General Question

marcosthecuban's avatar

Have you seen that sign that says "speed enforced by aircraft"?

Asked by marcosthecuban (424points) June 30th, 2009

Do you think it’s true that there’s law enforcement aircraft trying to catch people speeding?

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24 Answers

EmpressPixie's avatar

Are you in VA? If so, there used to be, apparently, but is not any more. According to my incredibly sketchy source, aka, my aunt.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I’ve often wondered about those signs. I see them in NJ on some roads. Id love having a helicopter chase me down or something lol.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Yes, they radio to ground units if they see something really out of the ordinary or dangerous.

Bri_L's avatar

@uberbatman – it really sucks when they start shooting tranquilizer darts and dropping nets. Then all of the sudden “Bill” is wrestling you to the ground and Marlin Perkins is up in a nearby tree collecting the necessary data and talking about Mutual of Omaha.

Ansible1's avatar

I’m convinced that they don’t dedicate a helicopter to one particular road and tell them to hover and catch speeders. However the police dept. has x number of pilots and I’m sure they don’t just sit around all day, this leads me to believe that watching the roads for speeders is secondary to whatever primary tasks they have.

ru2bz46's avatar

My brother-in-law got a ticket by plane. As @hungryhungryhortence mentioned, they called to the ground with a description of his car, and the ground unit pulled him over.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Catching speeders by aircraft isn’t very cost effective for law enforcement. I’m sure they do it from time to time.. but not every single time you see the sign.

YARNLADY's avatar

Here in California, they contract with the fire departments, and the Civil Air Patrol, plus a number of farm groups pest control airplanes assist the ground patrols.

ubersiren's avatar

Yes, I see them all the time here in MD. Especially closer to DC.

westy81585's avatar

Yes… I have actually been ticketed due to being caught speeding by aircraft.

They tend to do it for speed traps and get lots of people at the same time (For example I was one of like 5 cars pulled over when I was ticketed).

casheroo's avatar

I’ve seen those signs. I don’t think they’d have them if it wasn’t true. I doubt they constantly have something up in the air, but I know they do catch people.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

That’s how it works in remote areas. On highway 5, drivers can see a cop car from a long way off. No one is looking for a plane.

Bluefreedom's avatar

This is what I have been told by a friend who works for the Arizona Department of Public Safety (highway patrol). They have Cessna aircraft that fly over the interstates and monitor them for speeders. Apparently, from what he said, there are markings on the highway that the pilot will use to time a vehicles travel between two points and then calculate the speed. Once it is established that the vehicle is indeed exceeding the posted limit, he can radio mobile units on the ground to intercept the suspect vehicle to issue a citation.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

Big Brother is watching you…

Hey, this is just the next step in controlling peoples’ lives ain’t it? First the Patriot Act. Now this… There’s something veryyyyy sinister going on…. ~evil laughter

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@Bluefreedom they have those marks here on the roads in the Midwest, they are usually large white X’s painted on the shoulder of the straight stretches of the Interstates. Nowadays, though, the cops usually station one guy with a speed gun on an overpass, along with another officer with a radio and about ten patrol cars waiting a mile or so down the road. I’ve seen the cops pull over a whole shitload of automobile drivers too stupid to slow down when the truckers do. If the truckers all slow down for what seems no apparent reason, you can readily assume there is a speed trap ahead.

Darwin's avatar

@Bluefreedom – Funny, I was just going to say that I saw those signs routinely when I lived in Arizona and had been told they do indeed check for speeders that way.

They also check for over-use of water via airplane using infrared cameras. This is in part to catch water-thieves, but also to find pot growers.

I don’t see those signs here in South Texas, though. The DPS seem to have plenty of radar guns so they don’t need the help.

Bluefreedom's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra. I’m sure that they run the speed traps here in Arizona just as you mentioned they do in the Midwest. Another thing they do here, oftentimes at night, is a DPS motorcycle officer will station himself in the shadows of an underpass and when you’re finally close enough to see him, you don’t have time to slow down and he’s already nailed you with radar. It sucks.

@Darwin. I had no idea someone could monitor over-use of water through infrared cameras. That is very interesting and it certainly seems important too here in the Southwest where we are in a perpetual drought most of the time.

Darwin's avatar

@Bluefreedom – Well-watered land and excessive plant growth is much cooler than the general dry Arizona desert, something shown very clearly through infrared. Apparently, this can also be done through satellite imaging. I learned about it when I used to teach Xeriscaping and ran into an old friend who uses satellite imaging in his geological research.

Bluefreedom's avatar

@Darwin. Technology is truly marvelous. Not so much for the law breakers though. =)

Thanks for the interesting information, also.

shilolo's avatar

In accordance with what BlueFreedom said, some highways seem to have perpendicular white lines painted across the highway at a predetermined distance (say, 1/4 mile). The pilot simply starts the watch when you hit the first one, then stops it when you pass the second (distance/time=speed). Easy. Of course, if you are going to get caught, might as well do it right!

Bluefreedom's avatar

@shilolo. Thanks for submitting those links and filling in the blanks about the specific marks they use to measure travel and the formula used for speed calculation. As for 205 m.p.h. on a motorcycle…..unreal. And frighteningly stupid.

hearkat's avatar

I saw a helicopter hovering over I-287 in NJ the other day… that was the first time I’d ever actually seen aircraft that might be monitoring me. I have also noticed the markings on the roads for that purpose.

Every so often, someone talks about how they could time your arrival between tolls or even use your EZ-Pass to track how fast you travel. Yet another reason to avoid toll roads…

Lupin's avatar

Yep. I got one of those tickets in Ashtabula Ohio on I-90. I looked at the ticket and it said “aircraft” I asked the officer “Aircraft?” and he replied “Look up. Pretty sneaky huh? ” . They time you from bridge to bridge or with lines on the pavement using a VASCAR system.

gooch's avatar

Yes in Louisiana they do track you by air then call a ground unit ahead to pull you over to hand you the ticket. The Atchafalaya Basin Bridge is a favorite for the airplane. It’s one of the longest bridges in the world.

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