Lieutenant Shawn T. Rivard
Phone: (804) 743-2228
Fax: (804) 743-2235
7411 Airfield Drive
Richmond, VA 23237-2250
The State Police Aviation Unit was formed on January 1, 1984, to provide for the administration and coordination of the department’s aviation resources. The Unit’s primary mission is to provide aircraft for search, rescue, law enforcement and medical evacuation. During its nearly 40 year tenure, the Aviation Unit has recorded more than one hundred thousand flight hours responding to flight requests across the Commonwealth.
The unit utilizes three bases located in the following Virginia localities:
The Unit’s primary mission is to provide aircraft for:
- Medical Evacuation
- Search & Rescue
- Law Enforcement
The Virginia State Police Aviation Unit operates the following types of aircraft:
- 5 Bell 407 Helicopters
- 1 Bell 412EPI Helicopter
- 2 Airbus EC-145 Helicopters
- 3 Cessna 206 Turbo Stationair Airplanes
The Department operates three helicopter medical evacuation programs that serve Central and Southwest Virginia. These programs provide rapid response, advanced medical procedures, and transport for critically injured patients to level one trauma centers. Combined, these programs serve 43 hospitals and the people in 59 counties and 34 cities.
Med-Flight I began operations on April 1, 1984, and responds to calls for assistance in a 60 mile radius of Richmond.
Med-Flight II began operations on January 1, 1987 and responds to calls for assistance in a 60 mile radius of Abingdon.
Med-Flight III began operations on September 1, 2000, and responded to calls for assistance predominately along the Lynchburg-Route 29 corridor to Danville and in a 60 mile radius of Lynchburg. The Med-Flight III program closed April 30, 2010. It is now used only for law enforcement operations.
In 2020, the Med-Flight programs have responded to 1598 calls and transported 752 patients.
Search and Rescue
The Bell 407 helicopters all have a FLIR 8500 system, rescue hoist and 30 million candlepower searchlight, which all aid in the success of locating missing person, fugitives and lost children.
During 2020, the Aviation Unit responded to 293 requests for searches for escapees, missing persons, criminals, and stolen property.
The Aviation Unit also utilizes aircraft to conduct surveillances, and in 2020 received the following requests:
- 28 for drug or narcotic surveillance
- 135 times for other criminal matters
- 52 miscellaneous calls
Other Law Enforcement Duties
The Aviation Unit provides aerial support to any Federal, State, or municipal agency whereby the solution of a police problem or mission may be obtained.
During 2020, the Unit provided aerial support to 336 requests from agencies external to the Department of State Police. These flights included photographing crime scenes, providing support for presidential motorcades, participating in multi-agency task force efforts, and demonstrations of the capabilities of the Aviation Unit’s aircraft.