Iowa State Spent $290,000 to Upgrade Airplane that was Sold

AMES, Iowa ― Iowa State University is defending its decision to spend $290,000 upgrading an airplane that it sold one year later.

The university disclosed Tuesday that it installed a new avionics system in its 1977 King Air 200 in January 2013.

University spokeswoman Megan Landolt said the school determined a year later that it would be more cost-effective to sell that plane and buy a newer one. She says the sale price of $835,000 was “far higher” due to its avionics upgrades, saying the costs were recouped.

The university then bought a newer King Air for $2.875 million and spent $327,000 installing a new avionics system. It spent an additional $130,000 for high-speed internet and in-flight video entertainment systems.

The costs are under scrutiny amid an audit into President Steven Leath’s flying.