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The Almighty Buck

Navy Jet eBayed - Some Assembly Required? 704

madmancarman writes "The world's only F/A-18 Hornet in private ownership, formerly a Navy Blue Angel Jet, is for sale on eBay. The initial asking price? $1 million unassembled, or $9 million assembled and certified airworthy 'with your choice of paint' - more info is available via a Yahoo News story. I wonder how much it would cost to fully arm it? The same person selling the F/A-18 is also selling a 1950's T-33, and claims they'll soon be auctioning off an F-16 and a Mig-29 as well. Build your own air force for fun and profit!"
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Navy Jet eBayed - Some Assembly Required?

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  • by andyrut ( 300890 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:14PM (#8296437) Homepage Journal
    While owning a Blue Angel would be awesome, it's unlikely a civilian would actually get any flight time in such a vehicle. To fly it, you'd need a Letter of Authorization because there's no FAA type certification for this aircraft - and unless you're an ex-military pilot, you've basically got no chance of getting an LOA.

    Even if you were to get an LOA, to fly it you'd have to get permission from the FAA to put it in the air every time you take off. So add your own private island to the total cost if you actually want to fly it without hassle.

    So unless you're ex-military, you'd have yourself a $9 million lawn ornament.
  • Ellison? (Score:5, Informative)

    by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:15PM (#8296453) Homepage Journal
    Hmmmm. This sounds like the owner might have been Larry Ellison. There have been a number of Mig-29's available in private hands over the years as well as a couple of F-104 Starfighters. I don't know if Larry owned an F-18, or an F-16 but I talked to him at a Java conference (at least I'm pretty sure it was Ellison) years ago and he expressed an interest in obtaining fighter jets like the Mig-29. Someone told me that he recently married, so perhaps his wife would rather he not go "jetting off" and would like him to calm his lifestyle a bit?

    • Re:Ellison? (Score:5, Informative)

      by the melon ( 89066 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:51PM (#8296863)
      It is actually a doctor who owns it. I saw a program on Discovery Wings a year or two ago that had him and the plane in it. They gave his name but I cannot remember what it was.

      He said the only real restriction that was on the plane was one that is on all civilian aircraft: No supersonic flight over US airspace.
  • by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) * on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:15PM (#8296459) Homepage
    Positive Feedback: A+++++++++++++!!!! Bomb racks work great! Thanks!!!!!11
  • by warlockgs ( 593818 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:16PM (#8296466)
    Interesting. Are there any sort of government oversights as to how these can be sold and to whom? I would hate for some wack-job with money to get a hold of one of these, get some armament via the black market, and use it to do something regrettable.
    • by sfjoe ( 470510 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @03:02PM (#8296990)
      I would hate for some wack-job with money to get a hold of one of these, ...

      Too late - he's already got 'em. And I don't think you should be calling the President of the USA a "wack-job".
    • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @03:04PM (#8297010)
      I would hate for some wack-job with money to get a hold of one of these, get some armament via the black market, and use it to do something regrettable.

      I would imagine that most wack-jobs would choose to save about $8,990,000 by mounting their black market arms on the back of a pickup truck instead of on this jet.

    • weapons usage (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mnemonic_ ( 164550 ) <jamec@umiTIGERch.edu minus cat> on Monday February 16, 2004 @03:08PM (#8297080) Homepage Journal
      I'm not sure how easy it'd be to use this demilitarized, declassified F/A-18 for weapons use. The aircraft in its current state has kamikaze potential like any other, but employment of any actual modern air platform weapons would be almost impossible. No weapons fire-control software, possibly no radar, no weapons pylons (required to handle the complex mechanical and electrical linkages with weaponry, subject to great stress).

      It might be possible to jury-rig some sort of home-made pylon (at great expense) for carrying dumb bombs (simple ones that do not require any type of software control, yes even "dumb" bombs have a small amount of computerized control), but then again you could do that with any aircraft. Any aircraft can be used to drop something (crop dusters, 172's, MD-500's etc.).

