By MATTHEW HALL
Capital News Service
LANSING – The State Police’s team of helicopter pilots is set to break personal records in flight hours and hopes to move some of its copters to the Upper Peninsula and the Northern Lower Peninsula. “This year we’re going to be closing in on 1,770 hours, which is a lot,” said Lt. Christopher Bush, commander of the aviation unit in the department’s Special Operations Division. The team flew about 1,500 hours in 2012 and 1,265 in 2011. The aviation unit provides a number of services to counties and cities, including search and rescues, fly-overs for pot fields, traffic control and criminal pursuits. The unit’s four pilots operate three aircraft: Bell 430 and Bell LongRanger III helicopters, as well as a fixed-wing Cessna 182, which is mainly used for transporting special forces teams like bomb squads to remote areas.