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Question for Otter cops: Catching speeders by plane???

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Question for Otter cops: Catching speeders by plane???

Old 01-01-05, 02:31 PM
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Question for Otter cops: Catching speeders by plane???

So I drove about 20 hours during the holidays this year and I kept seeing the signs that said "Speed Limit Enforced By Aircraft" on the interstates and I started to wonder how exactly that is done. Do they check speed by plane or chopper and radio the speeders to cops in cars? That's the only realistic approach that I could come up with.

Any Otter cops out there care to clarify?
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Old 01-01-05, 02:35 PM
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They use fighter planes to shoot the speeders off the road.

Actually I've also been currious how they do that.
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Old 01-01-05, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Canadian Bacon
They use fighter planes to shoot the speeders off the road.
I like it . . . it's got my vote.
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Old 01-01-05, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by talemyn
That's the only realistic approach that I could come up with.
It's also correct. They put markers on the ground of a known distance between them, then simply watch from the air and time out long it takes for you to pass between those markers. Simple division would then give them your speed, which they radio down to cops who pull you over.
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Old 01-01-05, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Otto
It's also correct. They put markers on the ground of a known distance between them, then simply watch from the air and time out long it takes for you to pass between those markers. Simple division would then give them your speed, which they radio down to cops who pull you over.
but, what if you slow down before the cop tags you? is the plane data enough for a ticket?
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Old 01-01-05, 02:45 PM
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Old 01-01-05, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by D.Pham00
but, what if you slow down before the cop tags you? is the plane data enough for a ticket?
Yep. Because it's a cop up in the plane too. You've never seen a multi-cop speed trap before?

Saw one one time where the cop with the radar gun was hidden in some trees and such and radioing ahead to a big line of like 10 cop cars on the other side of a ridge. He'd radio which cars to pull over, and they took turns pulling them over. You were slow by the time you saw the cop cars, but you'd already been nailed and so it was too late. It was a funding drive for the county, of course.
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Old 01-01-05, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Otto
It's also correct. They put markers on the ground of a known distance between them, then simply watch from the air and time out long it takes for you to pass between those markers. Simple division would then give them your speed, which they radio down to cops who pull you over.
That sounds really inefficient. They can only check the speed of one car at a time, and have to wait for the car to travel that particular distance before trying another car. And what if no one is speeding? (HA!) They could be up there for hours. What's the cost efficiency of that methodology, I wonder.
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Old 01-01-05, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Numanoid
That sounds really inefficient.
How about this? South Carolina's state troopers were low on manpower around Thanksgiving, so they just left empty cars strewn around so that people would instinctively slow down when they saw them, even though they were in no danger of being pulled.
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Old 01-01-05, 03:26 PM
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Yeah, they do that often around here as well. The car will even have a policeman dummy at the wheel. Once, I saw one that had been there a couple of days and someone had stuck a Dunkin' Donuts box on the hood.
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Old 01-01-05, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Numanoid
That sounds really inefficient. They can only check the speed of one car at a time, and have to wait for the car to travel that particular distance before trying another car. And what if no one is speeding? (HA!) They could be up there for hours. What's the cost efficiency of that methodology, I wonder.

The distance between markers is only a couple hundred feet. If you are speeding, you'll cover it in just a few seconds.

Plus they can pick out the speeders simply because they are going faster than the rest of the traffic.
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Old 01-01-05, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Numanoid
That sounds really inefficient. They can only check the speed of one car at a time, and have to wait for the car to travel that particular distance before trying another car. And what if no one is speeding? (HA!) They could be up there for hours. What's the cost efficiency of that methodology, I wonder.
The markers aren't that far apart, maybe 1/4 mile, so it is not that long between markers. Theoretically, the cop in the copter could have a whole slew of stop watches around his neck and be timing multiple cars, although I think that would get confusing.

Actually, he could hover over two marks and videotape cars between the markers. I imagine the video analysis could be automated, and with timing marks on the tape, they'd have pretty good court evidence.
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Old 01-01-05, 04:21 PM
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Sometimes, it's the only way...

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Old 01-01-05, 04:36 PM
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I believe the official name for this system is VASCAR and there are various semi-automated tools to assist in the process.

A major plus for the PD is that even the most expensive radar detector won't save a flagrant speeder from this one.
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Old 01-01-05, 04:39 PM
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I think it's just a hoax to scare drivers into slowing down. How much would it cost to have a helo or plane loitering the interstates for speeding tickets.
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Old 01-01-05, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by asabase
The distance between markers is only a couple hundred feet. If you are speeding, you'll cover it in just a few seconds.

