First Round Approves New Airplane Proposal

A proposal to buy a new airplane for Nebraska's governor and other state officials has won first-round approval in the Legislature. Lawmakers advanced the measure on Thursday with a 31-3 vote. A legislative consultant has recommended buying a new twin-engine King Air model that can carry five passengers and two pilots. It would cost as much as $3.8 million, though money from other aircraft sales would likely reduce that cost. The plane would replace the state's current, 1982 Piper Cheyenne aircraft. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha, says buying a new plane instead of leasing or chartering is more cost-efficient over the long term. Gov. Dave Heineman has said the state needs a plane so officials can travel quickly and safely for state business. (This photo is not the photo of the exact model that officials want to purchase.)