Four F-14 Jets Seized From Private Owners

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Sep 17, 2004
Moorpark, CA
Four F-14 Jets Seized From Private Owners
Investigators Say Planes Were Improperly Decommissioned

POSTED: 5:33 pm PST March 6, 2007
UPDATED: 5:45 pm PST March 6, 2007
LOS ANGELES -- Federal agents seized four F-14 fighter jets Tuesday as part of a 17-month investigation into how they were transferred to private owners before they were properly "demilitarized."

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, U.S. Department of Defense officials and agents with the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) were at Chino Airport Tuesday to seize the jets. Authorities said three of the planes were held by local air museums.

The F-14s were improperly transferred to private parties, according to investigators. The investigation was launched after allegations that the jets were not properly "demilitarized" before the transfers.

Demilitarization regulations require certain parts, such as ejector seats, to be removed before the equipment is transferred to a private party.

Two aircraft were located at the Yanks Air Museum in Chino. One plane was at the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino.

A fourth F-14 was acquired by a production company for the television program "JAG." The plane was stored at a facility in Victorville.

Investigators said the jets were retired from active service at the Naval Air Station at Point Mugu, Calif., in the late 1990s.

"The same thing that makes these planes a source of interest for aircraft enthusiasts, their relatively pristine condition, also makes them desirable for those with less innocent motives," said Robert Schoch, special agent in charge for the ICE office of investigations in Los Angeles, in a news release. "The strict regulations governing the transfer of military aircraft are designed to reduce the likelihood that sensitive equipment and technology might fall into the hands of individuals or countries seeking to do us or our allies harm."

The news release said the Navy has new policies and procedures to prevent improperly demilitarized planes from being transferred to private owners. The planes will be partially dismantled and transported to the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center in Arizona.

The investigation into the transfer is continuing.

Copyright 2007 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Four F-14 Jets Seized From Private Owners - News
The BATF tried to pull the same crap with a Cobra owned by a former employer of mine - after they realized they didn't have a leg to stand on he made them get off the airport grounds threatening with arrest for trespassing...
I saw a show on this a few weeks ago about the demiliterizing of the F-14s. I can understand pulling certain avionix and weapons systems but the damn ejection seats come on!
I am waiting to hear from my friend at Planes of Fame. Seems like typical bureaucratic nonsense. If the government released them prematurely, or with the work not properly done, then FIX that, don't sick law enforcement on the folks that received them. That's just dumb. Jees, the people at POF and Yanks are both upstanding in the warbird community.
Meanwhile Iran limps a few along in their fleet using them as supplements to their radar picket. How they keep them flying is what I wonder.
Oh good grief...And the current museum owners are infinitely smarter on
these aircraft than the ICE 'public servants'. It makes America look silly
and paranoid.
I can never work out why ejector seats are taken out of aircraft that are transferred to civilian hands. Obviously they are there for a reason and the reason is the same, whoever is flying them.
But in aircraft for static display, they are unnecessary. In this case, the F-14s were to be static display aircraft. The ejection seats carry an explosive charge, which is obviously not ideal for static displays.
I can never work out why ejector seats are taken out of aircraft that are transferred to civilian hands. Obviously they are there for a reason and the reason is the same, whoever is flying them.
Some civilian operators think hot seats make them safer when in fact they are more of a hazard. I don't like flying with hot seats unless they are on an aircraft maintained by the military so no shortcuts are made with regards to egress maintenance.

This also depends on the aircraft - if you're flying around in an L-29, L-39 or even a T-33, I don't see the need for hot seats. F-4s, F-14s are a different story as you're flying higher and faster than first or second generation jets.

BTW - in the past 7 years there has been only one successful ejection out of a civilian jet that I'm aware of - A Hawker Hunter at Chino CA. I know the guy who did the seats and he's top notch. Despite ejecting the pilot still got pretty jacked up.


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