back to article Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen's personal MiG-29 fighter jet goes under the hammer

As late Microsoftie Paul Allen's estate is gradually wound down, the gems from his collection of rare and historic aircraft are coming up for auction – including his personal two-seat MiG-29 Russian fighter jet. Allen, who died from cancer in October 2018, was well known in aviation enthusiast circles for his dedication to …

  1. Korev Silver badge
    Joke

    Paul Allen, doesn't he have the Fisher account?

  2. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Go

    Also being auctioned alongside Paul Allen's private jet fighter....

    A white Persian cat, complete with diamond-studded collar. Plus one volcano lair and a small army of not-to-bright servile henchmen.

    1. Evil Harry
      Pint

      Re: Also being auctioned alongside Paul Allen's private jet fighter....

      I wonder if I should put in a bid for the volcano lair. My allotment sized Temple of Terror feels a little small these days.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Also being auctioned alongside Paul Allen's private jet fighter....

        My undersea Dome of Doom has never quite seemed the same since I had to relocate it to the garden pond for tax reasons.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Also being auctioned alongside Paul Allen's private jet fighter....

          I feel you dude. My Yurt of Yowee has never been the same since I sublet it to a bunch of carnies.

          If those bastards ask me to "step right up" one more time....*waves fist*

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Also being auctioned alongside Paul Allen's private jet fighter....

      Ah, so the henchmen voted leave.

    3. Michael Strorm

      Re: Also being auctioned alongside Paul Allen's private jet fighter....

      "not-to-bright"

      That's ironic! :-)

    4. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Also being auctioned alongside Paul Allen's private jet fighter....

      Don't forget the tank of sharks with frickin laser-beams attached to their frickin heads!

  3. baud Bronze badge
    Black Helicopters

    Has the plane ever flown since it was restored to flying conditions?

    1. The Pi Man
  4. jake Silver badge

    I'll bet a plugged nickle ...

    ... that Larry Ellison buys it. He can't have either basketball team, but he can have a couple bookend MiG 29s to sooth his poor, neglected soul. Just imagine, he'll be the first on his block! Pobrecito.

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: I'll bet a plugged nickle ...

      Oh God, don't let Larry buy that plane. He will jump up your Oracle maintenance license another 1% to pay for the purchase! :)

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: I'll bet a plugged nickle ...

        Or he will demand that Trump give him the sole supplier contract to run the USAF.

    2. Lotaresco

      Re: I'll bet a plugged nickle ...

      You want a MiG 29 Larry? Sure we can do that, just sign here. The price per unit is $10 million. So that's, let me see, $200 million that you have signed up for under our block licensing model, smallest license pack we have is 20 seats.

      1. ArrZarr Silver badge

        Re: I'll bet a plugged nickle ...

        To be fair, the MiG is a 2-seater so it's only $100,000,000 for the pack.

      2. Marketing Hack Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: I'll bet a plugged nickle ...

        @Lotaresco

        You forgot 23% maintenance per year!

        1. The Pi Man

          Re: I'll bet a plugged nickle ...

          No, it’s obsolete so you pay a premium...

    3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: I'll bet a plugged nickle ...

      I think Ellison already had one. When Bill Gates was building his house, Ellison quipped something like the front door being big enough to fire a missile through.

      I remember reading about a bunch of ex-Ukrainian jets being imported & converted so they were legal to fly in the US, and think his was a single-seat version.

      (I also had a fun chat with some of Allen's Octopus crew when that came to London for the Olympics. It was as much (if not more) a survey ship than the typical floating gin palaces moored nearby because of Allen's interests in marine exploration.)

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: I'll bet a plugged nickle ...

        "I think Ellison already had one."

        Thus my bookends comment ...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'll bet a plugged nickle ...

      I'm all in favour of that, so long as he's planning on flying it near some US air bases where he's likely to be mistaken for a Russian invasion and shot down!

      1. BuckeyeB

        Re: I'll bet a plugged nickle ...

        Maybe he can provide air cover for the raid on area 51.

  5. AceRimmer1980
    Thumb Up

    Hey, it looks like you're trying to think in Russian

    Want some help?

    1. Oh Matron!

      Re: Hey, it looks like you're trying to think in Russian

      If that's a Firefox reference, you can't have enough upvotes :-)

  6. LDS Silver badge

    The MiG-29 was the 'cheap' option.

    Russians back then mirrored the USAF practice of having expensive, more powerful models (F-14, F-15) and 'cheaper', more limited models (F-16, F-18), also better suited to be exported. The MiG was the cheaper option compared to the Su-27, and also easier to export too. Both countries didn't want to export their state of the art technology to less reliable countries, and anyway many allies weren't willingly to pay for the more expensive models.

    1. ibmalone Silver badge

      Re: The MiG-29 was the 'cheap' option.