Plus they can pick out the speeders simply because they are going faster than the rest of the traffic.
that's why i always try to stick with the flow of traffic.
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Old 01-01-05, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by covenant
I think it's just a hoax to scare drivers into slowing down. How much would it cost to have a helo or plane loitering the interstates for speeding tickets.
Say they are only able to give out 5 tickets per hour. It would cost less than they would bring in for that.

They aren't up there all day, either... only at select times. Just like the police cars aren't parked there all day "loitering" when they are gunning radar. I'm not sure what the primary justification for the use of planes is and would like to learn more about it... I've mostly seen it in lower populated places on long, straight interstates, etc. Maybe it's harder to get people through traditional methods in those circumstances. Very little cover for radar, fewer cars so it's hard to be unnoticed when you are tailing someone.
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Old 01-01-05, 05:39 PM
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Its a time vs. distance calculations.

They measure the time it takes to go the distance between two markers. The markers don't even have to be on the road. They can be anything...as long as the officer knows the distance between the two markers.

Its VASCAR and its nothing more than a flip of a switch. They use it in aircraft...but also patrol cars.

It is undetectable...unless you see the officer or vehicle or plane.

Before same lane radar was invented....VASCAR was popular for pacing vehicles to get their exact speed.
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Old 01-01-05, 06:27 PM
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A lot of times you'll see a big white marker painted on the shoulder. It's like a fat hash mark from a football field. Sneaky jurisdictions paint only one, 1/4 mile beyond the overpass.
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Old 01-01-05, 11:34 PM
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My only speeding ticket, until about a year ago, was from a plane in the late 80s. I was on I-44 through the Ozarks in Missouri and this dick in a car ahead of me kept slowing up while going up the hills, then speeding up going down, couldn't pass him. Finally there was a one mile stretch (near exit 235, near the rest stop) and I passed him. A couple of miles later I saw a bunch of cops on an offramp and one pulled me over for doing 74 in a 65, I just paid the ticket of $69.

I later found out through truckers (I actively used a CB at the time, though that at that particular time) that if you get clocked by a plane, you can force the guy in the plane to show you the stopwatch or whatever. If you do this, there's a good chance that they will say "screw it" and you get out of the ticket, but if they do land then you have to pay a landing fee of $200 or $300, or something like that. I don't know if it's real or not, but that's what the truckers were saying. Now, of course, they probably have you on film.
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Old 01-02-05, 12:28 AM
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Thanks for the answers everyone . . . I had thought about it a couple of times before, but it really started me wondering over the Holidays after seeing it over and over during my long drives.
Originally Posted by Adam Tyner
How about this? South Carolina's state troopers were low on manpower around Thanksgiving, so they just left empty cars strewn around so that people would instinctively slow down when they saw them, even though they were in no danger of being pulled.
My favorite variation on this theme is cop cars that sit on the side of the road . . . lights turning . . . behind abandoned cars just waiting for people to slow down when they first see them, but then speed back up when they see that they've "already pulled someone over".
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Old 01-02-05, 12:40 AM
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Old 01-02-05, 08:13 AM
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Being from NC I'm guessing you went through VA for the holidays. We have those signs eveywhere along with the road markers. This was big about 5 years ago but you never ever hear about it anymore. I can't see how this was efficent nor how it didn't cost a ton of money just to catch speeders. I mean any cop on I-81 can pick 8 out of 10 cars and give a ticket.
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Old 01-02-05, 08:24 AM
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Some cities are so cheap, they are purchasing cardboard cut-outs of their vehicles.

I'm just waiting until someone gets robbed, and runs up to a cardboard police officer on the corner of a crime-infested street.
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Old 01-02-05, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by kantonburg
Being from NC I'm guessing you went through VA for the holidays. We have those signs eveywhere along with the road markers. This was big about 5 years ago but you never ever hear about it anymore. I can't see how this was efficent nor how it didn't cost a ton of money just to catch speeders. I mean any cop on I-81 can pick 8 out of 10 cars and give a ticket.
Exactly. Charlotte, up 77 to Wytheville, up 81 to Carlisle, and across the Penny Turnpike to Philly. 81 is such a pretty (and easy) drive, but I kind of miss going through the D.C./Baltimore area since that is where I grew up . . . but you couldn't pay me to drive through that traffic now, especially during the Holidays.
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