Totally Cool! Can I Have It?

MIflyer

1st Sergeant
4,514
6,843
May 30, 2011
Cape Canaveral
Abandoned!

Screenshot 2022-11-22 at 15-52-09 Abandoned Jet - YouTube.png
Screenshot 2022-11-22 at 15-51-45 Abandoned Jet - YouTube.png
 

MIflyer

1st Sergeant
4,514
6,843
May 30, 2011
Cape Canaveral
I see that it has been used as an austere airbase field maintenance trainer. Note the rather crude patches on the fuselage and canopy. Back in 1988 I was TDY to Brooks AFB, TX and while on a run down one of the abandoned runways was surprised to find a simulated remote base with sandbagged positions and some older aircraft. They had some F-105B's and F-101B's and had effected similar type repairs to them.

At Melbourne Airport for a long while there was an abandoned early model Canberra in RN markings, complete. And they had a Jet Provost in similar condition. The airport authority offered them for auction and the Canberra ended up at the Tico Warbird Museum.

You recall that T-38 used in the original Top Gun and the associated Pepsi commercials? Someone built that up out of surplus parts.

its a little bit small! but i think i can convert it to a live-able place!!!

Heh. In Iran they'd snap that up as a prime item for refurb and put it back in service.
 
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FLYBOYJ

"THE GREAT GAZOO"
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Apr 9, 2005
Colorado, USA
You recall that T-38 used in the original Top Gun and the associated Pepsi commercials? Someone built that up out of surplus parts.
The T-38s (and F-5s) used in Top Gun belonged to Thornton Aviation, they were out of Van Nuys CA. Somehow Thornton acquired several F-5A & Bs/ T-38s surplus at the time the Pentagon was clamping down on such sales. When my father in law was the CO of USAF Detachment 15 (B-1B flight test) he was going to try to lease a few of Thornton's F-5s but they had scheduling issues so he went and acquired several F-106s to chase the production B-1s during test flights.

IIRC the Pepsi commercial had an A-4 in it as well. I think that was also civilian owned.
 

BlackSheep

Senior Airman
405
411
May 31, 2018
The T-38s (and F-5s) used in Top Gun belonged to Thornton Aviation, they were out of Van Nuys CA. Somehow Thornton acquired several F-5A & Bs/ T-38s surplus at the time the Pentagon was clamping down on such sales. When my father in law was the CO of USAF Detachment 15 (B-1B flight test) he was going to try to lease a few of Thornton's F-5s but they had scheduling issues so he went and acquired several F-106s to chase the production B-1s during test flights.

IIRC the Pepsi commercial had an A-4 in it as well. I think that was also civilian owned.
A civilian owned A-4? That trumps a Ferrari or Lambo in my book any day….
 

MIflyer

1st Sergeant
4,514
6,843
May 30, 2011
Cape Canaveral
Back in the late 50's a guy got a bright idea. The airlines were about to get jets but there were no jet trainers available for civilian use. So he went around the country buying T-33 parts at govt auctions until he was able to build one. Problem was, that T-33 did not exist; Lockheed never rolled it off the production line with its own serial number. But then the USAF made the mistake of selling a wrecked T-33A as an airplane rather than as scrap metal, so he bought that one and transferred the serial number.

I recall reading that when that guy built a T-38 out of parts he said he actually had enough to build another one if anyone wanted to come up with the money.

A friend of mine went out to look at an an A-7D crash in 1976. It was on the Nellis Range and as they headed to the crash site in a UH-1N he asked about a line of aircraft he could see parked in the desert. They told him they were F-84F's that were being flown to Davis Monthan AFB but that somehow received instructions to land at Indian Springs AFS. AFLC then got the paperwork so screwed up that they finally decided the best thing to do was to pretend that the fighters did not exist. Officially, you could not steal one because they were not there. I am pretty sure they they ended up as targets on the range.

A friend of mine bought a T-33A and an F-80 at a scrap yard in the early 1970's. He paid little for the F-80, and had wanted just the T-33, but just felt sorry for the poor thing, and sold it years later at a large profit.
 

BlackSheep

Senior Airman
405
411
May 31, 2018
Back in the late 50's a guy got a bright idea. The airlines were about to get jets but there were no jet trainers available for civilian use. So he went around the country buying T-33 parts at govt auctions until he was able to build one. Problem was, that T-33 did not exist; Lockheed never rolled it off the production line with its own serial number. But then the USAF made the mistake of selling a wrecked T-33A as an airplane rather than as scrap metal, so he bought that one and transferred the serial number.

I recall reading that when that guy built a T-38 out of parts he said he actually had enough to build another one if anyone wanted to come up with the money.