      The F-18 isn't quite in that bracket, though they export it, it's used by the US Navy and is effectively the Tomcat's replacement (if not quite as capable).

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: The MiG-29 was the 'cheap' option.

        The original F/A-18 A thru D models were, it's the later E and F model Super Hornets that have supplanted the Tomcat.

  7. Citizens untied

    I was under the impression that private parties couldn't own supersonics in the US.Something about them being too easy to acquire after the Soviet Union collapse and the Czech fire sale and too hard to catch if you decided misbehave.

    1. macjules Silver badge

      So was I. I think it is just illegal to buy aircraft that is militarised, or equipped with weapons, military mission systems eg fire control radars, or any other type of equipment or systems which have national security classifications.

      Then again, I suppose throw enough money at the problem ...

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        I think it is just illegal to buy aircraft that is militarised, or equipped with weapons, military mission systems eg fire control radars, or any other type of equipment or systems which have national security classifications.

        You're right. The plane has to be "civilianized" (for lack of a better term). All war-fighter gear removed.

        1. stiine Silver badge

          I agree with the poster above, I think Larry should buy it. Surely he has enough spare cash to fly it to Turkey and have them restore it to original condition. I bet he'd be able to win every government contract without having to bid.

        2. phuzz Silver badge

          I think the preferred term is "de-militarised", or "de-mil'ed".

    2. jake Silver badge

      Private supersonic aircraft are allowed in the US.

      However, as of March of 1973 you are not allowed to break the sound barrier over land.

      Catching misbehaving pilots is easy. You can't out-fly Motorola.

      1. mark4155

        Re: Private supersonic aircraft are allowed in the US.

        In the UK there are certain scenarios that allow the breaking of a the sound barrier by military aircraft. This happened recently when a passenger jet lost comms. ATC scrambled the RAF, a number of claims have been made, including costs to replace glass panels in a greenhouse a patio window and a broken chandelier. I lived in the Lake District where RAF pilots carried out their training... Farmers where entitled to compensation for sheep who keeled over and died because of the shock, apparently sheep don't do well with surprises.

        Toodle Pip.

    3. nmcalba

      Its OK as long as you keep the noise down

      I believe you can own a supersonic aircraft as long as you are quiet about it.

      There are a couple of sections in the FAR (Federal Aviation Regulations) about them - FAR91.821 for example - that are mainly concerned with noise limits - essentially they must meet stage 2 noise limits for take off and landing and you cannot operate it above Mach 1 unless you can show that the sonic boom will not reach the surface.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Its OK as long as you keep the noise down

        How can you "show the sonic boom will not reach the surface"? The sonic boom will always reach the surface.

        1. nmcalba

          Re: Its OK as long as you keep the noise down

          The language in FARs about "reaching the surface" I beleive is more to do with the issue of going supersonic in coastal areas - you have to be far enough offshore that the sonic boom doesn't reach land - for Concorde the sonic boom track was up to 100km wide.

          1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Its OK as long as you keep the noise down

            & it was a fantastic sound to hear around 9pm while walking the dog.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. swm Bronze badge

      A friend of mine is/was a part owner of an A4 - and yes, he did fly it.

      1. joeW Silver badge

        According to my extensive research (I checked Wikipedia), the A4 isn't supersonic.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Somewhat anecdotally, it could likely break Mach 1 in a dive, safely. Saw a reference to a TA-4J have a Mach limit of 1.2 at altitude, in a clean configuration.

      2. krs360

        Audi?

        Or paper?

        I'll get my coat.

  8. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    Now you too can have a Soviet plaything

    Unless it's under $20 and comes with free parking then no, no I can't.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      I don't know about the free parking, but Svetlana charges a lot more than $20. Or so I hear from a friend.

      1. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

        I have leprosy. She can keep the tip

      2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        But her EL34 is quite a good deal even id more then $20

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Sound different from Mullard ones.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Does it come in leather?

  9. G2

    hammer?

    since we're talking about MS, let's hope it's not one of their resident BOFHs literally using a hammer, or the jet will come out flatter than a pancake :p

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: hammer?

      Hammers are hardware. Be very afraid of the software.

  10. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
    Black Helicopters

    I ♥ Mig 29

    Is there an Airfix kit for the rest of us with decals for the Slowak version?

    1. joeW Silver badge

      Re: I ♥ Mig 29

      Yes, that paint job on the tail is absolutely beautiful.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I ♥ Mig 29

        Very Giger-esque.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The SU27 isn't a more modern design than the MIG29. They are actually from the same era. Both had first flights in 1977, with the Flanker actually flying first. Both entered service in the early 80s. They have the same design queues with the Flanker looking like a scaled up Fulcrum. Both have been evolved into much more capable modern aircraft.

    1. Dog Eatdog
      Unhappy

      Please define your terms before using them. Otherwise you just end up looking like a smartarse.