      Of course where the F/A-18 fundamentally differs from civilian aircraft is its performance (any civilian sport aircraft could out-turn it though), but even that is of scattered use. Maneuvering performance is only useful in air to air combat, and it would be impractical for this aircraft to be converted for usage with air to air weaponry by yourself, unless you have connections with very skilled weaponry engineers and a lot of time and money. Then again, if you have those connections and funds, you could probably buy a real military aircraft from Russia and not need this F/A-18 in the first place.

      Now its performance would of course increase its kamikaze potential, but due to its size, this aircraft would probably not be much more effective in that respect than a regional or business jet. And there are plenty of those around already.
  • Yeah. eBay. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by superdan2k ( 135614 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:17PM (#8296480) Homepage Journal
    Most things on eBay seem to go for damn-near retail price, so I'm guessing that a MiG-29 would get bid through the roof and have a value near to that of its Western counterparts (despite its less-than competitive combat avionics). You could probably get the MiG cheaper by just going to Russia to buy it. Like the price of a Hummer H2 (~$50K), I'm guessing. Some underpaid Russian general or mobster would probably jump at the chance.
  • by Squeezer ( 132342 ) <awilliamNO@SPAMmdah.state.ms.us> on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:18PM (#8296486) Homepage
    I'd want to own one of these...Heinkel HE-162

    http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8 &oe=UTF-8&q=heinkel+he-162&sa=N&tab=wi [google.com]

    German WW2 jet fighter, fought in the last weeks of the war. Top speed of 521 mph. None left are light worthy though. The BMW-003 jet engine used in it had a lifetime of 10-12 hours, unfortunately.
  • by kemapa ( 733992 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:18PM (#8296487) Journal
    I'll park it right in between the Bentley and the "In your dreams..."
  • by DaRat ( 678130 ) * on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:18PM (#8296491)

    3700 odd flight hours, many of Blue Angels type maneuvers. Probably some significant stress and wear on that airframe due to the type of flying. There probably was a good reason that aircraft was retired.

    Also, the article should have read "F16 Fighting Falcon" for one of the upcoming aircraft, not "F16 Hornet"

    • by stilwebm ( 129567 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:33PM (#8296668)
      Actually 3700 flight hours is fairly small for a plane of this age. Most commercial planes have a 20,000 operating hour overhaul schedule.
      • by Fulcrum of Evil ( 560260 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:52PM (#8296871)

        Most commercial planes have a 20,000 operating hour overhaul schedule.

        When was the last time your Delta pilot did a barrel roll?

        • by Kombat ( 93720 ) <kombat@kombat.org> on Monday February 16, 2004 @03:03PM (#8296999) Homepage
          When was the last time your Delta pilot did a barrel roll?

          December 26, 2002. [cnn.com]
    • by HardCase ( 14757 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:52PM (#8296878)
      3700 odd flight hours, many of Blue Angels type maneuvers. Probably some significant stress and wear on that airframe due to the type of flying. There probably was a good reason that aircraft was retired.


      Not at all - the maintenance schedule on military aviation is extraordinarily rigorous, because of the type of flying that is done and because much of the equipment (for its time) is cutting edge, at least mechanically speaking.


      The maneuvers that the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds do are the same maneuvers that all of the pilots of those aircraft perform. It's just that the demonstration teams perform them as a group. My old naval aviation buddies tell me that the Blue Angels' jets actually get easier use than the regular jets. They certainly don't have to make any arrested landings or catapault takeoffs!


      -h-

  • by baywulf ( 214371 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:18PM (#8296492)
    "I wonder how much it would cost to fully arm it?"

    I would guess it would cost about 5 years in camp X-ray.
  • Dorn? Is that you? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by memoryhole ( 3233 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:18PM (#8296496) Homepage
    According to IMDB, Michael Dorn owns (or used to) a T-33 and an F-86, among others. I wonder if it's him. Imdb link [imdb.com]
  • by Deathlizard ( 115856 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:19PM (#8296501) Homepage Journal
    ...So they can give it to the guy that turned in all the pepsi points for the Harrier Jet.

