Within the last decade, the Soviet-era Sukhoi SU-27 became an aircraft for sale to civilians. This military aircraft was built by the Russians to compete with the Fourth Generation F-14s and F-15s. Its impressive stats make for an exciting civilian aircraft. With twin engines, supermanueverability, and a top speed of Mach 1.8, this fighter jet will give you the ride of your life. It’s also unusually large. While it was built to rival the F-15, it comes in at over 10 feet longer and 5 feet wider than its competitor. All ten of the weapons hardpoints are removed and protected radar technology is stripped for civilian sale. The fuel is carried internally, so this stripped version of the SU-27 is the lightest and fastest of its kind. The asking price is around $5 million which is a pretty good deal to own one of the only bonafide fighter jets available to the public.
Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
Lockheed’s F-104 “Starfighter” was first introduced in the late 1950s and was active in militaries across the globe until the early 2000s. The US, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Spain, and many other nations all flew F-104s at some point in time during its 40-plus years of operation. They are now retired from military use but can be purchased by private buyers. The Starfighter was developed with help from renowned aeronautical engineer, Kelly Johnson. Johnson was also involved in the development of the U-2 spy plane and the SR-71 Blackbird. This aircraft for sale proved particularly deadly to operate and was plagued with controversy during its operational lifetime. Nonetheless, according to the FAA, there are ten privately owned F-104 Starfighters in the US. Three of which are ex-Canadian military aircraft belonging to the civilian demonstration team, Starfighters Inc. of Clearwater, Florida. In 2011, there was a restored, albeit engineless, F-104 for sale in the UK for £25,000.
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG 21 has been a staple in military air forces around the world since its introduction in 1959. Primarily used by the Soviet, Indian, and Libyan Air Forces, the MiG 21 was the first successful Soviet aircraft to perform both intercepting and fighting capabilities effectively. It held a number of world records including its rank as the most produced supersonic aircraft in history. Despite still being used by some military forces today, the MiG 21 can be purchased to be owned privately all over the world. It’s estimated that somewhere around 10,000 MiG 21s were produced by the Soviet Union and their allies over the last forty years. According to the FAA, there are 44 aircraft for sale in the United States alone. Three are located in Portland, Oregon at Premier Space Systems which perform public and private sub-orbital atmospheric space launch services. How much will one of these aircraft set you back? Around $150,000.
The MK-58 Hawker Hunter was originally built for the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a fighter jet in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Later, it would transition into intelligence gathering and fighter-bomber roles. Both single and double pilot versions were created. The aircraft was heavily exported, serving in a large number of other military units around the world. It officially retired in 2014 and now enjoys “warbird” status. Maxing out at just under 700 miles per hour and regarded as one of the great early fighters (the UK produced around 2000 of them), military aviation enthusiasts would be happy to get their hands on one of these aircraft for sale. If you have the funds, they aren’t all that hard to locate. Most Hawkers that are still in existence are owned by groups who perform aerial demonstrations. Some are contracted by the military for use as target training and threat stimulation.
Aero L-39 Albatros
No other former military aircraft is more synonymous with “warbird” than the L-39 Albatros. It was developed by Aero Vodochody in Czechoslovakia as a training aircraft. It was the first Second Generation jet trainer to be produced. Also, it’s pretty easy to see why the Albatros has become such a popular civilian enthusiast military aircraft to own. The sleek design combined with its relative ease of care and operation make it a go-to purchase for those with deep enough pockets. The specs go something like this: 40 foot long with a 31-foot wingspan, Ivchenko-Progress AI-25TL high-bypass turbofan engine with around 3800 lbs of thrust, a range of over 650 miles and it can fly for two and a half hours with internal fuel only. However, this aircraft for sale will run you about $150,000.
North American P-51 Mustang
The P-51 Mustang is a North American classic, originally built for the British during World War II as a medium-altitude fighter. However, the Mustang performed much more than those duties. The addition of the Rolls Royce Merlin engine (and later the Packard V-1650-7), allowing it to reach higher altitudes with greater power. The Mustang was key in reconnaissance missions. Also, it escorted many bombers throughout several wars thanks to its long-range capability. The P-51 has recently become a highly sought after warbird with complete, historically accurate restoration becoming an industry of its own. These restored Mustangs can fetch upwards of $1 million on the aviation market. With a max speed of around 430 miles per hour, this aircraft for sale is sure to deliver a good time for those lucky enough to get in the pilot’s seat.
Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
Also known as Tomahawk, Kittyhawk, Model 81 and Gypsy Rose Lee (depending on where you were and which P-40 model was in question), the P-40 was an active participant in World War II. It was one of the top three most plentiful US fighters of the war. The P-40 experienced a long list of upgrades during its active lifetime as performance issues and shortcomings became apparent. Despite these changes, the P-40 isn’t commonly regarded as a “top fighter” of its time but there is no denying its cool looks. This is one of the reasons it has become a desirable warbird for enthusiasts around the world. Courtesy Aircraft Sales currently has a beautifully restored P-40K Warhawk for sale for $1.775 million. That’s a pretty penny, but this particular model is quite rare. The P-40 went down in aviation history books as being an aircraft that handled well for very skilled pilots. However, it left them wishing they had something a little better. Basically, it looked better than it performed making it perfect for wealthy enthusiasts looking for a pretty aircraft to add to their collection.
Boeing B-29 Superfortress
The B-29 Superfortress was a beast of a plane, even by today’s standards. It was developed in the early 1940s by Boeing and its advanced features put the new bomber in a league of its own. Some interesting features include remote-controlled guns and pressurized crew areas that could be accessed by crew members in flight, removing the need for masks. It was the world’s heaviest production plane.
The B-29 played a crucial role as a bomber in World War II. Later, the B-29 performed a variety of jobs including weather reconnaissance and in-flight refueling. It’s no surprise that these aircraft for sale would be highly sought after given their rich history. Until July of 2016, there was only one Superfortress that was still capable of flying by the name of “Fifi”. That was until “Doc” hit the skies for the first time since 1956 on July 17th, 2016. Both planes are owned by private owners, but there has been great support by the avionic industry to help to restore them to flyable status.
The Northrop F-5 is a lightweight supersonic jet fighter with multiple models made since its introduction in 1962. It was acknowledged for its simplicity, low maintenance cost and effective air to air and air to ground capabilities. Additionally, the aircraft was heavily exported and became a staple for a multitude of Allied nation’s militaries. In fact, it remains in service as a training aircraft for the US military. As a supersonic jet fighter, the F-A Freedom Fighter maxes out at over 1,000 miles per hour, making this plane one of the faster civilian aircraft for sale. If you plan on owning AND flying one of these, you’ll probably need to get your hands on a Talon T-38, a training aircraft also developed by Northrop, that is directly based on the F-5.
Bell UH-1 Huey
The UH-1 Huey is one of the most widely used military helicopters in the world. 40 different countries operate it today. However, that doesn’t make owning one any less exciting. They first came onto the scene during the Vietnam war, and the helicopter assisted in a wide variety of missions. Some variants of the Huey acted as MedEvac, some transported supplies and personnel, and some engaged in air assault. Cruising speed is around 125 miles per hour and the crew consists of between 1 and 4 people, depending on the variant. The UH-1 Huey grew to be an iconic symbol of the Vietnam war through movies and television and for about $500,000, this aircraft for sale can be yours. That’s a steal compared to the Huey’s latest versions, which run about $25 million per aircraft.
The Folland Gnat was a small yet capable fighter jet that was developed by the British in the 1950s. Also known as the “Pocket Fighter”. This little plane had some very impressive performance features that solidified its place in several nation’s air forces around the world. The Gnat could climb at 10,000 feet-per-minute and roll at more than 360 degrees per second. It was a highly agile, maneuverable and fast aircraft for any military at the time. The British decided to employ it as an advanced training aircraft soon after ordering the first six test aircraft. However, the Gnat went on to fulfill fighter roles in Finland, India, and Yugoslavia. It was particularly successful in India during the war with Pakistan. In Finland, the Gnat set a record for the country as being the first to exceed the speed of sound. The Gnats have been retired from military service for some time now. However, this aircraft for sale can now be purchased as a warbird for those who can afford the nearly $200,000 price tag.
