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PostA Ride in a Russian L-39 (Michael Sullivan, USA, 01/15/13 2:55 pm)
I have two friends that own L-39s. One not only owns an L-39 but also owns a MiG 21 and a MiG 23. He lives in Wilmington, Delaware and was a former USAF F-102 pilot. He has a Harvard MBA and has made a lot of money working with Fanny Mae.
The other is Bob Lutz, a former Marine pilot and peer of mine as we went through Flight School together, who is heavily involved in the auto industry and is the former Vice Chairman, General Motors Corporation. I believe he had to crash land his L-39 a few years ago when the landing gear wouldn't extend.
I was surprised to learn that there were so many foreign military prop and jet aircraft owners in the US. You must be able to afford about a 1,000 gallons of fuel per hour in a high-performance jet fighter, and then to be able to purchase replacement parts. Many of these jets are out of production, so you have to try and locate parts from all over the world or have the capability to make them. Takes a huge bank account!
JE comments: At around $6 per gallon of jet fuel, L-39s are not a hobby for the faint of wallet! I calculate $100 per minute of flight time.
Bob Lutz is one of my all-time heroes of the auto industry. I'd be honored to meet him someday.