For sale online: Navy Blue Angels Hornet

For sale online: Navy Blue Angels Hornet

There it is on eBay, sandwiched between ads for factory-sealed plastic model kits of jet fighters selling for under $5: An F/A-18A Hornet for $29 million.

A real one. 'The only F/A-18A in private ownership in the world,' according to the seller, Landa and Associates of Washington state. 'Complete with bomb racks, drop tanks and pylons,' and a spare engine. Assembly required.

The plane, which was flown by the Navy's Blue Angels precision flying team in the early 1990s, was decommissioned in 1994 and was never demilitarized. It somehow ended up, intact, in the hands of a private owner in California.

According to the Pensacola News Journal, the Navy is looking into how the plane slipped through the bureaucratic cracks and into civilian hands. Seller Mike Landa said the FBI had talked to him about it and maintains that the plane was acquired legitimately.

Landa is a broker of surplus aircraft and telecommunications equipment. His other current wares offered on eBay include $4.4 million worth of fiber-optic cable, a warehouse of wireless networking equipment and a military model UH1-P Huey helicopter for $85,000. He also recently sold a T-33 jet Air Force trainer for $225,000.

The Hornet has been stored in parts and is being offered as-is. 'The current owner will assemble aircraft, making it airworthy, with your choice of paint,' for an additional $9 million, the online info says. The current owner also is offering a lease-back deal, paying all maintenance and operations costs as well as an hourly fee to the buyer.

The auction is open only to prequalified bidders who are legal residents of the United States. All U.S. export restrictions apply.

The eBay auction ends Feb. 20 at 8:44 a.m. PDT. With two days and 21 hours left, no qualified bids had been received.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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