MEDINA, Ohio - Trooper Milan Milosevic is the eye in the sky who has busted about 13,000 speeders on Northeast Ohio highways since 2011.
On Friday, he invited a NewsChannel5 crew to fly with him at 3,500 feet on a single-engine Cessna 182 to explain how he nabs aggressive motorists.
"A lot of people don't believe that there's a plane up there until they see me in court," Milosevic said.
The veteran trooper is part of the aviation unit for the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Most of the planes are based in Columbus, but there are also two remote planes — one in Sandusky and Milosevic's plane at Akron Fulton Airport.
High above Interstate 71 in the Medina area, Milosevic tracked four speeding drivers within 30 minutes, including one motorist who was ticketed for going 96 miles per hour.
The air zone, as the trooper calls it, is about one mile long, but it's divided into quarter-mile sections and marked with white lines.
"We fly like a race track on an oval track in the air zone," he said.
He uses a calibrated, programmable stopwatch to time drivers between the lines.
"On our watch, it tells us how fast the vehicle is going and how long it takes the vehicle to get there."
He watches for aggressive drivers and if he determines a driver is following too closely or going too fast, he radios a description of that vehicle to a trooper on the ground. To make sure troopers get the right car, Milosevic flies parallel to the violator and uses a countdown method.
Ground troopers will then motion for the car to pull over and the driver could be issued a ticket between $150 and $250.
The planes have been around for years, but Milosevic said people are still surprised when they're pulled over. A radar detector does them no good.
"A lot of people assume that I have a big antenna on here shooting radar to check speeders. You can see there's no radar antenna on the plane."
The aviation unit has averaged about 24,000 citations across Ohio over the last year. Milosevic estimated he nails around 4,000 drivers per year.
He said his main goal is to keep people, including other troopers, safe.
"What I see up there, the troopers won't see on the ground."