A: The Sheriff’s Office said it operates three fixed-wing aircraft used to transport prisoners, perform surveillance missions and transport county executives and elected officials to remote business events (meetings in Sacramento, etc.).
The costs to operate those fixed-wing aircraft, provided below, do not include any staff cost for the pilots or maintenance staff who service and operate the planes. (But don’t worry, we plan to do more digging on that.)
The Sheriff’s Office also has helicopters, by the way.
Turbo Commander plane
Annual flight time: 80 hours
Hourly flight cost: $789.07, not including staff costs.
Annual flight budget: $63,126
Remaining lease payment: Just one, $357,403 due in September. Paid with asset forfeiture funds.
Cessna 206 and 210 planes
206 — Used for surveillance and transport missions
210 — Used for transports
Annual flight time (combined): 325 hours budgeted
Hourly flight cost: $255.85, not including staff costs.
Annual flight budget (combined): $83,151
No staff are dedicated full-time to flying the three fixed-wing aircraft. One deputy sheriff is qualified to fly the Turbo Commander and he also works as a helicopter pilot, is a crew member on the department’s larger helicopters and flies both of the smaller fixed-wing planes.
Four staff are qualified to fly the Cessna 206 and Cessna 210: one civilian pilot, one senior deputy sheriff, one deputy sheriff and an “extra-help” civilian pilot.
The Turbo Commander airplane has been budgeted to fly 80 hours in the 2015-2016 fiscal year that began on July 1. In the first eight months of the fiscal year, that plane has been flown 35 hours.
Between January 2015 and January 2016, the Turbo Commander spent 34.1 hours in the air on 36 missions. Training and maintenance flights, 23 of them, took up 45.2 hours of time.
The two Cessna planes were budgeted to fly for 325 hours in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. So far the planes have flown for 81.3 hours.
Between January 2015 and January 2016, the Cessnas flew a total of 62 flights for 153.1 hours. Administrative flights took up 109.7 hours and 43.4 hours were flown for training and maintenance.
Curious about those administrative flights? We are, too. We also plan to dig into that.
How much money could the Kern County Sheriff’s Office save by benching the three fixed-wing planes it flies?
The Sheriff’s Office puts that savings at $146,277. But again, that does not include the salaries and benefits of the deputies and civilian pilots to man those planes.
Original article can be found here: http://www.bakersfield.com