State to replace aircraft used for job recruiting

Posted March 25, 2013

Sikorsky helicopter owned by the state of North Carolina.

— The North Carolina Department of Transportation is getting ready to sell two planes and a helicopter that legislative investigators say are not used enough to justify their expense.

Selling the aircraft and replacing them with newer, more cost-effective planes will save the state $500,000 per year, according to a DOT news release.

“Consistent with the governor’s focus on efficiency, we are always looking for better ways to use resources and collaborate to improve our operations,” Transportation Secretary Tony Tata said in the release. “Selling our aircraft to build a more efficient fleet will ensure we continue the important work of the NCDOT in a more cost-effective way.”

The first phase of the plan will be to sell a Cessna Citation Bravo Jet and a Sikorsky helicopter. These aircraft are used by the Commerce Department in recruiting companies to the state and by the governor and other high-ranking state officials when they travel. They are also used to survey for new road construction and to transport officials during disasters.

The state plans to buy a new turbo-prop aircraft and a Bell helicopter with the proceeds from the sale. A third plane will also be sold and replaced by a smaller turbo-prop plane.

A 2011 WRAL Investigates story found that some state aircraft, including the helicopter slated to be sold, were rarely flown. In 2012, the General Assembly's Program Evaluation Division advised that the state should sell the helicopter because it was not used frequently.


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  • Dukefan1 Mar 26, 2013

    Are you kidding me? Use commercial flights if you really want to save money. State employees get 1% but governor/cronies get new aircraft to fly around in? Doesn't make sense to me.

  • piloterror1 Mar 26, 2013

    DOT once more spending tax dollars wisely. you can buy tons of fuel for the price of new equipment. and, as an aircraft owner, it a LOT cheaper just to maintain what you already have.

  • Nothing New Mar 25, 2013

    I agree why replace all three. If the audit states they were seldom used to validate having them, then why replace any of them at all let alone 3. Selling 3 and buying three sounds like buying a new car, when the old one has very low miles. Glad they have money to be able to do that, not.

  • Snookyone Mar 25, 2013

    Why replace them if they're seldom used. Rent instead.