Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Image

Own Your Own Fighter Jet 222

Posted by samzenpus
from the only-one-on-the-block dept.
gimmebeer writes "The Russian Sukhoi SU-27 has a top speed of Mach 1.8 (more than 1,300 mph) and has a thrust to weight ratio greater than 1 to 1. That means it can accelerate while climbing straight up. It was designed to fight against the best the US had to offer, and now it can be yours for the price of a mediocre used business jet."

*

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Own Your Own Fighter Jet

Comments Filter:
  • by Rockoon (1252108) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @03:03PM (#30792186)
    So now that I won my own combat jets, anybody got a slightly used aircraft carrier up for sale?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by woody.jesus (1665793)
      There's one in Charleston Harbor ... the USS Yorktown, 'Fighting Lady of WWII'. Still floats. In need of some repair.
    • by wjsteele (255130)
      Oh... you just missed it. The Russians sold the one they had under construction to the Chinese.

      Bill
    • I saw these fly at Farnborough a few years ago. Absolutely beautiful to watch - they showed a manoeuvre where the plan banks to a straight stall, then just stops and hovers. Any pursuing craft flies straight past. It was a bit old then (just there for the display, they weren't selling them), and wasn't much use as a combat manoeuvre anyway because it was introduced in an age when close dogfighting was already largely obsolete, but it looked impressive.

      And, since you mention it, while I was there a girl

      • by ZosX (517789) <zosxavius AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday January 16, 2010 @09:54PM (#30795258) Homepage

        The cobra maneuver. Speed = Energy. In a turn and burn contest the pilot with the must energy wins, especially once it goes into the vertical. They would never use that maneuver in a knife fight. The loss of speed is death in a dogfight. Just because you saw it on top gun doesn't make it an effective tactic. It is more to show the ability of the vectored thrust to allow the plane to turn in ways a traditional fighter jet can not.

  • Nothing new (Score:2, Interesting)

    I remember a story from almost 10 years back that you could buy a Mig-21 for $14k as is or around $100k restored and made legal. The cost wasn't in the aircraft itself, but the maintenance to keep it flying. Still waiting to get my own F-14.
    • by Nidi62 (1525137)

      Still waiting to get my own F-14.

      Good luck with that. You'd have to go to Iran for spare parts, and it'd be impossible to get that through customs.

    • by Bragador (1036480)

      It's usually like that around the world. Here you can buy http://lighthouse.boatnerd.com/gallery/StLawrence/PrinceShoal.htm [boatnerd.com] for 1$. The government doesn't want it anymore.

      Have fun with the maintenance though.

    • Re:Nothing new (Score:5, Informative)

      by westlake (615356) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @03:36PM (#30792454)

      I remember a story from almost 10 years back that you could buy a Mig-21 for $14k

      Here are some fighter jet stories from 2006: Buying A Fighter Jet? [airliners.net] and another from Wired: Building Your Own Air Force, One Mig at a Time [wired.com] [2005]

       

    • by tunapez (1161697)

      Problem is they cannot be operated in US airspace by a private pilot; excepting only when testing repairs or routine maintenance. Saw one a couple weeks back @ DVT. It took off, did 2 touch and go's then landed. That is probably all the flying he'll be doing this year.

      • by Gorobei (127755)

        Yeah, but when you're paying $1/second for flight time, the costs of getting a waiver or finding a friendly source airport don't seem that bad.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by afabbro (33948)

        Problem is they cannot be operated in US airspace by a private pilot; excepting only when testing repairs or routine maintenance.

        I'm curious why. Certainly, older generations of America fighter aircraft are permitted - Michael Dorn flies his F-86 Sabre all the time.

        • by tunapez (1161697)
          Don't know why. I am not a pilot, just got a great view from the patio. We have plenty of prop fighters that come in and out, and of course the business jets. As stated above, a 10 minute ride cost this guy $700 pre-911, I can only imagine what it is today.