    Of course a Hornet is not quite a Harrier, but I dont think the guy will care.
  • bah! (Score:3, Funny)

    by filtur ( 724994 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:19PM (#8296504) Homepage
    Everybody has a Mig-29 these days.
  • Kick Ass (Score:5, Funny)

    by barenaked ( 711701 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:19PM (#8296507)
    I wonder if they include a free tank of gas with the purchase....
  • by pmancini ( 20121 ) <pmancini.yahoo@com> on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:19PM (#8296512) Homepage
    There is a MIG-23 in Dayton, OH at the museum at Wright Patterson AFB. It was bought by a private investor and then the mean U.S. Government confiscated it because, gosh darn, it was nuclear capable! Clearly labled as such! A Russian General unable to get money for food and other supplies from his government sold it.

    http://www.planetware.com/photos/US/OHUASF1.HTM

    Note the tri-foil on the nose cone!
  • by rampant mac ( 561036 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:20PM (#8296518)
    "...claims they'll soon be auctioning off an F-16 Hornet..."

    That would be F-16 Fighting Falcon. Of course, this is Slashdot and it wouldn't surprise me if they mistakenly called it an F-16 Elbow.

  • by StuWho ( 748218 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:20PM (#8296530) Journal
    I think I'll buy it... It's time the war against the RIAA, SCO, and Microsoft became more than just a metaphor! Warn Redmond air traffic control to expect me soon...
  • by SquierStrat ( 42516 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:21PM (#8296536) Homepage
    Being a aviation mechanic for the Marine Corps, I'm going to tell you that you want hte thing flight worthy...the assembly isn't something you would want to tackle yourself. In short: it's a bitch.

    And to the person doubting you could get an LOA for it...that's crap. The question is would you want to fly it?
    • Hmm.
      I'm an ex-navy fire control & Avionics tech for this bird (lot 12 being the last one I worked on).
      What say we see who buys it and offer ourselves as ground crew? I've got a friend who's a BB stacker, just need a power guy...
      Assuming, of course, that it has the AN/APG-65 radar/avionics package still onboard; thats what I can't see the Navy willing to let fall into private hands, but I also can't see the bird flying without it, it's fairly integrated.
    • by Embedded Geek ( 532893 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:42PM (#8296777) Homepage
      You just made a serious mistake by not posting anonymously when you identified your skillset, my friend. If your friends are anything like mine, I can just imagine what's filling your inbox right now:

      You, know, I wasn't thinking of bidding on it until I saw your post. But I thought about it and maybe we can do the usual tech support thing. You know: you swing by and help me put it together. I'll provide the pizza and beer.

      So, are you busy next weekend or not?

  • by EverlastGobstopp ( 724298 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:21PM (#8296538)
    "So unless you're ex-military, you'd have yourself a $9 million lawn ornament." I would love to have a F/A-18 sitting out on my lawn. In the fall I could use the afterburners to clear all the leaves from my yard. In the winter they could melt the snow on my driveway. I haven't thought of a use for spring and summer yet...
  • by benlinkknilneb ( 708649 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:23PM (#8296550) Journal
    How do they deliver it?
  • by iblink ( 648486 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:23PM (#8296554)
    someone named fashionpillows. Go figure.
  • Odd... (Score:5, Funny)

    by barryfandango ( 627554 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:26PM (#8296595)

    Listed in category: Consumer Electronics > Radios: CB, Ham & Shortwave > Ham Radio > Accessories > Antennas

    For a million bucks this better get good reception.

