Wed, Jan 30, 2013
Only One Tweet So Far, Account Owner Unknown
The Beech King Air 250 acquired by the state of Missouri for official transportation has its own Twitter account, but it's not something that's been officially done by the state.
The plane's purchase has generated some controversy. Its $5.6 million price tag was paid from a State Highway Patrol account, and some in the legislature say they were unaware of the purchase ... meaning it was completed outside the normal appropriations process. A group of state senators held up the confirmation of Douglas Nelson, Governor Jay Nixon's (D) choice for Commissioner of Administration, over the purchase of the airplane, according to television station KOMU. Nelson reportedly approved the purchase of the aircraft while serving as acting Commissioner of Administration, and he has drawn much of the criticism over it's acquisition.
Meanwhile, a blog appearing on The Riverfront Times indicates that someone has established @KingAirJay as a Twitter account for the airplane. So far, there has been only one Tweet from the "airplane" ... a posting of the flightaware.com track of the plane on a flight from Rolla to Jefferson City, MO. It is not known who set up the Twitter account.
According to Flight Aware, the plane has made seven trips since its ferry flight from the HBC factory in Kansas on January 18.
KMOU reports that some Democrats in the legislature have defended the purchase of the plane, saying the Governor needs to be able to travel around the state and the country in an effort to bring jobs to Missouri. But Republican legislators said that there was never a request to purchase the plane, and that the Highway Patrol Commander did not inform the legislature that it was taking place.
A highway patrol spokesman said that the plane was purchased as a backup to a smaller King Air that MSHP already owns. Captain Tim Hull said the larger airplane will carry more people or cargo, and prevents the state from having to charter an airplane when the primary aircraft is already booked. Hull said it is available to any state official on a first-come, first-served basis and is not for the exclusive use of the Governor. The King Air 250 is one of five aircraft now owned by the MSHP, including the second King Air, two single-engine Cessnas, and a helicopter.
(Beech King Air 250 pictured in file photo)
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