Why did a state plane fly to New Mexico and back?
A LearJet owned by the Kentucky State Police flew to Albuquerque on Sunday, stayed for a little over an hour, then flew back to Lexington. Why?
For some time, news organizations across the state have been asking the Bevin administration to account for the use of state aircraft to fly the governor around the country. To this point, the administration has refused to explain any trips that are not official state business, even though anyone with a web browser can find them.
Do you want to be an OSINT (open-source intelligence), investigative reporter? Just go to FlightAware.com, one of many such sights that provide tracking information for both airline flights and private aircraft. Enter the registration number of private aircraft and hit Search. You’ll get something like this:
That screenshot shows the state-owned Learjet taking off from Blue Grass Airport at 2:33 on Sunday afternoon and flying to Barkley Regional Airport. After a brief stopover there, it goes on to Albuquerque International, landing at 4:07 their time.
The plane stays there for an hour and twenty minutes. (Obviously, we have no idea about the people; this site just tracks planes. 😉) After that shortstop, it flies back to Lexington.
Is this anything nefarious, or underhanded, or even worth writing about? Who knows – and that’s the problem. This is a state-owned plane, and its use should be open to the public. It could have been a legitimate government use of the plane. It could have been a campaign use of the plane. It could have been someone in the state government wanting to eat dinner at the Albuquerque airport.
But whatever it was, if the Bevin administration would just be transparent about how they are using state resources, then this story would go away.
Until that time, though, we’ll continue to look up flight records, and ask about the trips. At some point, maybe we’ll find out what was so important in Albuquerque on a Sunday night.