SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The state of South Dakota has a new state plane.

Governor Kristi Noem’s office announced Monday the state a 2015 King Air 350 that is now in South Dakota after purchase.

“This plane is newer, safer, and will save the taxpayers money in the long run in maintenance costs,” Noem said in a news release about the plane.

The plane has 701 hours of flight time and 462 landings, said Ian Fury, communications director for the governor.

“This is a tremendous improvement over the previous King Air 200’s 8,337 flight hours and 10,533 landings,” Fury said.

According to industry publications, pressurization cycles, or take-offs and landings, have an impact on the life and condition of airplanes.

The King Air 350 twin turboprop 11-passenger business aircraft first flew in 1988, according to aerospace-technology.

In 2021, the legislature appropriated $5 million, plus the proceeds from the sales of two older state planes for the purchase of a new plane. The State paid aircraft broker Verity Jet $195,000. The net proceeds from the two planes were as follows:

  • King Air 200: $1.81 million (appraised for $1.73 million)
  • King Air 90: $1.24 million (appraised for $1.12 million)

The Department of Transportation bought the King Air 350, including all upgrades for $4.7 million in August of 2021. At the time of purchase, they expected flights to begin in September.

The deal saved the State of South Dakota $3.31 million, which will be reverted to the State General Fund at the end of the fiscal year.

In general, a King Air 350 can cruise at about 320 to 360 mph, depending on the specific 350 model.

The state’s plane was previously owned by Geddaway Air, LLC out of Jacksonville, Florida, Fury said.

The state has two full time pilots. The Department of Transportation now owns a King Air 350 and a King Air 90. The Department of Public Safety owns a Cessna 206, and Game, Fish & Parks owns a Cessna 172. 

“This King Air 350 will primarily be used for passenger travel,” Fury said.