Jared Isaacman hit the headlines last year when he bought the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s treasured 1989 Cold War MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jet. Isaacman, who made a fortune with his credit-card processing company, is just 38.
No one knows how much the accomplished pilot paid for the MiG, but right now there are five for sale on Trade-A-Plane.com in the US, ranging in price from $2.5 million—less than the sticker on a Bugatti Chiron supercar—to $4.65 million for a fully certified, fully flying 1986 model.
“There’s nothing like the thrill of flying any military jet. If you have the experience and the money, the investment is worth every cent,” says Steve Hinton, president of the Chino, Calif.-based Planes of Fame Air Museum, and owner of restoration specialists Fighter Rebuilders.
Great “starter” jets, says Hinton, include the workhorse Czech L-39C trainer that is priced from the mid-$300,000s. They’re cheap to maintain, reliable, easy to source parts and really fun to fly. “Of course, you can go all the way to something like the fully rebuilt F-4 Phantom that’s for sale for around $3 million,” he adds. “But you’d need a proper support crew, dedicated mechanics, and it’ll cost you $10,000 in gas for a quick flight.”