  • by jafac ( 1449 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:26PM (#8296599) Homepage
    Remember; eBay supports Terrorism.
  • by lostchicken ( 226656 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:29PM (#8296631)
    Looking at the minimun bid of $1 mil, that means that there have, so far, been 7 people willing to fork over $1,000,000 for something. Now, looking at the feedback for these people, I can't possibly see how some of them could pay for this. wtmahan has bought repair manuals for a 1995 Nissan Protege. Anybody who drives one of those, and wants to fix it him/herself probably cannot afford an F/A-18. The current high bidder has bought a bunch of shirts and a $15,000 Porche, not cheap, but not a car for a person who can spend $1mil on an airplane kit.
    • by TopShelf ( 92521 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:54PM (#8296897) Homepage Journal
      They might be looking at this as a business investment - can you imagine the commercial possibilites for supersonic cropdusting? You don't make much on each field, but the volume...
    • by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @04:23PM (#8297838) Homepage
      Looking at the minimun bid of $1 mil, that means that there have, so far, been 7 people willing to fork over $1,000,000 for something. Now, looking at the feedback for these people, I can't possibly see how some of them could pay for this. wtmahan has bought repair manuals for a 1995 Nissan Protege. Anybody who drives one of those, and wants to fix it him/herself probably cannot afford an F/A-18. The current high bidder has bought a bunch of shirts and a $15,000 Porche, not cheap, but not a car for a person who can spend $1mil on an airplane kit.

      The high bidder now apparently sells juggling clubs [ebay.com] for $20 a pop. He can't possibly be serious. The guy who was high bidder this morning at least had among his past purchases a pilot's carry-on bag, a wooden model of a twin engine Cessna, and some sort of "pilot training on CD" software.

  • Dangerous toys (Score:5, Insightful)

    by paiute ( 550198 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:33PM (#8296675)
    I know (or knew) a rancher who rebuilt a Mustang. He used to fly it over his cattle drives on occasion to keep an eye on things. One day the cowboys saw him fly it straight into the side of a hill. Not only was he rendered into many tiny pieces, but an irreplacable piece of American aviation history was lost forever.

    Men have this fascination with warbirds - both prop and jet. The problem is that these things were designed - especially the old WWII birds - to fly just this side of stable. Airspeed, altitude, and maneuverability were prioritized over forgiveness. Even well-maintained aircraft flown by pilots with many hours all too often augered in. That was the price the military knew they would have to pay to get the job at hand done.

    Now we see weekend amateurs with too much money flying these things, when they should be flying Cessnas.

    • Re:Dangerous toys (Score:5, Insightful)

      by delcielo ( 217760 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @04:00PM (#8297606) Journal
      The truth is that many of the kids who flew these in practice (especially the old warbirds like your mustang) had fewer hours than a lot of current pilots.

      It's all about the training and discipline. Getting good education and training, and then having the self discipline to follow those things as well as the normal "rules" of aviation. In other words, just because you have a mustang and know how to fly it, that doesn't make it safe to do low-level passes with your attention diverted to things on the ground. That was true when the airplane was flown in combat, too.

      The area that most new warbird owners seem to get into trouble on is fuel exhaustion. None of these birds really have large stores of fuel unless they have their external tanks with them. Kind of gets back to the discipline thing. You would want to keep in mind that unless you were an airshow pilot, the airplane just wouldn't be very useful.
  • I get it! (Score:5, Funny)

    by LeoDV ( 653216 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:40PM (#8296752) Journal
    You buy it to go with this [slashdot.org]!

    Accessorize baby, accessorize!
  • by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:49PM (#8296854)
    is tihs [blueangels.org]. Not quite flyable condition...;)

    Yes, it can be put back together. But no, it's not in 'fly-away' condition.

    There are several ex-military jets in private hands. F-4's, F-86's, etc. And you can just return it to weapons capable status. *All* of the fire control circuitry will have been removed. And without that, a missile won't launch in anything other than a randowm direction, if at all.

    Given the restrictions on actually flying ex-military aircraft, it would be easier for a purported terrorist to drop a case of TNT out the door of a Cessna.
    • Yep... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @03:33PM (#8297366) Homepage
      There are several ex-military jets in private hands. F-4's, F-86's, etc. And you can just return it to weapons capable status. *All* of the fire control circuitry will have been removed. And without that, a missile won't launch in anything other than a randowm direction, if at all.

      Given the restrictions on actually flying ex-military aircraft, it would be easier for a purported terrorist to drop a case of TNT out the door of a Cessna.


      ...for one, pick your target. Air-to-air combat? Riiight. Even if you got one fully locked and loaded with the latest the US has to offer, a squadron of trained combat pilots would pick you out of the sky in no time flat.