A friend of mine went out to look at an an A-7D crash in 1976. It was on the Nellis Range and as they headed to the crash site in a UH-1N he asked about a line of aircraft he could see parked in the desert. They told him they were F-84F's that were being flown to Davis Monthan AFB but that somehow received instructions to land at Indian Springs AFS. AFLC then got the paperwork so screwed up that they finally decided the best thing to do was to pretend that the fighters did not exist. Officially, you could not steal one because they were not there. I am pretty sure they they ended up as targets on the range.

A friend of mine bought a T-33A and an F-80 at a scrap yard in the early 1970's. He paid little for the F-80, and had wanted just the T-33, but just felt sorry for the poor thing, and sold it years later at a large profit.
If only there were a similar story involving me and a T-37……. Always wanted one ever since I saw an A-37 at an Air National Guard open house near Sky Harbor Intl in Phoenix..that was a strange little event that included an F-5 aggressor complete with imitation Soviet camouflage paint job. Somewhere, amongst my “never throwaways” are pictures. Which brings me to one more oddity of that day, I was taking cockpit pictures of all the cool planes.. 12-year old arrested for espionage, story at 6!
 

mjfur

Senior Airman
364
331
Sep 23, 2006
There are currently 36 T-38's registered in the FAA Database, 28 of those are registered to NASA.
There are currently 32 F-5's registered in the FAA Database, 15 of those are registered to Tactical Air Support.
There are currently 57 McDonnell/Douglas A-4's registered in the FAA Database.
There are currently 8 Cessna A-37's registered in the FAA Database.
There are currently 2 Cessna T-37's registered in the FAA Database.
 

MIflyer

1st Sergeant
4,514
6,843
May 30, 2011
Cape Canaveral
The University of Colorado had a F-101B they used for Weather Research. It had the university name painted right on the side. I saw it land one day at Tinker AFB.

Back in 1973 I recall reading that there were 114 privately owned jet fighters in the US.
 

mjfur

Senior Airman
364
331
Sep 23, 2006
The University of Colorado had a F-101B they used for Weather Research. It had the university name painted right on the side. I saw it land one day at Tinker AFB.

Back in 1973 I recall reading that there were 114 privately owned jet fighters in the US.

 

FLYBOYJ

"THE GREAT GAZOO"
Staff
Mod
28,097
8,668
Apr 9, 2005
Colorado, USA
There are currently 36 T-38's registered in the FAA Database, 28 of those are registered to NASA.
There are currently 32 F-5's registered in the FAA Database, 15 of those are registered to Tactical Air Support.
There are currently 57 McDonnell/Douglas A-4's registered in the FAA Database.
There are currently 8 Cessna A-37's registered in the FAA Database.
There are currently 2 Cessna T-37's registered in the FAA Database.
Now that's just the registry, more than likely only half of those (if not more) are actually flying
 

BlackSheep

Senior Airman
405
411
May 31, 2018
There has been several operated by companies and warbird collectors. A former employer had several that once belonged to the IAF.

View attachment 695785

photo credit: the internet
I imagine storage wasn’t any harder than other commercial planes, given its size, am I right?

The one downside is the single-seating, but IF I were to obtain my own A-4, I’m sure some of you handy types can help me upholster, paint, and pressurize a couple of surplus drop tanks for…..ahem, friends of the pilot.. 😝
 

FLYBOYJ

"THE GREAT GAZOO"
Staff
Mod
28,097
8,668
Apr 9, 2005
Colorado, USA
I imagine storage wasn’t any harder than other commercial planes, given its size, am I right?
For the most part correct. Most of the time you have the "flyers" hangered and you many have a few parts carcasses kept outside.
The one downside is the single-seating, but IF I were to obtain my own A-4, I’m sure some of you handy types can help me upholster, paint, and pressurize a couple of surplus drop tanks for…..ahem, friends of the pilot.. 😝
To be brutally honest, if you can afford the aircraft, you pay for your maintenance.;)
 

MIflyer

1st Sergeant
4,514
6,843
May 30, 2011
Cape Canaveral
At the Tico warbird museum they have a Mig-17PF. That is the radar equipped version, although with guns rather than the missile only armament of the PFM version. It seems that some college kids got together and bought it. A friend of mine, chief of restoration for the Smithsonian ASM, took a trip to Poland circa 1992, was shown a field covered with various Migs, and was told, "Any one you want for $5000 American." So the college kids scraped up something on that order in that timeframe and bought themselves a Mig. Eventually it became obvious what it was going to take to get that thing in the air, so the Valiant Air Command ended up with it.

At Santa Barbara Airport in the late 1980's a guy bought himself an F-86 and a Polish-built Mig-15. I went down to look at it one Saturday and found it sitting on a very wet ramp. The only other guy around there at the time told me they had assembled the Mig and then fueled it and tried to start it. They got fuel gushing out all over the place, hosed it down and went to lunch. I got to look at it in detail and photograph it, although my tennis shoes smelled like kerosene for months thereafter. Don't know if they ever got it running.

The effort required to get one of those things up and running is huge.
 
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