Riley Cuts Aviation Bureau

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Gov. Bob Riley's budget cutting proposal would eliminate five of the 10 positions at the state aviation bureau, including three pilots.

Chief pilot Dave Goodwin would be the only pilot under the proposal to stay on the job.

The administration said the aviation cutbacks would save the state $200,000.

The bureau operates two airplanes and employs four pilots, two mechanics, three service workers and a secretary. It's an agency inside the state Department of Transportation, which also owns two smaller airplanes.

Goodwin said two pilots are required to fly the jets and if he loses three pilots, he would have to "borrow" a pilot from another state agency before taking the governor or other state official on a flight.

The pilots' contracts end in May, at which time Riley can choose not to renew them. The Legislature would have to agree to terminate the other two jobs through the budget process.

Riley press secretary David Azbell said the governor took a special interest in the aviation bureau because there were more pilots than planes.