Alberta man lists $1.5M jet in Kijiji ad, calls it 'the ultimate toy'
Published Friday, August 8, 2014 8:05PM EDT Last Updated Saturday, August 9, 2014 6:07PM EDT
A website devoted to selling old records and used bicycles may not be the first place you’d think to list a military fighter jet with a seven-figure price tag.
But if you’re in the market for a used Royal Navy FA2 Sea Harrier jet, there’s one for sale on Kijiji for you.
Aircraft enthusiast Ian Cotton has been collecting planes for six years. Earlier this week he posted his prized fighter jet on Kijiji, listing it under “cars and vehicles” with a four-line description, a video and some photos.
Unsurprisingly, the rather modest listing is generating interest online, although most people clicking on it are likely just window shopping – the aircraft is being sold for a cool $1.5 million.
“It’s about time to get rid of it, I haven’t had the time to spend renovating it,” Cotton said in a phone interview Friday.
Cotton, who lives in Red Deer, Alta., acknowledges that Kijiji may be an unusual place to sell a retired British fighter jet.
The owner of Orbital Energy, a company that provides gas turbine equipment, said he chose the classified ad route in an attempt to reach out beyond a relatively small inner circle of collectors.
Ultimately, he’s hoping the eventual buyer will put the plane back in flight.
“I think there’s a possibility someone could get this flying – it would be great.”
Needless to say, the aircraft, which is listed to be in “outstanding condition,” is a rare purchasing opportunity for those who can afford it.
To Cotton’s knowledge, there is only one other Sea Harrier that is privately owned in North America, and it’s based in the United States. Cotton says he purchased the Sea Harrier from the U.K.’s Royal Navy approximately five years ago.
The rest of the Sea Harrier fleet was later sold to the U.S. military in what many called a steal of a deal, says Cotton, who has “closely watched” the Canadian government’s controversial efforts to replace the military’s own aging fleet of fighter jets.
According to the listing, the aircraft was built in 1986 and was last flown in 2001. The plane has been demilitarized, and as such, has no working gun or missile functions. It would require several parts before it can be flown again, Cotton said, which is why it is not being sold as “airworthy.”
“I think it’ll be for people that want something exceptional, that nobody else has,” Cotton said.
Non-commercial pilots can fly military aircrafts legitimately in Canadian and American airspace, as long as the plane is registered with the appropriate authorities.
He said the only other privately owned Sea Harrier was flown at an airshow in Toronto last summer. When in flight, it is often considered the “star” of the show, due to its vertical takeoff capability.
Cotton himself does not fly his planes, and says a pilot must be “highly trained” to fly a Sea Harrier.
In 2013, Cotton put his Sea Harrier on static display at an airshow in Airdrie, Alta., where an estimated 2,000 people lined up to sit in the pilot’s seat. The experience was documented in a video posted to Youtube.
Cotton said he hopes his favourite jet ends up in the right hands. And, he said, if someone makes the right offer, he would consider selling his other planes, which include a BAC Strikemaster, an English Electric Lightning jet fighter, and three Hawker Hunters.
And it appears he may not be completely ready to give up on his hobby.
“Maybe in a few years, I’ll start collecting again.”