posted on Jan, 9 2007 @ 09:52 AM
I've seen Hunters, T-38s, Drakens and MiG-21s in private/corporate hands. I know there is a 'historical society' which flies an F-4E marked as one
of Ritchie's airframes on the airshow circuit. Tracor I think it is, used to have both an F-4 and F-100s serving as towjets for various targets and
EW decoys. And one guy I read has a Skyhawk he brought back in moldering pieces from somewhere in the Pacrim that he is trying to put back
Speaking of which, one of the Hoi Polloi Royals in Thailand or Malaysia has his own-marked F-5E (maintained by the Air Force) which he takes up for a
spin now and again (as they are replaced by F-16/18/MiG-29).
The same used to be true of the King Of Jordan, an avid aviophile.
If you want to get technical, I think most of the MiG-29 and Su-27 demo teams are also flying as capital corporation 'private properties' now.
Frankly, the costs of ownership and particularly maintenance on retired fast jets is so high that among the worlds mega wealthy, if 10% of the upper
10% have a passion for flying fast jets, I still doubt if more than 50 people can /afford/ to own them as flyable airframes.
If nothing else, you can probably put 10 grande of conventional avgas into a (detuned) Merlin on a P-51 and fly for a month every weekend. I doubt if
the same amount will get you more than a couple flights worth of avker. Jets With Burners are just thirsty damn beasts and fuel costs are
astronomical these days.
Then there is the insurance factor. Jets tend to break faster and having four or five times the parts count (even when stripped of military systems
like the radar), require greater stroking from a more expert hand in more frequent phased maintenance. Add to this the fact that everything is
happening /at least/ 50 knots faster (in the pattern where most catastrophes happen) and you will just get soaked for currency factors on both the jet
itself and your own competencies in flying it.
The people you want to ask this of are the ones who sponsor those 'avtrader' magazines. They will know to a T how many military aircraft are
available as owned airframes and what the requirements for legal ownership are.