Is Florida ready for a new state plane?

Published: Jan. 30, 2019 at 5:52 PM CST
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Governor Ron DeSantis flew Wednesday afternoon on the state law enforcement plane that had to make an emergency landing just three days after he took office.

Now, we’re hearing firsthand what it was like for those on the plane and why lawmakers are ready to buy a new one.

Governor DeSantis has been flying on a rebuilt King Air seized by federal authorities in a drug bust.

Three days after he took the oath of office, the plane made an emergency landing with the Governor, Attorney General, and four staffers on board.

“Air things dropped from the ceiling," said DeSantis.

“It was a pretty harrowing time," said Attorney General Ashley Moody. "We had to descend rather quickly."

“But I’ve never had to do that before in my years of flying," said DeSantis.

“We were just happy to get on the ground," said Moody.

The state used to have a jet and a King Air, but it became a campaign issue for Rick Scott in 2010.

Scott sold the planes for $4 million and flew his own jet while in office.

After the emergency, legislative leaders say it is time for a new plane.

“I think it's absolutely necessary that the Governor have a way to get around the state," said House Speaker Jose Oliva.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says if there is a new plane, she and other Cabinet members should have access to it.

“It is not easy for people to get up here to Tallahassee, and making sure we are available to them has got to be a top priority," said Fried.

Diverting the plane for personal uses by Cabinet members prior to 2010 is what led to the planes being sold.

A used jet could cost the state around $8 million, and a new jet goes for upwards of $20 million.

If there is a new plane in the offing, it’ll likely be for the Governor only.

As for the plane the Governor is still using?

“Now the FDLE says they have fixed that," said DeSantis.

One can only hope.