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Investment opportunities

Tips from an insider: Five innovative tech startups

Tips from an insider: Stockholm tech start-ups

5 hot life science firms in Stockholm

Stockholm's top five infrastructure projects

Four Stockholm-based ICT firms to watch

Stockholm pioneers life science research

ICT startups offer investment opportunity

Swedish companies ready for exit

Five med-tech investment opportunities

Six cleantech investment opportunities

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Rankings and surveys

Sweden tops English-language skills ranking

Sweden ranked world's best country to grow old

Swedish passport world's best for travellers

Sweden second best country for mothers

Stockholm climbs in competitiveness rankings

Sweden among best countries to be born

Fortune: 'Stockholm top place for startups'

Sweden tops first global Web Index

Sweden world's second most innovative country

Stockholm world's 6th 'best city'

'Cool Stockholm' most competitive Nordic capital

Sweden has (second) best reputation in the world

Sweden among top in Internet download speed

Sweden scores highest in 'Rule of law index'

Stockholm world's No1 in intellectual capital

Sweden the world's most ICT-competitive country

Sweden great place for moms – but Norway better

Swedes place 4th in English skills ranking

Sweden among top ICT countries

Sweden’s 10 greenest brands

‘Sweden needs to sell itself more’

Sweden overtakes the US in competitiveness

Sweden 10th ‘most admired country globally’

Sweden climbs in 'doing business' ranking

Sweden among world's least corrupt nations

Sweden's mortality rates world's second lowest

Sweden a good place to die – but Britain is best

Children in Sweden have best lives

Sweden the most competitive EU nation

Safe to do business with Swedes

How Sweden became an innovation frontrunner

Nordic countries world's most food-secure

Sweden the world’s best country – politically

Swedish firms among world's top brands

Swedish brands climb in global ranking

Sweden tops government ranking - while US lags 

'Swedish model' outranks 'American dream'  

Sweden among world's least corrupt nations

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For sale: Swedish supersonic fighter jet

Swedish military interceptor can be had for $175,000 in California.

Switzerland aborts major fighter jet purchase

At the beginning of the jet age, Sweden sought a high-altitude air defense interceptor. Saab aviation engineers responded by building the J35 Draken, a single-seat, delta-wing fighter able to take on MiGs in supersonic dogfights.

After first entering service in 1960, the aircraft proved capable and durable, and it eventually was employed by the military in Denmark, Finland and Austria, as well as in Sweden, before being retired in the 1990s and as late as 2005.

But one now sits outside a hangar at Stockton Metropolitan Airport, gathering dust and playing host to paper wasp nests; a Cold War warrior grounded by the high price of jet fuel and its owner's financial woes.

"It's a unique bird, and it's a shame to see it sit," said Verlyn Wolfe of Wolfe Aviation, who has been trying to find a buyer for the Draken (Swedish for kite) for nearly five years.

With its innovative double-delta wing design, the aviation hot rod has a top speed of Mach 2 and can fly as high as 60,000 feet, requiring use of a pressure suit. With full afterburners, it can climb 34,450 feet per minute.

Although disarmed, it was originally outfitted with two 30mm automatic cannons and could carry Sidewinder air-to-air missiles.

The fighter was renovated in 2000 and for a time saw use in promotions and at air shows. A video of its 2003 appearance at the Reno Air Show (which can be found on Youtube) shows its aluminum skin sporting the name of a Sacramento auto dealer.

Once priced at $499,000, the Draken is listed at $175,000 and would likely go for less with a solid offer.

While Wolfe said he is negotiating with an aircraft collector for the sale of the Draken -- and he has received some interest from an air museum -- there are a couple of reasons potential buyers are put off.

One is fuel cost.

"The price of fuel has skyrocketed over the last several years," Wolfe said.

Fuel runs a minimum $5 a gallon, and the plane can gulp 450 to 525 gallons an hour at cruising speed.

Kick in the afterburners for maximum thrust and it'll burn 100 gallons a minute.

Another drawback is a lack of spare parts and tools.

The aircraft had a full inventory of such materials, including a spare engine and ground support equipment, but those were sold to pay an overdue storage bill.

And not just anyone can fly the Draken.

To qualify, a pilot would have to have 1,000 hours in a turbine aircraft, then take a specialized training course to become familiar with the plane. And, of course, supersonic flight is not allowed over the United States, except beyond 12 miles off the coast or over Edwards Air Force Base with advance notice.

"Quite frankly, the real sale of this would be to somebody who could really go through this thing and turn it into shape for air shows," Wolfe said, or perhaps to an aviation museum.

"It is a piece of history."

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To see more of The Record, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.recordnet.com. Copyright (c) 2010, The Record, Stockton, Calif. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Last Updated (Friday, 27 August 2010 17:52)


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