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Florida lawmakers ready to buy new state plane

Former drug plane carrying DeSantis, Moody was forced to make emergency landing

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis flew Wednesday afternoon on the state law enforcement plane that had to make an emergency landing just three days after he took the oath of office.

DeSantis has been flying on a rebuilt King Air, seized by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in a drug bust. On Jan. 11, the plane made an emergency landing with the governor, Attorney General Ashley Moody and four staffers on board.

“Air things dropped from the ceiling," said DeSantis. "I've never had to do that before in my years of flying."

“It was a pretty harrowing time. We had to descend rather quickly," Moody said. "We were just happy to get on the ground.”

The state used to have a jet and a King Air, but they became a campaign issue for Rick Scott in 2010.

Scott sold the planes for $4 million and flew his own jet while in office.

After the emergency earlier this month, legislative leaders say it is time for a new plane.

“I think absolutely necessary that the governor has a way to get around the state," said House Speaker Jose Oliva.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said if there is a new plane, she and other Cabinet members should have access to it.

“It is not easy for people to get up here to Tallahassee, and making sure we are available to them has got to be a top priority," Fried said.

Diverting the plane for personal uses by Cabinet members prior to 2010 is what led to the planes being sold.

A used jet could cost the state around $8 million, and a new jet goes for upward of $20 million.

If there is a new plane in the offing, it’ll likely be for the governor only.

As for the plane the governor is still using, "The FDLE says they have fixed that," DeSantis said.