          Quick glance @ Dorn's wiki seems to suggest previous and current military affiliations may allow him benefits private aviators do not enjoy?
    • It'll never happen. The Tomcats are all scheduled to be either scrapped, mothballed, or go to museums. Given the perceived risk of an F-14 in private ownership going to Iran, the US will never sell them to private citizens. For that matter, the US has almost never sold its military aircraft to private citizens even when the aircraft is no longer combat viable, and aircraft sold to other nations include requirements as to final disposition at end of service, which may include authorized resale, sale back

      • Re:Nothing new (Score:5, Informative)

        by MBGMorden (803437) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @04:28PM (#30792844)

        Not only that, but the US has even been pissy about salvage efforts. Technically, "Property of US Government" is a label that is legally binding unless they sell it to you. People interested in old warbirds for example will go out and drag up wrecked World War II fighters to restore. Some out of jungles, some out of the ocean - wherever they can find them, but they're pretty much all just junk heaps that will need a fortune sank into them to make them flyable again. IIRC, while the Navy and Marine Corps is somewhat lenient on the issue (there was no Air Force around back them), the Army has still been known to confiscate the 70 year old junk heaps claiming that they're still US Army Property.

        If they're being that picky with piston engine prop-powered planes, they're definately not going to let you privately own a US military fighter jet.

        In reality though, when you compare fuel burn and such, aside from pure coolness factor, it's not remotely economical for a private citizen to own a fighter jet for personal recreational flying. Besides, once you actually get into flying, most pilots find it more satisfying to fly much slower (since I, and most other private pilots I know, fly more for fun and scenery than to actually travel anywhere). A Kitfox for example is pretty close to my dream plane. High wing, small, good fuel economy, stalls at about 35MPH, and top speed is between 95-120 MPH depending on what engine it's using :).

        • I suspect that at least some of that is more about grave-related emotions than interest in property rights or technology diffusion.

          If a plane ends up lost in the jungle, or shallowish water, or some other unplanned location, it isn't all that uncommon to find bits of whoever flew it there as well. It would only take a few people in the right parts of the armed forces hierarchy who are really pissed about their dead being dug up by souvenir hunters to ensure that legally enforceable(but more or less point
        • by sycodon (149926)

          Fitfox rocks...Mauls too.

          You can get into a hell of a lot of trouble even at just 200mph, let alone 1000 mph.

      • by hitmark (640295)

        there is even some issues with the F-35 thats not even in production yet.

        a number of nato nations pitched in on the development costs, with the understanding of buying one or more of the variants when ready. But now it seems that USA considers withholding some important systems, meaning the version sold will be inferior to the equivalent operated by US forces. And this is to nato allies.

        hell, its not the first time. during WW2, britain passed people and research data on a potential atomic bomb to USA. But w

        • by multipartmixed (163409) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @06:00PM (#30793484) Homepage

          > now it seems that USA considers withholding some important systems,
          > meaning the version sold will be inferior to the equivalent operated
          > by US forces. And this is to nato allies.

          That's okay. If said allies want those systems, they can fab them themselves, although they may have to purchase the specifications and other engineering documents from the Chinese.

    • by cenc (1310167)

      There are a bunch of guys in the U.S. with their own Russian made scud missiles. I recall a guy bought one a few years ago, and it showed up at the port on the west coast with a fully functional warhead and engine that the seller in Russia failed to disable as promised before shipping.

  • Pain at the pump (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dragoniz3r (992309) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @03:09PM (#30792236)
    Paying to keep this bad boy in the air won't come cheap. I wonder how trigger-happy the US Airforce might get if they stumbled across an SU-27 over US soil though... does it still have weapon hardpoints on the wings? TFA doesn't really address that, it just says "They don't have any weapons."
    • by amiga3D (567632)
      Figure something like five thousand dollars per hour for fuel...if you stay out of afterburner. Maintenance for a jet fighter is going to be intensive too. But...if you've got 5 mil that you can spend to buy a toy then another half mil or so a year to operate it shouldn't be a problem. I'd be sure to let the Air Force know about any flight plan....some of those Air National Guard pilots might have a flashback when they see it. :)
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TooMuchToDo (882796)
        If you can afford the plane, you can afford the fuel. You can also afford the connections to get the FAA to allow you to go supersonic over US soil (which, currently, you can't unless you have a military/experimental exception).
      • IIRC Malaysia and Vietnam had a couple of these, or something similar, and they seldom flew them because of the fuel bill. It has horrid fuel consumption. The range is good because it has huge fuel tanks.

