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Google Founders Buy Fighter Jet 356

Posted by kdawson
from the filing-a-flight-plan-for-redmond dept.
Ponca City, We love you writes "The NY Times reports that H211 LLC, a company controlled by Google's top executives, including billionaire founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, appears to have added to its fleet a Dornier Alpha Jet, a light jet attack and advanced trainer aircraft manufactured by Dornier of Germany and Dassault-Breguet of France. The 1982 Alpha-Jet seats two and was originally used by European air forces, but is now being sold relatively cheaply to civilians. The jet has landing rights at Moffett Field, the NASA-operated airfield that is a stone's throw from the Google campus. It is not clear who exactly flies the fighter jet, although Google chief executive Eric Schmidt is an avid pilot. If the top Googlers indeed own the fighter jet, they would be following in the footsteps of Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison, who has owned several aircraft, including fighter jets."
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Google Founders Buy Fighter Jet

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  • by eclectro (227083) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:14AM (#25498079)

    Are these guys Yahoos??

    • Well, their mastery of the search market makes Microsoft seem positively Lilliputian, so I guess they can choose whichever tribe they like :)
  • So? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RandoX (828285)

    Red Bull has one too. Does that make them evil?

    I'd have one if I had that kind of money too.

    • Re:So? (Score:5, Funny)

      by gclef (96311) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:17AM (#25498121)

      Yes, Red Bull is definitely evil. You can tell by the taste.

      • Re:So? (Score:5, Funny)

        by arudloff (564805) * on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:20AM (#25498193) Homepage

        Yes, Red Bull is definitely evil. You can tell by the taste.

        Or by it's association with Jagermeister.

        • by RMH101 (636144)
          OMG. I'm no stranger to vodka-and-red-bull, but *jagermeister*?
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            Jag-bombs are huge, dunno where you've been. Bar supply stores make little plastic cups specifically for that drink.

            http://barsupplies.com/bomb-shotz-jager-bomb-shots-p-761.html
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by RMH101 (636144)
              I'm in the UK. Jagermeister's still mainly a German liqueur rather than a lifestyle choice, although you can see the odd emo kid with a Jagermeister sticker on his Macbook these days - you know, smashing the system.
              Don't think JM and RB is that big in the UK, which - as I'm sure you're aware - is the world's capital of drinking. Pints.
      • Re:So? (Score:5, Funny)

        by X0563511 (793323) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:21AM (#25498207) Homepage Journal

        Red Bull: The Taste of Evil.

        It gives you wings, but they don't say the wings are featherless...

    • by Moraelin (679338) on Friday October 24, 2008 @12:52PM (#25499641) Journal

      Well, the more I hear about Google, the more they seem like everyone else. And I'm not saying it in a condemning way or anything. They're just human.

      They too need some big expensive toy as suspicious consumption. They too would rape your privacy if it helps optimize 0.01% off their average search time, and thus make an extra buck. They too will sell some Chinese babbling about "democracy" to the authorities if that's the price to make a billion dollars in business in China. They too will expose your data occasionally if it's cheaper than hiring testers. And they too apparently aren't above making a backroom deal with Yahoo or using patents keep the competition out of their little monopoly field.

      (According to at least one analysis, that's why MS wants to buy Yahoo. Some time ago Yahoo apparently bought a small company who had a blanket patent on matching ads to the text on the page. Yahoo licensed it to Google, but refuses to license it to MS or anyone else.)

      In a nutshell, they're like any other corporation. Plus a funky meaningless motto, that some people mistake for some kind of final proof that Google is the digital-age Mother Theresa. Heh.

      The thing is, no other corporation is "evil" in the sense of seeking to cause the maximum misery, pain and destruction possible. Even MS, I'd bet they never had a board meeting along the lines of, "how can we make more people miserable?" There are no super-villains cackling over doomsday device blueprints. And there are no altruistic super-heroes either. There are only greedy people trying to make a buck, and the difference is in how many corpses they feel they can get away with stepping over, on their way to the top.

      At any rate, Google "doing no evil"... well, it's technically true, but only in as much as you could say with a straight face that MS does no evil. They don't sacrifice babies to Satan or anything. But from there, both have shown repeatedly that their goal is simply to make the most money, and both don't have much consideration for whoever might get to suffer for it. As is, indeed, expected of a corporation.

      They're just human. They're just a corporation. That's it. It doesn't make them evil, it merely makes them the same as everyone else. One just has the funny motto.

      Well, I think I'll make "36 inch penis" my motto. I'm sure some people will actually believe that I live up to that ;)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      So does Dillon Precision.

