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By Kathleen Brady Shea
The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA - The Pennsylvania State Police has a deal it hopes you won't pass up: buying aircraft described on the state police Web site as having "a unique and exciting history."
Yesterday, the department announced the sale of five Cessna 182, single-engine, propeller airplanes. "Maintained to the highest standards," the planes range in price from $188,000 for a 2000 model to $86,000 for a 1981 offering, state police said.
Their sales pitch cites the planes' "extreme reliability, all-weather capability, and toughness," and describes the colors of three planes as "a very modern white, black, and gold." The other two are beige over blue.
The planes' background is colorful, too, according to the Web site.
"They have played a crucial role in dealing with both emergency tasks, such as tracking criminals and finding missing persons, and in handling non-emergency assignments, including monitoring of sporting events and transportation of personnel," said state police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller in a prepared statement.
State police spokesman Jack J. Lewis said aviation buffs and interested parties can find myriad photos and mechanical details on the state police Web site:
Lewis said state lawmakers created the department's Aviation Division in 1968. The next year, the department acquired its first two helicopters.
The five planes are being sold, Lewis said, to fund the leases of four newer planes, a move designed to cut costs. When the sales and leases have been completed, the state police fleet will have six fixed-wing aircraft and eight helicopters, Lewis said.
Those who want to own a piece of Pennsylvania law-enforcement history may want to act fast.
Ken Hess, director of the state Bureau of Supplies and Surplus Operations, said yesterday afternoon that he had already received eight inquiries.
"One person who is currently in Switzerland e-mailed," Hess said, adding that another inquiry came from Germany.

Wire Service
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