        The Russians made these to fight the F-15. It is very fast and agile. The weapon systems are also very good. It had these infrared missiles (AA-11 Archer) which could hit a target at a greater angle than similar NATO missiles at the time. This resulted in a flurry by NATO countries to upgrade their Sidew

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      actually, TFA says "The jets are the “UB” variant of the SU-27, never intended for combat, so they aren’t fitted with weapons." Way to make up a quote so you could pretend like you read it though.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by wjsteele (255130)
      Any foreign military aircraft that is brought into the US must be demilitarized before its sale can be approved. That include removing any equipment that could be offensive in nature, including radars, jamming equipment and weapon systems.

      Bill
      • But nothing stops you from acquiring and reinstalling said equipment after the purchase is complete (perhaps the law, but that doesn't count much if you were thinking about doing it anyway).
      • That's not what the parent asked. Of course the jet will be stripped of actual weaponry, but will it still have the attachment points (hardpoints). Removing hardpoints may or may not be possible as they could affect the structural integrity of the plane. After acquiring the aircraft, the owner could attach nonfunctional mockups for pure show.
        • by Chris Burke (6130)

          After acquiring the aircraft, the owner could attach nonfunctional mockups for pure show.

          That's a good point, but I thought what they were getting at was does the plane merely lack the weapons themselves, as in if you could get your hands on some suitable weapons you'd have an armed fighter. Weapon systems encompasses a lot more than just the weapons or the hardpoints, so it'd be rather moot whether the hardpoints were there or not since that's a lot easier to replace than the weapon electronics which they

      • Weapons and jamming systems I can understand, but why the hell would they want you to remove the radar from a plan that can travel at twice the speed of sound?

        Anything you can see you will be past before you can react, whether it will be by a wide margin, straight through or anything in-between. Essentially you're giving the buyer a legitimate excuse for it slamming into an airliner. "Well, we aren't allowed to have radar. If we had a radar, we would never have hit it."

    • Re:Pain at the pump (Score:5, Informative)

      by Nidi62 (1525137) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @03:27PM (#30792392)

      does it still have weapon hardpoints on the wings? TFA doesn't really address that, it just says "They don't have any weapons."

      These are Su-27UBs, also known as the Flanker-C. They were not fitted with weapons and were used as trainers, and were also used in the Soviet version of the Blue Angels or Thunderbirds.

    • by WED Fan (911325) <[akahige] [at] [trashmail.net]> on Saturday January 16, 2010 @03:32PM (#30792428) Homepage Journal
      As a former USAF avionics specialist, these things are a maintenance bear (npi). the maintenance ratio is measured in 10s of hours per flight hours. However, removing combat related systems will lighten the load and reduce certain maintenance cost.
    • by v1 (525388)

      Last I checked, military hardware (such as humvee) cannot legally be sold in the USA if it still has the hardpoints. (which is another debate over stupidity for another thread) I'd assume the same is true for aircraft.

      • by Rockoon (1252108)

        which is another debate over stupidity for another thread

        Bullshit. This is slashdot.. we debate stupidity wherever and whenever we want!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sa1lnr (669048)

      "The aircraft arrived here in a completely de-militarized condition -- all weapons systems and military-related hardware had been previously removed, in full compliance with U.S. and Ukranian laws."

      http://www.prideaircraft.com/flanker.htm [prideaircraft.com]

    • by afabbro (33948)

      I wonder how trigger-happy the US Airforce might get if they stumbled across an SU-27 over US soil though...

      Um, not at all? This isn't like 1917 and suddenly coming across a Fokker in Cornwall. It's 2009 and people file flight plans, and there are plenty of other Migs (17s, 21s, etc.) flying privately in the US.

