Ohio-Owned Aircraft Grounded Amid Safety Questions

February 1, 2012

A state plane used to search for marijuana fields and inspect Ohio airport runways has been grounded for 16 months amid safety concerns raised by two pilots.

The Dayton Daily News reports the men complained that the cockpit of the Partenavia P68 Observer is so cramped it’s tough to maintain free and clear movement of the flight controls. They said controls would bump into their legs at times.

The plane’s Italian manufacturer and the Federal Aviation Administration say they have not received similar complaints about the P68, which has a clear plastic nose and has been around since the 1970s. An FAA spokesman says the agency has begun a full, thorough investigation of the aircraft.

Ohio’s P68 is 30 years old. The state paid $240,000 for it in 1988.

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