      And to one up everybody else, it has functional 20mm canons. And they have a Hummer with a GE minigun sticking out of the roof. And a turret with 2 GE 50s (it might be 4, I don't remember exactly).

      They shoot remote control planes with both the turret and the jet, and they shoot remote vehicles with the Hummer. It is ridiculously fun and ridiculously expensive.

  • by xs650 (741277) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:14AM (#25498085)
    In other news, Microsoft is installing anti-aircraft emplacements
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Tablizer (95088)

      In other news, Microsoft is installing anti-aircraft emplacements

      MS has no worries: if Google flies too close, their plane gets a BSOD.
             

    • by Vexler (127353) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:31AM (#25498339) Journal

      Fighter jet, which has been in "Beta" for years.

      AA guns, with targeting system running Vista.

      Ought to be a good show.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      > In other news, Microsoft is installing anti-aircraft emplacements

      So, Ballmer is buying more chairs?

    • by rhyder128k (1051042) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:35AM (#25498411) Homepage

      Command And Conquer 5: Microsoft vs Google.

      Take my tip - don't buy too many shipping crate data centres at the beginning as you're better off upgrading to an IPv6 infrastructure as early as possible.

      Some people build up a massive force of tanks and try to wear MS down (the MS tanks are unreliable, they run their own software) but I prefer to create my own web browser and give away as much free email storage as I can. I don't like using too much lock-in if I'm playing as Google but it's unavoidable if you want to win.

      I hate those "novelty" missions where you've got to get Balmer across the map or something.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rickb928 (945187)

        This is not the dumbest idea I've heard today.

        Maybe a decent BF or Half-Life mod is in order here. I, for one, welcome our new chair-hurling Half-Life overlords...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Kwiik (655591)

      Your order is wrong, you must be from Soviet Russia... first, they get attacked and their main campus "overheats". This isn't a bug or attack, it is a feature.

      Next, they decide that they have improved their public image enough by providing "inter-operability" with Google's new "cloud" based platform, and that is when they upgrade their Anti Malware solution, to add sharks with anti-aircraft lasers

  • hint (Score:5, Funny)

    by kulakovich (580584) <slashdot@bonfire ... m ['ns.' in gap]> on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:16AM (#25498107)
    > It is not clear who exactly flies the fighter jet,

    Hint: The Google AI
  • FYI (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:18AM (#25498145)

    When fighter jets, tanks, etc. are sold to civilians, most of the fun stuff is ripped out.

    This is basically the rich fuck's version of buying a sports car when you're 50 to stroke your ego.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by sexconker (1179573)

      Why the hell is everything I post posting as AC?
      Well, now it works... (or so claims the preview).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MBGMorden (803437)

      Depends. If you're a terrorist or fledgling militia or something, then yeah, the "fun stuff" is taken out. Being a pilot though, a functional fighter jet in itself definitely qualifies as "fun stuff".

      Hell I'll admit that if I had the money that they did I'd probably buy one too (along with a P-51 Mustang because I've always wanted one). It wouldn't be for stroking an ego as much as it would be just being able to afford cool "toys" that are FUN.

    • Re:FYI (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Sique (173459) on Friday October 24, 2008 @01:42PM (#25500447) Homepage

      Just because you can fit two rockets and a machine gun on an Alpha Jet doesn't make it really a fighter jet. You can also mount a machine gun and a rocket launcher on a truck, but that doesn't mean that every truck is a combat engine.

      Alpha jets were used mainly for pilot training, for observation flights and sometimes (they are two-seated!) as some kind of very fast air-cab. They are not armoured, so their combat value is nearly nil.

  • Companies will do battle in the sky to prove superiority.
  • Not that unusual. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lunartik (94926) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:19AM (#25498171) Homepage Journal

    This isn't a big deal, Bob Lutz (Vice Chairman of GM, Retired Marine Aviator) owned a MiG i think, and now flies around in a Czech fighter.

    Jack Roush (NASCAR owner, head of Roush Industries) owns a bunch of WWII fighters.

    The odd part is that the Google guys seem to have bought it through some company.

