# What is the cheapest plane one can buy to fly above Mach 1 and be able to pull 8g plus?

Which plane would you suggest for someone who would like to be able to fly fast enough to break the sound barrier, yet also be able to pull lots of Gs?

What would be the price of such a plane, and how much would it cost per hour to run and be maintained?

• You know how much training/equipment it takes to pull 8g without passing out, right? Most mortals (that is - non fast jet pilots) pass out below 5g. I've done about +3.5 sustained for a few seconds, and it was harsh. – Jamiec Oct 5 '18 at 15:35
• Maybe a MiG 17 in a dive. I've seen them listed for <$100k. – acpilot Oct 5 '18 at 19:16 • One thing to keep in mind with speed is the FAA regulations. In the military when jets take off they can go however fast they want because they are under the DOD. Under the FAA they have the 250 knot limit under 10,000, you can't fly supersonic over land without authorization, etc. – Emmet H Feb 18 at 18:23 • Not however fast they want, they are generally waivered for a specific safe departure speed below 10k' in accordance with their performance envelope. Also, why 8 Gs? That is a pretty ridiculously painful "goal" to shoot for. – Michael Hall Feb 18 at 20:33 ## 2 Answers Ignoring the various practical limitations that 99.9999991% of people would encounter.... The answer more has to do with what is available than what would be optimal. There are not a whole lot of air frames that fit such a criteria and there are even fewer that are for sale to/in the public hands, when talking about things that exist in the single digit realm for-sale quantity is a real factor. This McDonnell Douglass F-4 is currently listed for 3,950,000 USD and perhaps gives a good basis for what such a plane would cost. The F-4 carries 3335 gallons of Jet fuel, at my local field where fuel is a reasonable 4.50 a gallon its going to cost you 15000 USD to top off the tanks. Fuel burn depends on how you run the aircraft, if you are slamming it at super sonic speeds all the time your hourly burn rate is going to be high. Maintenance is harder to pin down. These jets were generally operated by the military so you are going to need to find a mechanic out in the world that is willing to deal with it. You may get lucky and find someone who has some military experience to do the work but if you cant you are going to need to hunt down all the maintenance manuals and related documentation for the aircraft which may be harder to come by than you think. On top of that you need to keep two J79 in working order that may already have a lot of time on them. If you want to hop to the other side of the pond design wise this MIG-29 is listed for 4.60 Million USD and will get you into the super sonic spectrum and allow you to pull some G's. So for ~4.5 Million and some non determinant maintenance costs, lets say conservatively 500,000 a year for fuel, oil, incidentals, maintenance, some new tires, avionics and other odds and ends you can have all the fun in the sky you want. • "various practical limitations that 99.99999991% of people would encounter" So you're saying there are right around 7 people in the world who could design an airplane that can pull 8 g, or who can pull 8 g using such an airplane? That seems rather on the low side. – user Oct 5 '18 at 17:14 • @MichaelKjörling Ive removed one of the 9's but even if there were thousands of people with the physical ability, proper pilot certifications, and most importantly, money to own something like this privately there simply dont seem to be that many available at market. – Dave Oct 5 '18 at 17:40 • The other problem is that it would be an exhibition category aircraft... – Ron Beyer Oct 5 '18 at 18:24 • @RonBeyer How is that a problem in the context of the question asked? – rene Oct 6 '18 at 8:49 • The F-4 is hardly the right tool for the job. The Mig-21 and advanced jet trainers are smaller and cheaper while delivering the OP's requested performance. As for the difficulties for 99% of the people, former jet pilots are a fairly large group that would be capable of doing it. – Therac Oct 6 '18 at 8:49 Probably a MiG-21. Some flyable examples are available for between \$50,000-\$200,000, though I suspect some those airframes in an excellent condition will run upwards of \$1 million.

Operational costs for MiGs tends to be surprisingly cheap, though considerably more expensive than operating exotic sports cars or other millionaire toys. At an estimate, I would guess $3000/flight hour for a MiG-21 and it all depends on what equipment is aboard eg hot ejection seats, etc. Other popular types are L-39s, Folland Gnats, A-4s, F-5s, T-38s, even a Panavia Tornado and a Harrier on the market. They can run from$200000 to tens of millions of dollars and cost thousands of dollars an hour to operate, depending on type.

But aside from the purchase price, if you’re a newbie to flying, it’s gonna be a while until you are legally capable of logging PIC time in one of these jets, at least in the US. The FAA has specific guidelines on piloting these kinds of Experimental category surplus military jets, which have to be followed. See AC 91-68. You’ll need at least 1200 hours TT plus at least an existing PPL rated for the category and class of aircraft, then undergo further training and pass a practical test to get an LOA for PIC operation of these kinds of aircraft. Type ratings also apply, if the airplane in question meets the characteristics listed in §61.31(a).

I can’t speak to Peter Kampf’s comment; other countries may allow you to fly such an aircraft without additional training or aeronautical experience requirements but keep in mind that going into this kind of an aircraft, it is a hot blooded machine that demands to be flown by the numbers and will not suffer a fool or a neophyte at the controls. While it is true that military forces throughout the world allow their pilots to operate these airplanes at far lower time levels, in many cases they pay for it through the nose with a high accident rate. The USAF alone in 2018 had 716 mishaps with 19 fatalities during flight operations. More that 15,000 US military airmen were killed in flight training accidents during WWII.

• The MiG-21 is a very nice-looking plane, and sure it flies quiet well. The prices you quote seem rather low, but securing a proper maintenance for that plane will probably be a very expensive nightmare... – xxavier Oct 6 '18 at 9:13
• There are companies in the United States which do R&O services on MiGs. Spare parts and technical on MiGs is also quite cheap due to how it was manufactured in the Soviet Union. – Carlo Felicione Feb 18 at 17:31
• @xxavier Station the airplane in an East European country where there are still lots of people with MiG experience. The tickets to travel to your plane will be a vanishingly small part of operation expenses. Also, in some countries you don't even need a flight plan for aerobatic flights. However, some parts like the engines need to be shipped to the manufacturer for major maintenance, which will become very expensive quickly. – Peter Kämpf Feb 18 at 17:59
• Offhand I'd question if 8 G's is allowed for the MiG-21. Not questioning if you can pull it (the question doesn't require "sustained" 8 G's), but if the aircraft is built to do so without risking damage. Lots of supersonic jets have G limits in the 5-6 G range (the T-38 comes to mind); what are the limitations on the Fishbed? – Ralph J Feb 19 at 4:45
• From your other types list, L-39, Folland Gnat, A-4 and Harrier are all subsonic, so don't satisfy the criteria in the question. Only F-5, T-38 and Tornado are supersonic. – Jan Hudec Feb 20 at 22:54