      I guess you could take out a civilian airliner or two before they manage to take you out of the sky, but hell. Despite the increased security, I'm sure there are easier ways for that still, particularly since you can sabotage landings/take-offs.

      So it's basicly a bomber. What do you need? Speed? Nah. If you can reach the center of whatever no-fly zone before you can be shut down, that's good enough and they're not that big unless your target is a remote military base. Range? Nah. Just take off from the nearest feasible runway.

      Payload? Yeah, I guess. But then you're better off renting a transport plane anyway. And since the plane is toast anyway, either fly it in or lock/program the autopilot and parachute out. No guidance/launch system necessary, just the navigation in any basic plane.

      Basicly, this is a combat plane built to fight a war. Firepower to shoot down hostiles, range to reach enemy targets, hit fortified installations and moving targets, and return to base safely. Very little of that applies to a terrorist.

      Kjella
  • by christopher240240 ( 633932 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:59PM (#8296953)
    Does anyone know if standard concrete blocks will hold this puppy up?
  • MIGs (Score:5, Informative)

    by tiny69 ( 34486 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @03:11PM (#8297116) Homepage Journal
    After the wall fell, one of the airplane magazines had an article on one of the older MIGs (don't remember which model). At the time, you could pick them up for fairly cheap (well, cheap for being a jet). Since getting spare parts was some what difficult if even possible, the magazine recommended that if you REALLY wanted a MIG, buy two just so that you have spare parts.

    Another thing that I remember from the article, the jet on that MIG had a really slow spool up time. This meant that when you pushed the throttle to full, it would take the engine a while before it produced full power. This becomes a problem if you have to do a missed approached or abort a landing. This meant that when you landed that MIG, you would push the controls to full throttle before the wheels touched down, just in case. This is the same thing that planes do when landing on a carrier. But it seemed strange to do for a ground based runway.
  • by The Human Cow ( 646609 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @03:12PM (#8297123) Homepage
    Does that mean that I can finally have a flying Goatse?
  • I wonder... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Badmovies ( 182275 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @03:25PM (#8297283) Homepage
    ..if this person knows something. They are suddenly selling a number of jet aircraft and at rock bottom prices. I'd better go and check if Martha Stewart sold her jets today. Might be time to get rid of the Veritech.
  • by Bobulusman ( 467474 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @03:33PM (#8297359)
    This seller has a great deal of pricey stuff on Ebay. Top three, pricewise, are:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll? Vi ewItem&item=2460961703&category=26442
    Some sort of dirigible, $10M

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ca te gory=4671&item=3077350284
    2 million feet of Corning fiber optic cable, $4.4M

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ca te gory=4672&item=3078834871
    Warehouse, $1.1M
  • by mrmag00 ( 200868 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @03:43PM (#8297449) Journal
    I have to wonder what this fellow is into that is the current high bidder.

    According to his feedback [ebay.com] he purchased a 19" roulette wheel, later 2 microsoft t-shirts, a microsoft training guide, then microsoft small business server, and finally a 1979 Porche. He's now bidding on a 1-million dollar aircraft.

    It just makes me wonder what this fellow is up to... and if I should be doing it too!
  • by phorm ( 591458 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @03:44PM (#8297456) Journal
    It's neat to see whom actually bids on these things. Checking out the comments on the high bidder:

    Perfect Transaction, Fast payment, True Gentleman, Please enjoy your PORSCHEAAA+

    and another less happy:
    only 1 bid & insisted that I sell him a MichaelJordan/ XP Bus Server SW for 9.99
    $gt; A winning bid is a winning bid; my friend! Period! ! ! Now ship my product!!!


    Quite amusing... these people live in a different world than I. Enjoy your PORSCHEAAA+ indeed
  • think it 's a scam (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 16, 2004 @05:01PM (#8298254)
    I knew the rohntowers.com sounded familiar... The guy (Micheal Landa) has an alleged checkered past: http://www.bishoptower.com/landa/
  • New Link (Score:4, Informative)

    by The AtomicPunk ( 450829 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2004 @12:47PM (#8306330)
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&cate gory=4672&item=3079057375

    The price is now $29M + $9M to assemble it.

    What a bargain!

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