Jet Used By Blue Angels
A Navy F/A-18A Hornet fighter, "some assembly required," was
offered on the online auction house eBay. The price for the jet,
which formerly belonged to the Navy's Blue Angels aerial
demonstration team, is just over $1 million, or about $9 million
for a buyer who wants it assembled, painted and certified
ready-to-fly. It appears someone decided to buy the jet for their
own personal collection.
"Complete with extras including bomb racks, drop tanks and
pylons," the eBay offering noted.
Only legal U.S. residents were allowed to bid. The
auction is scheduled to end Thursday, just before 5 p.m. EST, but
closed prematurely on Monday One bid was listed Sunday: $1.05
million, a bargain for this kind of aircraft. An F/A-18 in
1997 cost the military $28 million, according to the Blue Angels'
official Web site.
Mike Landa of Landa and Associates in Arlington (WA), the
brokerage that listed the Blue Angels fighter on the Internet
auction service, told The Virginian-Pilot the jet is in parts and
came out of military service in 1994. Landa wouldn't identify the
owner but said he came by it legally.
"This thing obviously slipped through the system somehow," Landa
said, adding that it was "released during the Clinton management
Normally, the Navy either mothballs a jet after it no longer is
deemed usable or leases worn-out models to museums. Only rarely can
a surplus jet be sold to a third party, a Navy spokesman said last
week. There also are policies against reselling them or
shipping them out of the country. The Navy's official position is
that it is aware of the auction and is looking into the matter. The
FBI came out to visit Landa after he put the jet up for bidding.
They wanted to know "what are you selling here," he said. Landa
said the owner has offered the government an opportunity to buy the
Thursday, the Hornet briefly was listed as sold to someone who
agreed to the Buy-It-Now price of $1,075,000. That pulled the
jet temporarily off eBay. But Landa said he knew immediately it was
a phony bid. There is no word if the latest "sold" sign is for
"Anybody who doesn't call you when bidding a million dollars"
isn't a serious bidder, he said. Landa said he has no doubt that
someone will surface to claim the Hornet. The jet's model can fly
about 1,400 mph and climb 30,000 feet in a minute. "Collectors,
people with bucks" would want the aircraft, he predicted. "Big
boys' toys. A million bucks is a drop in the bucket for many
Landa makes his living selling cell-phone towers and other
communications equipment. He has brokered aircraft for 20 years to
support his own flying hobby. He said he also is in the process of
selling an F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter and Russian MiG- 29s. But
the Hornet will be unique.
"They can say it's a former Blue Angel," he said. "The only one
in existence. Probably the only one that ever will be."