Kentucky governor puts two state planes up for sale on eBay

Two decades-old aircraft available to highest bidder

jbrammer@herald-leader.comApril 21, 2011 

  • The state owns 15 aircraft: seven planes and eight helicopters. The average age is 35 years. Six are owned by the Kentucky Department of Aviation, including the two for sale. They are:

    ■ Bell Jet Ranger helicopter: purchased new in 1975

    Flight charge: $475 per hour

    Typical uses: executive transportation, aerial photography

    ■ 1979 Cessna 182Q (Skylane): acquired from state police in 1992

    Flight charge: $125 per hour

    Typical uses: Fish and Wildlife enforcement and surveys, aerial forest-fire detection, law enforcement, drug interdiction, airport inspections and some cabinet-level travel

    ■ 1978 Piper PA31-350 (Navajo): purchased used in 2006

    Flight charge: $450 per hour

    Typical uses: Executive transportation for the governor's office, cabinet officials, economic development officials and state universities.

    ■ 1975 Piper PA31-350 (Navajo): acquired from state police in 1997

    Flight charge: $450 per hour

    Typical uses: Executive transportation for the governor's office, cabinet officials, economic development officials and state universities.■ 1967 Cessna R172E (Skyhawk): acquired from federal surplus in 1974

    Flight charge: $125 per hour

    Typical uses: Fish and Wildlife enforcement and surveys, aerial forest-fire detection, law enforcement, drug interdiction, airport inspections and some cabinet-level travel

    ■ 1967 Cessna R172E (Skyhawk): acquired from surplus in 1998

    Flight charge: $125 per hour

    Typical uses: Fish and Wildlife enforcement and surveys, aerial forest-fire detection, law enforcement, drug interdiction, airport inspections and some cabinet-level travel

    The Department of Aviation also operates and maintains a 1984 Bell Long Ranger helicopter, owned by the state Department of Natural Resources. It is typically used for executive transportation, aerial photography and environmental surveys, including those of surface mines.

    The Justice Cabinet owns two airplanes and six helicopters.

    One of the two airplanes is a 1972 Beechcraft King Air A-100, acquired in 1996 from U.S. Army surplus. It is used for personnel transport and is the aircraft most often used by the governor. Its estimated retail value is $950,000.

    Source: Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear sounded like a used-plane salesman Wednesday, holding a news conference in a Capital City Airport hangar to announce the eBay auction of two state aircraft.

"They're well-maintained aircraft like all our aircraft," Beshear said in front of two state planes that had large "For Sale" signs in front of them.

For sale are a twin-engine 1975 Piper Navajo and a single-engine 1967 Cessna Skyhawk.

"The commonwealth does not need these planes anymore," Beshear said.

The Navajo was previously operated by Kentucky State Police. The state Department of Aviation in the Transportation Cabinet acquired it as surplus property in 1997. The Cessna, previously operated by Somerset Community College, was acquired by the state through surplus in 1998.

State Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said in a news release that overall use of the state's 15 aircraft has declined during the Beshear administration.

Beshear said the two planes for sale have been used primarily for law enforcement, particularly by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. An assessment of the state's aircraft fleet showed that they could be sold without hurting the work of the department, Beshear said.

The planes may be viewed at the Division of Surplus Property's eBay store at http://stores.ebay.com/kysurplus.

Beshear declined to say how much money the sale, which will last 10 days, might generate. The Navajo has a minimum bid of $75,000. Bidding on the Skyhawk stood at $15,600 by Wednesday evening.

A percentage of the proceeds will go to the state Finance and Administration Cabinet and the rest to the Department of Aviation.

Beshear said the sale will save the state more than $63,000 a year in maintenance and insurance costs.

The sale is part of Beshear's ongoing Smart Government Initiative, which he started in January 2010. The program examines state government operations to find ways to save taxpayer dollars and make the government more efficient.

Last year, the program saved more than $900,000, Beshear said, through a reduction in leases with private landlords throughout the state. The state also saved $1.1 million, he said, by redistributing the assignment of state-owned vehicles or selling them.

His administration, Beshear said, has reduced by 17.2 percent since 2008 the number of permanently assigned vehicles. The overall number of vehicles maintained by the Division of Fleet Management has been cut by 8.8 percent since 2008.

Since the beginning of the Smart Government Initiative, Beshear said, the Office of Procurement Services estimates that $7.2 million has been saved through contract renegotiations and rebidding.

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