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In the market for a helicopter?

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By Safa Sajadi, on June 11, 2010

Division of Forest Resources, Helicopter

Tired of the morning commute? Have a thrill for the unexpected? Yearn to get away from it all?  Then you my friend should consider purchasing your very own aircraft.  There’s no better time and no better place to do this than in…North Carolina???

While the advertisement illicits a chuckle there is some truth to it.

Recently the Program Evaluation Division (PED), directed by Session Law 2009-451, performed an evaluation to study the number, use, and effectiveness of state aircraft; consider ways to achieve efficiency; and determine if it is desirable or feasible to sell or transfer aircraft. These findings were encapsulated in reports and presented to the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee meetings on April 29, 2010 and May 24, 2010. I was fortunate to have started my internship in time to attend the May 24, 2010 meeting.  In case you are interested the reports can be found HERE.

State Bureau of Investigation, Twin Engine Airplane

Some of the PED recommendations elicited strong reactions by government agencies. You may be wondering why that’s the case? Should these recommendations be channeled into legislation, they have the potential to not only impact various government agencies that utilize these aircraft, but also put many of these aircraft (helicopters included) up for sale.

Recommendations from the PED report include the following:

  • The General Assembly should eliminate 25 aircraft and five facilities
  • The General Assembly should establish the Aviation Management Authority in the Department of Transportation.

We all know that numbers speak volumes. Based on the calculations and analysis performed by the PED staff, the elimination of twenty-five aircraft and five facilities could potentially yield $8.1 million and save $1.5 million annually. In plain terms, that’s a lot of money.

Side note: If you didn’t see the importance of PED’s work for the state, especially amidst an economic downturn, I bet you do now.

The May 24, 2010 meeting was a sight to behold! Catherine Moga Bryant, the project lead, did a great job of presenting the follow-up report and recommendations to members of the committee. Members of the committee can be found HERE.

Following the presentation, members of the legislature asked interesting questions and they even allowed key stakeholders, who were present at the meeting, to voice their concerns. One stakeholder to utilize this time was the Division of Forest Resources.

As a student who has taken courses on program evaluation, I was no stranger to the concerns and questions raised after recommendations have been issued. It is no surprise that an agency would voice these concerns, especially when they are in a position to be impacted. Perhaps the biggest takeaway was the idea that while recommendations to policy and procedure are encouraged, they are sometimes not so well received.

Still interested in state aircraft? On June 8, 2010 the House Committee on State Government/State Personnel passed HB 1823: Sell Underutilized State Aircraft.  Though passed in the House Committee, this issue will continue to remain in the political altitude for some.

Division of Forest Resources, Canadair

*The views expressed on this blog posting are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

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2 Responses to “In the market for a helicopter?”

  1. Joel Galbraith

    Interesting story and insights on the numbers. I wish I was in the market…and that they got better mpg.

    • Safa Sajadi

      While they may get better mpg, some of the aircraft require extensive repairs and/or maintenance. So any cost savings may be lost. But, good news is that the helicopter runs smoothly…

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