Aircraft Broker Offers Exceptionally Clean, Late-Model MiG-29 For Sale.
It flew for the private threat simulation and training contractor Air USA in Quincy, Illinois. It was registered to an address in Henderson, Nevada not far from Nellis AFB and the massive Nellis Test and Training Range, home of some of the most classified aerial combat training exercises in the world.
And now you can buy it for the very reasonable price of $4.65 million USD. It is a beautiful, late model United Aircraft Corporation MiG-29UB (NATO codename “Fulcrum”) two-seat tactical aircraft.
“We’ve had a few serious calls,” Albert Heidinger of Raptor Aviation in Port St. Lucie, Florida told The Aviationist.
The aircraft listing went up on the Raptor Aviation website recently. The two-seat MiG-29UB was built in 1986 at the Kalyazinsky Machine Building Plant north of Moscow. The airframe has a total of only 818 flight hours since manufacture and only 118 hours since a complete airframe overhaul at the Lviv State Aircraft Repair Plant in Ukraine. The paint is very fresh looking, a beautiful three-color, blue and two-tone gray air superiority color scheme with Russian Aerospace Forces national markings and “bort” number “37”. It carries the U.S. civilian experimental aircraft registry of N129XX.
Realistically, a low-time, recently depot-overhauled twin-engine, two-seat, highly capable 4th generation combat aircraft for only $4.65 million is a very good value. New price for a MiG-29, depending on version, ranges from approximately $11-20 million USD. If you decide to do some comparison shopping, consider a Cessna Citation XLS business jet with 2,000+ hours sells for $7.1 million. The price of a bargain-basement (and less capable) Chengdu FC-1 Fierce Dragon single-engine fighter is over four times higher than the marked-down MiG at $20 million USD. These prices make the $4.65 million for the ’86 MiG-29UB seem like a bargain.
Who is a customer for an aircraft like this? “It will go to somebody who is wealthy and into aviation,” Heidinger told us. Basically, potential buyers may fall into one of these three categories.
From the aviation fan perspective, one could hope a private aerobatic pilot with jet ratings would buy the MiG-29 and turn it into an airshow act.
There have been very few MiG-29 flight demonstrations in the U.S. In 1990, the Russians brought a pair of MiG-29s to the U.S. in an unprecedented airshow tour. This writer saw the first demonstration of the aircraft at the High On Kalamazoo Air Show in Kalamazoo, Michigan in July, 1990. Over 70,000 people packed the show to see the MiG-29 fly in Kalamazoo. The demonstration was incredible, featuring tail slides, “cobra” maneuvers and other aerobatics never before seen in the U.S. by a tactical jet. The MiG-29 tour included three cities in 1990, Kalamazoo, Michigan, Chicago, Illinois and Dayton, Ohio. Earlier in 1989, the Russians also brought their MiG-29s to North America, this time in Canada for Airshow Canada, a trade show in Abbotsford, British Columbia near Vancouver. If no single private buyer steps up for this latest MiG-29 bargain, perhaps an organization like the Collings Foundation may show interest. This MiG-29 would make a great airshow performance in combination with the Collings Foundation F-4D Phantom II, but Heidinger says this is unlikely.
The second category of potential buyer may be another threat simulation service provider for the U.S. military and other western air forces. “We work with contractors all the time. That is currently a growth business. You don’t see that stuff on my website usually,” Heidinger told us.
Since the aircraft appears to have already served in the threat simulation role based on its previous owners and the prior location of the aircraft’s registry, this could be another outlet for such a nice MiG. The downside to the aircraft going to a threat simulation “red air” contractor is that it would likely disappear from public view. We have previously reported on an Su-27 with the U.S. civilian registration N131SU. This aircraft may have been one of the Su-27s rather famously photographed dogfighting over the Nellis Test and Training Range in 2016.
The third category of potential customer may be outside the U.S. Since the price of this aircraft is so good and it is in such good condition, it is conceivable an air force that already operates the MiG-29 may show interest. One example may be Peru, who operates at least 24 MiG-29s of various versions. Taking on a recently overhauled MiG-29 for only $4.65 million is a strong value for an air force already operating the type.
Who would teach any potential buyer how to fly and the MiG-29? “There’s options,” Albert Heidinger told us. “There are guys in the country. The pilot who was flying this one was an F-15 pilot with 300 missions in the MiG-29. Training is not a major issue.”
Wherever the nice-looking MiG-29UB on the Raptor Aviation website winds up after leaving its current Quincy, Illinois home, it’s reasonable to suggest the new owners will have made a shrewd purchase. It’s not every day a deal this nice shows up.