Report Suggests Eliminating High-End NC Helicopter

The Legislature's fiscal watchdog agency says there's still room to pare down the dozens of aircraft in North Carolina's fleet, including a high-end helicopter often used to ferry company executives looking to build in the state.

The Program Evaluation Division released a report Wednesday that recommends the Department of Transportation eliminate a seven-seat Sikorsky helicopter that flew just 66 hours during 2011, for an average cost of $8,500 per hour. The Department of Commerce used the helicopter about half the time for things like business recruitment.

The report authors said the helicopter could be sold and a less expensive aircraft purchased that could be shared with the Highway Patrol and used by the Department of Commerce, too.

The state's aviation fleet has declined by more than 25 percent since 2009.

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  • by Obama Snake Oil on Mar 16, 2012 at 07:10 PM
    The national debt is almost $15.6 trillion dollars. It would cost $1 million dollars a day for 42,739 years to pay off the debt (not including interest). Or, $100 million dollars per day for 427 years. It would take $100 million dollars per day for 137 years just to pay off Obama's $5 trillion dollars in added debt. Obama has increased the national debt by about $4.3 billion dollars per day since he took office!
  • by Anonymous on Mar 16, 2012 at 05:44 AM
    This helicopter falls into two catagories, wasteful spending and greed. I am sure the speaker of the house knows about it, the senate leader, the attorney general, the head of the DOT. The NC national guard has hundreds of helicopters to survey damage, but it does not have leather seats and a frige for beverages. Well played politicians.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 15, 2012 at 09:08 AM
    who made the decision to buy this helicopter. they should be made to pay the bill. This is how government works. they spend other peoples money. does not matter if dem or repblican. somehow, somewhere someday it has to stop.
  • by Gerry Location: Emerald City on Mar 15, 2012 at 07:29 AM
    This is a good place to start. Historically, State Agencies begin cost cutting at the expense of lower level employees. More money can be saved if the AG stops out-of-state undergraduates from getting in-state tuition rates. These people, who are still funded from home state are getting NC drivers licenses and registering their vehicles here, so they can pay in-state tuition. In NC college towns, one doesn't have to look very far to see a late model car with an out-of-state dealer sticker, a fast pass on the windshield and a NC plate. This should be easy to monitor, through the university student registration system.
  • by Vet Location: Greenville on Mar 15, 2012 at 07:21 AM
    I have no problem with the state using helicopter fly-overs to help attract businesses to the area. But owning a helicopter just for that non-emergency use is completely ridiculous. It is like someone buying a moving truck. Sure, you could but why wouldn't you just rent one only when needed?
  • by Carolina Clem on Mar 15, 2012 at 06:37 AM
    We don't need no uppity New Yorkey things like hellycopters, schools, and shoes down here. All we need is chawing bacca, moonshine, and the Ree-publican Party.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 15, 2012 at 08:14 AM in reply to Carolina Clem
      I see that Carolina Clem is also Carolina Clueless. The democrats (and not the Ree-publican Party as you spelled it) ruled this state (up until recently) for the last 100 years. If you check your history you will see that the republicans came out of the northern states. You might want to ease up on that "chawing bacca and moonshine". It is starting to affect you thinking.
    • reply
      by Melvin on Mar 15, 2012 at 11:01 AM in reply to Carolina Clem
      Obviously, another pointy nosed Northern Liberal elitist that has a preconceived bigoted attitude against Southerners. That federal felon... whats his name, oh yea, former NC Gov. Dem. Mike Easley administration purchased that expensive piece of aluminum.
  • by Michael Location: Vanceboro on Mar 14, 2012 at 11:24 PM
    "Don't most of them have their own private jets" Are you really suggesting they could observe the areas where they could build while traveling several hundred miles per hour several thousand feet in the air ? The FAA won't let you buzz building sites in a Lear Jet ! Get reasonable ! But a helicopter shared with the State Police or Forest Service would seem reasonable !
  • by The Ol' Boys on Mar 14, 2012 at 10:03 PM
    Good Ol' Boys, you know.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 14, 2012 at 04:36 PM
    Can you not charter the appropriate aircraft as needed without owning it and paying for crew and maintenance? Why do big wigs need flying around anyway? Don't most of them have their own private jets and such? (Sometimes I wonder if anyone in state government has any common sense at all.)

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