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Spirit of Oklahoma refurbished

The state aircraft was refurbished earlier this year.
BY PHILLIP O'CONNOR Published: October 15, 2012

When Gov. Mary Fallin travels by air, it's often aboard a multimillion dollar state aircraft named Spirit of Oklahoma.

Earlier this year, the interior of the 1990 Beechcraft King Air 350 underwent an $82,000 refurbishment that included new leather seat covers, lighting, wall and ceiling panels, carpet and veneer woodwork. Mechanics rebuilt the twin engines at a cost of about $1.2 million. It's the plane's first overhaul since shortly before the state bought the aircraft in 1997.

The white turboprop airplane with black and gold trim bears the registration number N1OK. It can fly in excess of 350 miles per hour and has a range of about 1,200 miles, allowing the governor to fly nonstop from Oklahoma to Washington, D.C., New York or Los Angeles.

The aircraft has 11 seats, including two for the pilots, both of whom are Department of Public Safety employees. One pilot has more than 17,000 flight hours. The other has more than 10,000 hours.

Brand new, the plane would cost about $7 million. Its current market value is about $2 million to $2.5 million, said Capt. Charles Strasbaugh, who oversees the department's aviation unit.

The airplane is housed at an Oklahoma Highway Patrol hangar at the Max Westheimer Airport in Norman. For security reasons, the governor's preferred seat aboard the aircraft is not disclosed.


Staff Writer


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