Saab 35 Draken
A powerful fighter jet that could go toe to toe with bombers at high altitudes and effectively combat enemy jet fighters needed. Therefore, Swedish manufacturer Saab developed the 35 Draken. Its unique design included a double delta shape, allowing the jet to be optimized for both high and low-speed performance. One of the requirements set forth by the Swedish Defense Material Administration was the ability to complete short takeoffs and landings. Saab designed the aircraft to be able to perform tail-down landings in order to achieve that goal. The Draken was first fully supersonic fighter used in Western Europe. It is still used by the Austrian Air Force, but has been retired by Sweden after nearly 40 years of use. It has a presence in the US as a testing aircraft for both NASA and other government agencies. Private ownership of this supersonic jet is possible and the aircraft for sale has even been featured in Miller beer commercials.
The Panavia Tornado is a fighter jet created from a collaborative effort between the UK, West Germany, and Italy in the 1970s. It was intended to satisfy a multitude of combat roles and became a staple of many European militaries. It is still flying to this day in some of them. Three main variants were produced: the IDS (interdictor/strike), the ADV (air defense) and the ECR(electronic warfare/reconnaissance). At high altitudes, the Tornado can reach Mach 2.2 speeds and at sea level, it maxes out at around 900 miles per hour. It has been touted for its ease of maneuverability thanks to the variable-sweep wings and pilots enjoy the spacious and surprisingly quiet cockpit. All of these qualities make it an ideal aircraft for sale for a private owner if you can manage to get your hands on one. They rarely appear on the market, so if you happen to find one and can afford to own a massive military fighter jet of your own, jump on it!
Dassault Alpha Jet
The Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet was created as a joint venture between France and Germany. The countries had two different purposes for developing the jet. France was interested in using the Alpha Jet as a training aircraft. Germany intended to use it in light attack missions. The French variant was known as Alpha Jet E and the German variant, Alpha Jet A. The French were very happy with the performance of the E variant. However, some French Air Force commanders claimed it was almost too forgiving in its handling. This made the transition to fly fighters a little more difficult. The Germans began phasing out the Alpha Jets in the 1990s, selling much of their fleet to other militaries and some to private owners. The famous Flying Bulls acquired four Alpha Jets and routinely fly them in air shows around the world. The public can get their hands on them as well for around $1 million per aircraft for sale.
Lockheed T-33 “T-Bird”
The development of the first jet fighter, the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star, brought about big changes for pilots in the USAF. These new planes were not propeller-driven, and as such handled very differently especially during takeoff and landing. The existing propeller-driven trainers were not effectively preparing pilots for the turbojet-powered P-80s. So it was decided to elongate the P-80 fuselage to add a second tandem seat. The result was the Allison J33-A-35 turbojet powered T-33 Shooting Star, the first USAF jet fighter training aircraft. While the P-80 only saw production of around 1,700, the T-Bird proved much more scalable on the military market and around 7,000 were produced for a number of nations around the world. Some militaries still use the T-33 but it is estimated that around 50 of them are in the hands of civilian operators. A recently sold T-Bird for less than $100,000 – not too bad for a piece of military history.
Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR.3
The Hawker Siddeley Harrier was developed by Hawker Siddeley for the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the 1960s. The vertical/short take-off and landing (V/STOL) concept was repeatedly attempted during this time period. The Harrier was the first to be successful. The RAF ordered both the GR.1 and GR.3 variants and a slightly modified version known as AV-8A was exported to the United States Marine Corps (USMC) in the 1970s. The GR.3 was a single-engine, single-seat jet measuring 46 feet in length with a 25 foot wingspan. It was powered by a Rolls Royce Pegasus 103 turbofan. Four vertical flight puffer jets utilized engine bleed air, mounted in the nose, tail, and wingtips. Due to its V/STOL capability, the Harrier didn’t require long runways and ground facilities like that of other fixed-wing aircraft. The aircraft proved important and effective in the Falklands War. It was retired from RAF in 2011 and some of these aircraft for sale can be found on the open market.
