Aviation Command Resources

State Police helicopter over wires and fire engineThis section of our website is designed to provide information about the Aviation Command for the ground providers who set up our landing zones and for those who may be curious about other aspects of our operations. For clarification or any additional questions, please email our Medical Operations section. There is a section for Optimal Landing Zone Set-Up and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) as well.

Weather Information

The Aviation Command has instituted weather minimum guidelines that dictate when we can and cannot fly. These guidelines include both the ceiling (how far off the ground the clouds are) and visibility (how far we can see). Our minimum requirements for flight are:

​Day Time ​Night Time
​Ceiling ​800 feet ​1000 feet
​Visibility ​2 miles ​3 miles

The weather minimums take into consideration the likelihood that we will be to complete the mission when we accept it from the requester. If the patient is held on the ground awaiting the arrival of a helicopter which ultimately does not reach the scene due to weather, valuable time is unnecessarily lost. Our weather minimums have been set at a level where we reasonably believe we will be able to complete the mission safely.

It is important to remember that it is almost impossible to correctly judge the ceiling and visibility with the naked eye. What may appear to be terrible conditions may, in fact, meet our minimums. For that reason, we strongly urge you to never attempt to judge the weather from the ground, and instead call us when you need us.

Call Us If You Need Us

We use a number of systems including weather radar and automated weather advisory systems to determine if it is safe to fly. Please do not hesitate to call us if you think we can be of assistance.

One other important note about weather: We have instituted our weather minimums for the safety of our crews, the ground providers and our patients. If we are unable to fly, please think twice before requesting another helicopter service. "Helicopter shopping" can put both the helicopter crew and your patient in jeopardy.

If you have any questions about weather minimums, please do not hesitate to contact our Training Section.

Landing Zone Safety Video

Our Landing Zone Safety video is currently being hosted on the Maryland Fire Rescue Institute webpage in QuickTime format.

Frequently Asked Questions

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If you fly me to the hospital, will I receive a bill?

​No, the Maryland State Police Aviation Command does not bill patients. ​

Who provides funding for the Aviation Command?

​The Aviation Command is fiananced through the Maryland Emergency Medical System Operations Fund (MEMSOF) and Maryland's General Fund. The MEMSOF is funded through a small surcharge during motor vehicle registration. Approximately 80% of our helicopter operations are funded through the MEMSOF.

How many helicopters does the Maryland State Police have?

​We currently operate 9 helicopters and staff 7 sections. These "extra" helicopters are needed as they require frequent routine maintenance that will take them out of service for periods of time.

When you pick up someone who is injured, where do you take them?

​The majority of our patients were involved in some form of trauma. We typically transport them to certified "Trauma Centers" throughout the state. Although many people are familiar with the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center​, there are other Trauma Centers as well. For example, pediatric trauma patients are usually transported to either Johns Hopkins Hospital or Childrens National Medical Center in Washington, DC. The destination of a medical patient we transport will depend on the type of emergency they are experiencing.