there are two stationed in the Tallahassee area. These planes are used for stolen vehicle recovery, traffic observation and of course traffic enforcement.
A lot of people tend to ask after they find out that the Highway Patrol does have aircraft is if the pilot is also a State Trooper. The answer is yes, every pilot is considered a sergeant with the Florida Highway Patrol and has spent years on the Highway Patrol prior to becoming an aircraft pilot. While conducting their enforcement in the sky and after finding a violator they keep in contact visually with that vehicle and then report it to the troopers on the ground who conduct the traffic stop.