Douglas A-4 Skyhawk
The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk was originally developed to replace the A-1 Skyraider for the US Navy. Douglas Aircraft’s Ed Heinemann was the chief design engineer of the project. He designed a small, lightweight aircraft that was simple yet effective. The avionics are in the nose, the engine is in the fuselage, and the fuel is in the wings. Heinemann’s aggressively compact bomber was later nicknamed “Heinemann’s Hot Rod”. The Navy began using the Skyhawks just after the Korean War, and soon they were being delivered to the Marine Corps as well. By the Vietnam War, there were at least two A-4 Skyhawk squadrons in all carrier wings performing light air attack missions regularly. The A-4 was also the first to debut the concept of “buddy” air-to-air refueling. It is still in active service with non-US countries, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find your own A-4 on the US civil register.
Like the Sukhoi Su-27, the Mikoyan MiG 29 was developed by the Soviet Union to combat the American F-16 in the 1970s. The MiG 29 is a large fighter, measuring 57 feet in length with a 37-foot wingspan. It is powered by twin turbofan engines and can reach Mach 2.25 at high altitudes. The MiG proved to be capable of a multitude of roles. Its intended purpose was air to air combat. However, it also was used in air to surface and precision targeting. Once the Soviet Union dissolved, it left the former members with a surplus of the aircraft. They have been exported to over 30 other nations, with India topping the list as the largest export operator. The US even purchased a small fleet from Moldova to get a better idea of the MiG capabilities (and to keep them out of the hands of Iran). If you think you might like to own a Soviet Era jet fighter, you can purchase your own MiG 29 for around $5 million.
Grumman F9F Panther
The F9F Panther was the first jet fighter developed by its manufacturer, Grumman. Single-engined with straight wings, the Panther was a capable day fighter with the ability to carry a wide array of air to ground weapons. It was one of the first successful carrier-based jet fighters for the US Navy. This aircraft for sale saw heavy action in the Korean War, performing nearly half of the attack missions for the Marine Corps and the Navy. In fact, the Panther has a long lists of “firsts”. It gained the first air to air kill for the US Navy in Korea. Also, it was the first jet to be used by the famous Blue Angels flight team. The F9Fs were mostly pulled from front-line service in the mid-1950s but some were used for training purposes in the following few years. If you are lucky enough to own a flyable Panther, you’re in slim company as there are only two privately owned F9Fs in the US, with only one being airworthy.
Grumman OV-1 Mohawk
The Grumman OV-1 was developed in the 1950s as a replacement for the Cessna L-19 Bird Dog. The US Army needed an all-weather observation/attack plane that was faster, more powerful and outfitted with better armor than the Bird Dog. Grumman Aircraft Corporation won the project with their OV-1 Mohawk concept. It proved to be in a league of its own. The Mohawk was the first turboprop plane to be active in the US Army. It proved highly useful in a variety of military roles. Its aluminum-alloy floor and bullet-proof windows protected it from small ground arms. Its large finned tail and mounted engines allowed for superior maneuverability. At least one OV-1 variant had an internal camera and advanced side-looking radar (SLAR) which scanned the ground below and provided tracking that no other aircraft could match at the time. The OV-1 was finally retired from the US Army in 1996, but it remains one of the most modern warbirds that civilians can get their hands on.
Looking back on it, the DC-3 was one of the aircraft that really changed the industry. The cargo/transport aircraft took that duty to new heights – carrying 21 to 32 passengers or 6,000 pounds of cargo with a range of 1,500 miles – something that previously was not an option. Civil production on the DC-3 ended in 1942, but several hundreds if not thousands are still in flying condition today. That longevity is a testament to Douglas’ engineering and quality. The DC-3 was reduced the C-41 for military purposes and served as a VIP transport aircraft. The Secretary of War often times utilized the C-41. Recents auctions have placed the price of a Douglas DC-3 around $250,000 for civilian purchase.
The most-produced aircraft by the British during World War II, the Supermarine Spitfire was also the only aircraft produced continually throughout the war. The Spitfire had several different variants with several different wing designs, but an esteemed 50 Supermarine Spitfire’s remain airworthy today. Many consider the Spitfire to be the single-most important aircraft in World War II, specifically for its success in the Battle of Britain. A recent Spitfire sold at auction for 2.5 million Euro, which equates to nearly $3 million. The Hawker Hurricane, which is also on this list, was superseded by the Spitfire as World War II went on. Its role in the Allied victory makes this a highly sought-after aircraft for civilians.
