Let’s pretend for a moment that you’re in the market for a new Ferrari SF90 Stradale, which costs upwards of half a million dollars. But then something catches your eye: a vintage 1996 Boeing 737-300 airframe you could purchase for roughly the same cost, and maybe even a little less. A seller in the Aircraft Salvage-Sales/Swap Facebook group is actively looking for a buyer for the decommissioned plane.
The 737 is wrapped and ready in San Bernardino County, California and appears to be in fine shape. It’s a Southwest Boeing 737-300 with tail number N601WN and is emblazoned with the words “The Jack Vidal” after Southwest Airlines’ first vice president of maintenance. Vidal served the company for 24 years and the company dedicated this plane in his name in 1995.
Before you get too excited, you might want to read the fine print: “can fly immediately when buyer finds CFM56 3C1/3B1 engines for it.” Aircraft engines aren’t cheap by any measure, and new ones will cost you millions of dollars more. As an example, in a press release from 2011 Rolls Royce announced the sale of 12 Trent 1000 engines for eight Boeing Dreamliners for Ethiopian Airlines at about $42 million per engine, including service. There are a number of sites all over the internet selling refurbished engines, but finding the price is difficult unless you’re a serious buyer. There’s no mention of the condition of the tires, and if it needs replacements those will set you back at least $1500 each.
People have turned airframes like this into some interesting buildings, like the 747 house in California. If you haven’t caught the Netflix special on how that was built, add that to your list because it’s fascinating. There’s a guy who gutted a 727 to live inside and even kept the original lavatory. Another who is transforming a 737 into a mobile home. And in Colorado Springs, a former pilot transformed a Boeing KC-97 U.S. Air Force Aircraft into The Airplane Restaurant.
If you’re still set on buying the Jack Vidal, maybe see if the seller would consider a swap for your house or supercar. Make sure your seats and table trays are in the upright position for take-off, and good luck.
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