Contact Us

Everyday Heroes: Minnesota State Patrol Aviation Unit [VIDEO]

Subscribe to AM 1240 WJON on


ST. PAUL — They’re not often talked about, but the Minnesota State Patrol Aviation Unit has been around since the 1950s.

Used mainly to monitor traffic, the State Patrol has expanded the Aviation Unit to be available for more missions.

Searching for bad guys, vehicle pursuits, rescue mission and finding people who are lost are some of the missions they prepare for.

Lt. Matt Nelson has been flying helicopter’s with the State Patrol for thirteen years. He says that many people forget about their services.

“A lot of people forget the fact that they have a tool that can transport someone very easily from a remote area.”

Currently the State Patrol has three helicopter’s, and two planes,  which they fly on an everyday basis. However, most of their flight work happens over night.

“A lot of our flying is done from ten at night until two in the morning, looking for that high pursuit time.”

When not flying, the pilots spend their day planning flights, checking weather patterns, and keeping up with their training.

“We put in about 1500 hours of flight time.” says Lt. Nelson. “When we are not flying we need to keep up with our police training.”

Lt. Nelson has been on both sides of the Minnesota State Patrol and just like every pilot, he says flying is the best part.

“I just really enjoy being in the air. There is just a peaceful feeling any pilot gets.

See Other WJON Everyday Heroes Stories


Lt. Matt Nelson prepares the helicopter before flight. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)

“Everyday Heroes” is a weekly WJON News feature spotlighting those who put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe.

Best of WJON

Recommended For You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for The WJON VIP Club quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive The WJON VIP Club contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.