      1. _LC_ Bronze badge
        Pint

        Yup

        Those are the NATO (= US) made up terms for those aircraft. Needless to say, that the Russians (and others) don't use them.

      2. Cederic Bronze badge

        Flanker and Fulcrum make perfect sense to me. You'll be complaining about bears and badgers next?

        1. _LC_ Bronze badge

          I don't doubt that

          If I were to christen you "nag" and your mother "beaver", this might perhaps even make sense. It doesn't make it any better though. ;-)

      3. Peter2 Silver badge

        During the cold war and before the internet was popular countries kept the development and deployment of military equipment a secret instead of releasing press releases. Military intelligence often got pictures of new equipment from satilite photography, camera on our jets and sketches from spies long before finding out the (Russian) names and designations of the equipment.

        In order to prevent total confusion when the ~20 different countries in NATO during the cold war found out and communicated information about a particular aircraft they were assigned a NATO reporting name so everybody had one name, long before knowing which (Russian) company had built the things or what the Russian names were. Given the NATO reporting names and pictures of the aircraft often weren't classified this became public knowledge in magazines, and you had things like Airfix kits produced and sold under NATO reporting names long before we knew what the Russians called the things, or even what the aircraft was designed for.

        The most well known NATO reporting names of the aircraft later known as the MiG29 was Fulcrum, and the SU27 was assigned the name of Flanker. The Tupolov 95 is for instance is still better known under the name "Bear", and it still gets named like this in news reports these days.

        It's one of those context things. Almost everybody who has been interested in aviation knows this and it doesn't need much explaining.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Didn't even think of it to be honest. That is what I know the aircraft as, and kind of assumed everyone else does as well. Sorry.

      Although the picture in the article is labelled as a Mig29 Fulcrum, so that one shouldn't need any definition.

      1. _LC_ Bronze badge
        Thumb Up

        I gave you an upvote ...

        ... nonetheless, this is like showing a picture of Angela Merkel and Heidi Klum and adding the subscription: "A. Merkel and H. Klum (Krauts)". One would assume that the Cold War would end eventually. ;-)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To bad BALLMER didn't go under the HAMMER!

  13. werdsmith Silver badge

    VAAC Harrier had systems that augmented the hover flight and transition controls turning the aircraft into a much more benign aircraft in that part of its flight where the standard Harrier was not forgiving of any error. This work was being done a long time ago (decades) when I was around Cranfield and Thurleigh. It's strange to think that the latest version of that work is only just coming into service in UK military.

  14. Keithr0
    Unhappy

    It's a shame that the Flying Heritage is being broken up. It contains many rare aircraft mostly in flying condition and there aren't too many places where you can see a manned V1 or an ME163 although, for obvious reasons those two aren't in working condition.

    1. Cederic Bronze badge

      The V1 was an unmanned drone. Or a cruise missile, if you'd prefer that designation.

      I'm rather glad I can't see one of those working.

      1. ChrisC

        "The V1 was an unmanned drone"

        Yes, but there was a manned version under development too... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fieseler_Fi_103R_Reichenberg

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          IIRC the USAF made clones of these as aerial targets after the war. Big differences were fit finish and use of slot screws.

          You can see a few examples at the Smithsonian's Air and Space museum.

      2. Keithr0

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fieseler_Fi_103R_Reichenberg#/media/File:Fieseler_Fi_103_Reichenberg_01_11.jpg

        Note the cockpit.

        1. Cederic Bronze badge

          Thank you for sharing. That does though look like a Fieseler Fi 103R and not a Vergeltungswaffe 1. I can understand the confusion but if it helps, the V1 didn't have a cockpit as it was an umanned device.

  15. Oh Matron!

    Take my money..........!

    You'd be able to run this at a profit if you could replicate what https://migflug.com/flights-prices/mig-29-edge-of-space/ were doing, especially taking it above 60K feet. 17.5 Euro-pesos seems like a bit of a bargain

  16. zaax

    and an unfired doodlebug (V1)

  17. Efer Brick

    Does it run Windows 98?

    1. Stone Fox

      Surely it runs Windows for Warplanes?

      1. sawatts

        Blue screen of aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

  18. ckm5

    I hope they are not selling off the whole collection

    That would be a shame, it's an incredible collection. I was under the impression that it was fully funded, but who knows.

  19. harmjschoonhoven
    Mushroom

    MiG-15

    It is well known (see page 235) that the MiG-15 of which upto 15000 were produced was powered by a Soviet versions of the Rolls-Royce Derwent and Nene engines, which the Soviet Union bought from Britain in 1947. Stalin had been skeptical that Britain would sell these engines - What kind of fool would be willing to sell his secrets! he had reportedly said - but the British government agreed to the sale.

  20. M7S

    If he'd waited for a couple of updates to his Mig 29, he'd have had a better browser

    Craig Thomas wrote about a (fictiona} MIG-31 called......Firefox

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