Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fouga! Fouga! Fouga!

The first jet trainer produced in the world, the twin-engined, French-made Fouga CM-170 Magister has served in a training role in 26 countries. First in service in July 1952, served as a trainer and in some cases a close air support aircraft.

A beautiful example of one was at the OCIA Open House.

This Fouga is owned by the World Heritage Air Museum, operating out of OCIA.

I got to talking with the founder of the museum and he gave me a lot of details about the Fouga.

He stated it handles the most fighter-like of all the jets he has at the museum, and it's a great plane to fly with a sweet roll rate and easy acrobatics.

The two seat cockpit is crammed tight but fully functional:

She's a beautiful aircraft indeed.

Now, thanks to Murphy's Law, I heard that Israel is selling off their Fouga Magisters, known in IAF service as the Zukit. They're being sold for $29,900 a piece, which is quite a bargain for such an historic warbird. Think of it - the plane you buy might have flown close air support missions in the Six Day War or may have been the jet in which famous Israeli Aces first learned their craft.

For $29,900 you could get into a cockpit like this:

Hmm, where to get a loan quick?

Then reality set in - the downsides:

1. You need to pay for shipping and disassembly, not to mention reassembly and US FAA certification, which isn't going to be cheap.
2. According to the Museum's founder, the FAA requires that to pilot one you need at least 1,000 hours, so that makes me about 992.8 short. That could take awhile to get there.
3. Also, in speaking with the owner of the Fouga at the show, he noted the operational cost came out to $1,500 per hour. Ouch.
4. He also noted the Israeli Zukits will most likely need new engines as they're at the end of their service lives, which again isn't going to be cheap. He's looking into acquiring one, but with a museum at his back he's got a lot more resources than I do, that's for sure.

Ah, but a neophyte pilot can dream, can't he?

1 comment:

Murphy's Law said...

"Ah, but a neophyte pilot can dream, can't he?"

Yes he can. That's how it starts. Next thing, he's shopping for hangar space that has an attached bathroom and kitchenette, for when his wife kicks him out for buying a plane.

But it's all good. Dream big!