    • Re:Not that unusual. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JCSoRocks (1142053) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:23AM (#25498243)
      The Governator owns a number of tanks. Including the one he drove when he was in the military.
    • Re:Not that unusual. (Score:4, Informative)

      by scubamage (727538) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:31AM (#25498337)
      Most likely they purchased it through a privately held company because companies have lessened license restrictions for purchasing any class of weapon (ie, if you want to own an RPG legally, just start a corporation and you can buy whatever you want). I'm not sure if licensure is necessary for military aircraft (even decommissioned) but who knows, maybe that's the reason? Plus if they'd bought it through google maybe they'd be concerned about a shareholder backlash? These are just guesses btw, but its what I would surmise.
      • by sorak (246725) on Friday October 24, 2008 @12:05PM (#25498927)

        Most likely they purchased it through a privately held company because companies have lessened license restrictions for purchasing any class of weapon (ie, if you want to own an RPG legally, just start a corporation and you can buy whatever you want). I'm not sure if licensure is necessary for military aircraft (even decommissioned) but who knows, maybe that's the reason? Plus if they'd bought it through google maybe they'd be concerned about a shareholder backlash? These are just guesses btw, but its what I would surmise.

        But if they used Google Checkout, they could have gotten $10 dollars off.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:48AM (#25498643)

      There was a former Czech air force MIG-21 for sale on Ebay a couple weeks ago with a "buy it now" price of only $45K. The aircraft was located in Ohio and was in ready-to-fly restored condition, and is actively flown in air shows. While the purchase price was cheap, it is hideously expensive to operate a MIG-21. A half-hour flight consumes almost $2000 worth of Jet-A fuel. Also a MIG-21 can only carry about two hour's worth of fuel onboard anyway. The engine in it has to be overhauled at a cost of over $100K about every 250 hours of flight time too, since Russian jet engines are built with such loose mechanical tolerances in the moving parts.

    • and Michael Dorn (Score:3, Informative)

      by TrekkieGod (627867)

      Even some actors [wikipedia.org] are into that.

      I have to say that there's something fitting about Worf in a fighter jet

    • by jd (1658)
      Old fighters, sure. After a certain period of time of disuse, warbirds become available for civilians - usually sans armament. However, something still in use in the 1980s seems... very modern to have been released into civilian hands. However, released it has been. There seems to be no question of that. Getting spare parts - ah, now that's another matter. Since such planes are only released long after any serious production has ceased, both the parts and the expertise to make them correctly will be in very
    • Re:Not that unusual. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Darth_brooks (180756) <clipper377@gm3.1415926ail.com minus pi> on Friday October 24, 2008 @12:28PM (#25499331) Homepage

      Purchasing through an LLC isn't that big of a deal. It just gives an easier way to split ownership, liability, maintenance, etc.

      Bob Lutz has owned two Czech built L-39's. One was damaged in a landing accident and donated to the Yankee Air Museum. It was destroyed by fire in 2004. His current L-39 is in Marine corps livery. I don't believe he's ever owned a Mig, though the original L-39 was in Czech colors.

      Jack Roush currently owns two P-51's. "Gentleman Jim" a P-51D that is for lack of a better term, his 'daily driver.' He flies this aircraft to some of the Nascar races, when he's got time. His 2nd P-51 is a gorgeous, freshly restored B model "Old Crow." At one point he had three mustangs, the other being another D Model P-51 semi-incorrectly painted as "Old Crow", formerly "Rascal." This has since been sold to the founder of Scotts lawn care. Roush also owns a T-6, and several other non-military jets.

      These are all housed at, or are frequent visitors to, Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti / Belleville, MI. In addition, there are a Mig-17, Mig-21, and Alpha Jet (in luftwaffe markings), and a Stinson L-2 that are based out of Willow Run, where we house our B-25, B-17, and C-47.

      Suffice to say, being the admin for Yankee Air Museum (check the homepage) affords the opportunity to see some pretty interesting day-to-day air traffic.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Android + Maps + Fighter Jet = Deadly Precision with real-time traffic!

  • by jeffmeden (135043) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:21AM (#25498209) Homepage Journal

    Isn't it hard to live up to "do no evil" when you have a strike-capable air force? This is a slippery slope, indeed. I think the next time the Yahoo! talks escalate, things just might go a little differently.

  • Obviously (Score:3, Funny)

    by ThePyro (645161) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:23AM (#25498237)

    Obviously this is a first step toward achieving air superiority in the skies above Google's new aquatic data centers. As the Google Navy continues to expand its influence the importance of protecting the fleet from airborne threats will increase.

    Also, never underestimate the bandwidth of a fighter jet full of tapes screaming across the sky at Mach 3.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Also, never underestimate the bandwidth of a fighter jet full of tapes screaming across the sky at Mach 3.

      You mean, "Never underestimate the bandwidth of a fighter jet full of 64GB flash drives at Mach 3"

      get with the times....tapes, sheesh....

