$4 Million Plane Added to State Air Fleet

A $4 million plane has been added to the fleet of aircraft used to fly Gov. Bill Haslam and members of his cabinet around the state, reports WTVF-TV.
The King Air 350, a 2007 twin-engine turboprop purchased back in December, is now the lead plane in the fleet operated by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
“The governor is always the first priority for this aircraft,” said Lyle Monroe, the state’s chief pilot.
Monroe said the aircraft has lots of advantages over the 1985 model King Air that Tennessee’s governors have flown for years, including more powerful, more efficient engines.
“We can burn the same amount of fuel and get further with this aircraft because of the increased speed,” he said.
Inside the cockpit, it’s got more advanced systems to make the pilots’ jobs easier — including conflict-avoidance systems to help then steer clear of other aircraft.
“If an aircraft encroaches within a certain limit of the airspace, it’ll tell us pull up, turn left, turn right — and it’ll keep telling us to do that until we’ve actually gotten out of the conflict area,” he added.
Inside the cabin, the aircraft provides comfortable seating for nine people, not counting the two-member flight crew.
“It’s not something that we started and did quickly. We’ve been looking at this for several years,” the chief pilot added.

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