If you drool at air shows and dream of someday flying in a military jet without having to do any extra push-ups, this might be your chance.
A Harrier jump jet goes up for auction later this month, and one lucky new owner could put this former military training plane in the skies again.
You'll just have to ship it over in a container first.
The Harrier, developed by British Hawker Siddeley as the first operational vertical or short take-off landing airfract, is best known for its ability to fly at top speeds, yet hover like a helicopter over a carrier. The jet’s engine pumps air through four nozzles, which rotate to propel the plane forward or straight up. Many aviation fiends say it's among the coolest, most ingenious aircraft ever designed, but its V/STOL qualities make it unique and difficult to fly.
According to Wired, the plane up for auction -- serial number XZ132 -- was built in 1976 for the British Royal Air Force. It served in Germany during the Cold War and flew in Belize and the Falkland Islands. After 15 years, it was sent to the RAF College Cranwell, where it was used for training purposes.
If hearing that it was a "trainer" makes you think the rusty or newbie pilots had their way with the poor jet, Silverstone Auctions, the clearing house hosting the bidding for the military jet, said “nothing horrendous" happened to it. Rather, it was “a mere training aid for trainee engineering officers to be taught about aerodynamics, flying controls, and documentation,” and was last flown in August 1990.
Though the auction site says this jet is "the cleanest first-generation RAF Harrier you will get the chance to own," it unfortunately is missing a few components, so it certainly isn't combat-ready. Wired reported that the jet lacks:
- Weapons systems and armaments. This almost certainly is for your own good. You really don’t need to be messing around with weapons and armaments, especially the rockets and BL755 cluster bombs the Harrier is made to carry.
- A mounted engine. The Rolls Royce Pegasus Mk103 engine comes on a wheeled stand.
- A few minor internal components, including the water tank, some fuel pipes, and some avionics.
So that means just to get it over to the states it will have to be boxed up on a container ship and sailed over.
The jet goes up for auction at the Silverstone Classic Sale in England July 26. Silverstone couldn't give an estimate for how much the plane might cost a bidder, saying the “market value for an aircraft of this pedigree is nearly impossible to gauge.”
But since there isn't a reserve on the jet, if only a few bidders make a move, the plane could go to a lucky buyer for a low price. Silverstone suggested the Harrier might be better as a display rather than a weekend excursion vehicle; he said it would be great “as a museum exhibit, gate guardian or centerpiece to a private collection.”
But if you think you could fly it as well as the Marine who was able to pull off this miraculous carrier landing on top of a stool, then you just might want to spend the extra coin to make it airworthy again.
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