Vought F4U Corsair
The Corsair, depending on the specific aircraft, was built by either Vought, Chance or Goodyear. The first Corsairs were delivered to the U.S. Navy in 1942 and are credited with turning the tide in the Pacific theatre of World War II. The Corsair’s success in air-to-air combat against the Japanese Zero aircraft was legendary. Over 12,000 of the American-built fighter plane were produced, and its estimated that there are just shy of 50 left in the United States. The F4U Corsair was built under license by Goodyear at times, and a recent Goodyear FG-1D Corsair had a price tag of $4.1 million.
Hawker Sea Fury
The last propeller-driven fighter aircraft ever used with the Royal Navy, the Hawker Sea Fury saw a lot of combat time in the Korean War. It was produced with World War II in mind, but showed up too late to the party. It was also used in the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion. It entered service in 1947 and retired from military duty in 1968 with the Burmese Air Force. Several nations flew it over the course of its life, including : UK, Australia, Canada and Pakistan. A highly-renovated Sea Fury with the crown of “fastest Sea Fury ever” – a title win in 2006 – was recently priced at $750,000.
Hispano M4L Buchon
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Hispano Buchon. Perhaps you haven’t, that’s the more likely case here. Messerschmitt’s legendary Bf-109 fighter G-variant was the idea behind the Buchon’s design. Many consider Hispano Aviation’s M4L the ultimate development post-war variant of the Bf-109 family. The M4L served mainly in the Spanish Air Force as a fighter aircraft. After its service life ended, it played a fairly large role in filming scenes for the Hollywood movie, The Battle of Britain.
The Buchon first flew in 1952. A botched deal with Germany left Spain with several unserviceable Bf-109 fighters, the Buchon was Spain’s best attempt at creating the best pf a bad situation. It served the Spanish Air Force until 1965. There is currently one Buchon up for sale, but because of its rarity a real price is unknown at this time.
McDonnell Phantom II
Currently selling for $3.95 million to the public, the F-4 Phantom II is one of the rare jets on this list. It entered service with the U.S. Air Force back in 1960 and is still used in limited, spot roles by the USAF although it is technically retired. It’s listed as a two-seat, twin-engine, long-range supersonic jet interceptor and fighter-bomber. In an age where aircraft engineering possibilities were changing every second – the Phantom II debuted with a bang. It’s top speed over Mach 2.2 combined with its ability to carry over 18,000 pounds of munitions struck fear into a lot of its enemies.
The Me-262 Schwalbe (fighter) or Sturmvogel( fighter-bomber) entered service for the Luftwaffe in 1941 and was retired at the war’s end in 1945. It was one of the first aircraft in the war to feature jet engines, and as such, it was a serious threat in the skies. Once the war was over, captured Me-262’s were put to use as test subjects by the United States. Many aspects of the North American F-86 Sabre were borrowed from the engineering tactics of the Me-262. There aren’t many left, and those that are left are likely a hodgepodge of original and refurbished parts. the most recent Me-262 that sold to a civilian went for just shy of $600,000.
Modern aviation enthusiasts likely know all bout the F-35 Lightning II, but perhaps not much about the Lightning I. Well, here it is. the P-38 was a piston-engined fighter used during World War II. But its duties went well beyond just a fighter. The P-38 lightning also held roles such as: photo reconnaissance, interception, level bombing, ground attack, night fighting, dive bombing, radar and visual pathfinding and as a long-range escort. Countries from all over the world operated the P-38, but the most notable were the USA, Italy, France, Portugal, U.K., China and Australia. If you as a civilian wanted to get your hands on a P-38, you’d better have about $650,000 laying around.