      Now, if it was shooting across the border and painted in Russian colors and not responding to radio that might a different point.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by couchslug (175151)

      The USAF routinely hosts warbird collectors at base airshows, and there are plenty of MIGs. Go to the next open house in your area, it's very cool.

      Anyone wanting to blow up shit and kill people could just as well rent a cargo plane, pack it to the gills with expedient explosive, and bring MUCH more to the game than a few thousand lbs of ordinary bombs.

  • Range? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by istartedi (132515) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @03:12PM (#30792258) Journal

    I was curious about Concorde replacements a while back and researched some of the Soviet fighters. Unfortunately they tend to have short ranges at top speed. If they could just increase the fuel capacity of a two-seater, they'd have a Concorde substitute. The ticket would probably be a lot more though, since you've got one plane and one passenger.

    If you don't have the range for a trans-Atlantic hop, having supersonic capability isn't too useful in the US. You're not allowed to fly supersonic over land here because of the boom.

    Maybe it'll sell in some other country where the uber-wealthy have a shorter distance to travel, and no noise restrictions.

    • by amiga3D (567632)
      If you're worried about fuel usage get an F22. Supersonic cruise really helps the mileage.
    • by tsalmark (1265778)
      For all intents and purposes, bad English is seen as the hallmark of ignorance and lack of education.
    • I was curious about Concorde replacements a while
      back and researched some of the Soviet fighters.

      For the same money you could pay Scaled Composites to build you a brand new semi ballistic glider. I bet Branson would be interested as well. How does 30 minutes to cross the Atlantic sound?

    • The first SU-27s seen by the western public flew from Moscow to Paris without refueling, and without drop tanks (internal only). One of them was the two-seater UB version, the same type being sold. (Le Bourget, Paris international air show, 1989.)
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by MartinSchou (1360093)

        But it probably didn't do it at Mach 2. If it's just at sub-sonic speeds, it's not much of a replacement for a Concord for trans-atlantic travel.

  • Ben Quote (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bunji X (444592) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @03:22PM (#30792336)

    An elegant weapon... For a more civilized age...

  • ...it won't fit through most drive-in's like McDonald's, KFC or Burger King.
  • Okay, now that I got it, where the heck do I store it? Under the carport? Unless the sucker has the best folding wings ever, the HOA fines are gonna be a bitch.

  • by prionic6 (858109)

    There's probably a refId for Slashdot somewhere...

  • One can dream... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gillbates (106458) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @03:47PM (#30792548) Homepage Journal

    When I was younger, I remember touring the Air National guard and asking the tour leader if I could by a fighter jet. He responded that to own a fighter jet, I'd have to find one in the Arizona boneyard and it would cost about 5 million dollars. In the 80's, the F16 cost 5 million each (or so I was told...)

    However, even had I the money today, I'm not so sure I would buy one.

    My uncle was in the Air Force, and actually flew in an F4 phantom. He had three remarks:

    1. He could not believe anything could travel so fast. Even though he rode a motorcycle, he was awestruck by the speed of the F4 phantom.
    2. Fighter jets built after WWII are as maneuverable as they are because they are inherently unstable in flight. The reason why a fighter jet can pull such tight turns is because it's "steady state" flight characteristic is not flat, level flight, but turning flight. While this is valuable in combat, it means that flying combat aircraft requires a high degree of concentration and training. Unlike a Cessna, a moment of inattention in a combat jet can mean finding oneself in an unrecoverable maneuver.
    3. Unlike what some simulators might predict, recovering from a dive can actually be much more difficult than entering one, because the fuel shifts forward, changing the aircraft's center of gravity. Of course engineers design the aircraft to minimize this, but it can never be completely eliminated and does have serious implications for flight. The asymetric flight characteristics of combat jets could come as a very unwelcome (and possibly fatal) surprise to a civilian pilot.

    Today, I'm content to fly simulators because I can get a feel for the experience without the attendant risk and cost. Were I flying a 5 million dollar aircraft, I would be very reticent to try the kind of manuevers I do in the simulator, simply because of the risk involved. In the simulator, I can try spins and stalls and rolls that prudence would forbid in the real world.

