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Private U.K. Citizen Restores Sea Harrier Jump Jet

Purchased The Airplane On eBay For $16,000 ... Without Telling His Wife

Some restore old cars, and even restoring an old airplane is not an unusual thing for a person with an aptitude for such projects. But Neil Banwell of Wedmore, Somerset in the U.K. took that to a bit of an extreme ... and didn't tell his wife before he undertook the project.

Banwell spent some £10,000 (about $16,000) to purchase a pretty-well roached-out Sea Harrier jump jet on eBay in 2007. Now, he says that if someone had the money to put an engine in the airplane, it could fly again.

Banwell bought the airplane on an impulse. It was his first visit to the online auction site, and his daughter helped him place the bid. The U.K. newspaper The Mail reports that we won the bid the same day. Banwell says his wife was "livid" when she found out ... but has since come to love the old airplane he restored in a shed in his garden.

It was not Banwell's last visit to eBay. He says he "scoured" the site for parts for the airplane, as well as contacting many specialist dealers.

For now, the airplane, which looks like it could again take to the skies, is an attraction for campers at the campsite he and his wife, who is a teacher, run in Wedmore. He says he's had an offer from a U.S. museum to buy the airplane, but he's not quite ready to sell.

(Sea Harrier pictured in file photo. Not restored aircraft)



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