Curtiss C-46 Commando
Still active in remote locations like the Artic, the C-46 Commando was a military transport/cargo aircraft used most heavily during the mid-1940s. The C-46 was one of the first military aircraft to include pressurized cabins, a novelty at the time. Other aircraft of the same era were the DC-4 and Boeing Stratoliner. It was used heavily as a paratroop drop plane but as the war ended and many C-46s were lost during drops, it was pulled from that duty. The C-46 doesn’t have a spotless military record by any means, and many inside the armed forces couldn’t stand it. But nonetheless, if you want to own a piece of U.S. military history all it will cost you is about $250,000.
North American T-6 Texan
The North American Aviation T-6 Texan is a two-seat advanced trainer. Most of the Allied pilots who flew in World War II learned at least one thing or another inside a T-6. The Navy referred to it as the SNJ and the British Royal Air Force called it the Harvard. Overall, the T-6 Texan trained tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of pilots in 34 different countries over a period of 25 years. 15,495 Texans were made. The T-6 Texan won honors in World War II and in the early days of the Korean War – though it was most famous as a trainer. Most T-6’s today sell to civilians for just shy of $200,000.
Grumann G-21 Goose
The G-21 Goose (first flight was in 1937) was Grumman’s first for a lot of things. The G-21 was the first single-wing aircraft, first twin-engine aircraft, and the first aircraft used as a commercial airliner – pretty impressive history right there. Capable on both water and land, this aircraft served for many decades in a variety of roles. The long-lasting nature of this aircraft is a testament to it’s engineering and design. The G-21 was designed as an “air yacht” for wealthy New York businessmen, so they could commute from their homes on Long Island to their Manhattan offices. It soon found a market as an airliner, military transport, and utility aircraft.
North American B-25 “Mitchell”
The Boeing B-25 Mitchell, named after Brigadier General William “Billy” Mitchell, was a twin-engine bomber. However, over time it became much more than just a bomber. The B-25 was a high-level and low-level bomber, submarine patrol and photo reconnaissance aircraft, and even a fighter. North American Aviation produced just under 10,000 B-25s in a six-year span from 1939-1945. The first B-25 flew in August of 1940 and the US Army Air Corps accepted its first five planes in February of 1941. From there, it was a race to produce as many as possible. North American Aviation totaled 9,816 B-25s between their two plants in California and Kansas. A fully operational, famous B-25 – “Panchito” – sold recently for $1.4 million.
Canadair CF-5 Freedom Fighter
The F-5 Freedom fighter aircraft represented a breakthrough in air combat technology. It rose to popularity in the 1960s. Its ultra-low radar cross section made the aircraft difficult to spot at long range. The Freedom Fighter was the closest thing the world had to a stealth fighter at the time. This tiny “pocket fighter” was also built from the ground up as nimble dog-fighter. Most importantly, at least to outnumbered NATO nations facing the vast might of the Warsaw Pact, this fighter was incredibly cheap. It combined most of the hi-tech avionics and performance of more expensive aircraft like the F-4 Phantom with low-operating costs equivalent to the Russian Mig-21. The most recent Canadair CF-5 was sold to a private buyer, but the price is undisclosed.
Mitsubishi A6M “Zero” Reisen
The Mitsubishi A6M Reisen (“ree-sin,” Japanese for Zero Fighter) was the quintessential Japanese air power during World War II. The Zero fighter was designed by Mitsubishi but was co-produced by Nakajima. The two companies built more than 10,000 Zeros between 1939 and 1945. Japanese Navy staff directed Mitsubishi and Nakajima to submit proposals in 1937 for a new aircraft to replace the Mitsubishi A5M carrier fighter. The Zero had legendary numbers in air kills after entering combat service in 1940. The current price for a Zero Fighter is unknown.
Short Tucano Trainer
This two-seat turboprop basic trainer aircraft, built by Short Brothers in Northern Ireland, is a license-built Brazilian Embraer EMB-312 Tucano. The Royal Air Force is the primary operator, and it occasionally exports the aircraft to Kenya and Kuwait. A prototype flew it’s first flight in 1986 and the Tucano was delivered to the Royal Air Force for the first time in 1988. The Tucano is operated primarily at RAF Linton-on-Ouse. It provides basic fast-jet flying training to RAF and RN student pilots. Student fly roughly 130 hours with the Tucano before progressing to the Hawk T2 aircraft trainer. There is currently a Short Tucano on sale for $1.3 million.