    But it would still be cool to own a fighter jet.

    • by sznupi (719324)

      Remark 2 is a bid weird considering that he was flying F-4...not the most agile of fighters, too often lost, also because of that, even against subsonic MiGs. Plus #2 isn't really universally true, there were different eras in philosophy of fighter design after WW2, not always emphasizing maneuverability.

      Also, I'm surprised he didn't quote "F-4 - triumph of engine power over aerodynamics" ;p

      BTW, if you are willing to make a distinction between "flying" (in a sim) and owning a fighter jet - many are quite af

      • Also, I'm surprised he didn't quote "F-4 - triumph of engine power over aerodynamics" ;p

        It's the same with a lot of modern aircraft, which is why I'd be more interested in something WWII vintage for fun flying. It's fun watching planes that the pilot can just point straight up, open the throttle, and hover, but it rather takes the fun away.

        • by sznupi (719324)

          Well, and at the same time it's definitely not the case with...a lot of other modern aircraft; just a different group.

          Take this SU-27 from the topic, for example. Yes, it has thrust vectoring and fly-by-wire. But the airframe, its aerodynamics, is basically shared with MiG-29, which has none of those "cheats", good old direct pilot input. And it's aerodynamically...fabulous. It can perform cobra maneuver ffs! (yes, pre-FBW MiG-29 too). And operate from improvised airfields, so it might be a better choice fo

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In the simulator, I can try spins and stalls and rolls that prudence would forbid in the real world.

      You should have married Felicity, the fun sister, instead. (At least you didn't get stuck with Chastity...)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)

      recovering from a dive can actually be much more difficult than entering one, because the fuel shifts forward, changing the aircraft's center of gravity.

      Yes, Neil Armstrong discovered that, 6000 up over Tranquility Base. I think it was part of the reason he landed so low on fuel. He waited for the slosh to subside.

  • by greensasquatch (854800) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @04:06PM (#30792670)
    I saw that commercial too... ...oh it's Russian? What's the Russian equivalent of Pepsi?
  • Certification (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rossdee (243626)

    Good luck on getting FAA certification, and permission to fly one of those in US airspace. And I'm pretty sure its not legal for a private jet to go over mach 1

    • Re:Certification (Score:5, Informative)

      by greyhueofdoubt (1159527) on Saturday January 16, 2010 @07:17PM (#30794222) Homepage Journal

      There's nothing stopping you from owning and flying surplus military aircraft- even fighters. There are tons of them out there, especially cold war trainers from both sides (think t-38). There are even a few people out there flying their own p-51's, although each time one crashes the number goes down permanently. There are private businesses that will even fly you around in one.

      Here's one:
      http://millionairesconcierge.com/fighterjets.htm [millionair...cierge.com]

      Here's an extensive list of businesses:
      http://www.thirtythousandfeet.com/rentride.htm [thirtythousandfeet.com]

      ---

      Yes, you are correct that you would be limited to mach .9 just like our own military. The air force stopped flying supersonic over the mainland shortly after this fiasco:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oklahoma_City_sonic_boom_tests [wikipedia.org]

      The primary reason these surplus jets would be unrealistic to own is the maintenance involved. You could do it yourself, if you knew every aircraft-specific system well enough to sign off on your own repairs. You'd spend a few weeks doing maintenance for every flight hour. Finding parts would be a nightmare. The engine alone would keep you on the ground for seemingly minor issues. Or you could hire a crew to do your maintenance, and put your life in their hands. The going rate for a freelance certified NDI tech with his own equipment is about $200-400/hr. Maintenance costs many, many times the original price of any fighter aircraft.

      I work in air combat combat command aircraft maintenance, fwiw.

      -b

  • A private company [atacusa.com] at the local airport has several ex-military jets. A-4, Kfir, Hawker Hunters. They contract out to the Navy and USAF to fly adversary DACT and tow targets.
  • Bah - a friend of mine already own and flies his own Vampire jet [jetphotos.net].
    Best part? I get to help maintain it for him, being a certified system technician and all.

We can predict everything, except the future.

Working...