  • Showdown! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:25AM (#25498255) Journal

    Awesome! Maybe they can challenge Dexter Holland of The Offspring to a dogfight:

    cashflow has been very good to The Offspring. This has allowed singer Dexter Holland to engage in his favourite hobbies. First, there?s stamp collecting (specifically those from the Isle of Man in the U.K.). If you?re a philatelist, you know how expensive that can be. I said 'philatelist'. Look it up. Then there's Dexter's passion for airplanes and flying. Here's a quote: "Some people are into golf, some people are into shooting deer. I'm into flying". Dexter first got his pilot's license back in 1996. Over the years, his certifications became more and more sophisticated. He owns a Citation 2, which is a twin-engine jet that can fly as high as 43,000 feet for 2,000 miles at a time. They run for about $2.5 million - used. Dexter calls it 'Anarchy Airlines'. The tail fin is painted with a logo and everything. Inside, the interior is decked-out in leopard prints. Oh, and there's more. Dexter also flies an Aero Vodochody L-39, a Russian fighter jet.

    - Alan Cross, Ongoing History of New Music, "100 weird things about new rock - part 9" [ongoinghistory.com]

  • Far out thought (Score:5, Interesting)

    by svendsen (1029716) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:26AM (#25498271)
    This is beyond the realm of reality so cut me some slack...

    Corporations (or their top execs) are starting to buy military hardware. Do you think we will ever see a corporation declare war on another corporation?

    Gives a whole new meaning to hostile takeover...
    • Re:Far out thought (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BlowHole666 (1152399) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:40AM (#25498497)

      This is beyond the realm of reality so cut me some slack... Corporations (or their top execs) are starting to buy military hardware. Do you think we will ever see a corporation declare war on another corporation? Gives a whole new meaning to hostile takeover...

      You mean like the East India Company [wikipedia.org]?

    • Jericho; War, Inc? They're closer than we think.

    • Do you think we will ever see a corporation declare war on another corporation?

      You're at least 150 yrs too late. East India Company. [wikipedia.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      >Do you think we will ever see a corporation declare war on another corporation?

      Most people will tell you this has already happened. Most of it has been done by proxy so far, i.e. friends in the government. But I think you're asking for the meaty stuff?

      With today's security situation the way it is, I'm guessing it won't be long before security contractors like BlackWater notice that CEOs enjoy fighter jets and begin to offer complementary patrol services. Only for the richest. Formation flyovers abov
    • Re:Far out thought (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday October 24, 2008 @12:10PM (#25499013) Journal

      Corporations (or their top execs) are starting to buy military hardware. Do you think we will ever see a corporation declare war on another corporation?

      Corporations have, relatively recently, declared war on other countries, not just other companies.

      The British & Dutch East India Trading Company is the first one that comes to mind which had an army, navy, minted money, warred with countries & companies and setup & administered governments.

      We talk about corporate influence in government, but what exists now pales in comparison to the overt control and militarism of years gone past.

  • by NobodyExpects (843016) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:27AM (#25498283)
    So... Google has added an "airforce" to complement their navy [slashdot.org]...
  • Didn't Michael Dorn (Worf of Star Trek: The Next Generation) buy a fighter or a trainer after he was done with TV?
  • by RogueWarrior65 (678876) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:33AM (#25498383)

    They'll have to offer free rides to people who could never afford a plane of their own.

  • by xaositects (786749) *
    luckily it's payload is light.
  • Its no Rocket Car...

    Rocket Car [slashdot.org]

  • It's a trainer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by confused one (671304) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:48AM (#25498651)

    It's an advanced trainer. It's a toy. (albeit a rich man's toy). What's the big deal -- he already owns several aircraft. This isn't even uncommon.

    Now, if you told me he bought a couple of fully armed F22's, THAT would be news. (you may, of course, substitute your plane of choice for the F22)

  • by teh_c0unt (1392683) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:52AM (#25498711)
    ...the first thing to come up is a wikipedia article?
  • by ghoul (157158) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:55AM (#25498755)

    Well they have the cheap geothermal power and the free cooling for the datacenters. The only hitch was how out of the way iceland is. But it does have an abandoned NATO airfield so now that the top execs can jet in and out in an hour or so at supersonic speeds goodbye Silicon Valley Hello Reykjavik. Solves all the turnover problem too as in "You want to leave Google and join Microsoft. Fine as soon as you get security clearance from the Icelandic government you can leave (never that is)" With Iceland being bankrupt they would sell their souls and change their national anthem to "Do no evil" if Google comes calling.

  • That'll help them in their quest to be carbon-neutral [blogspot.com] won't it?

  • Controversy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sycodon (149926)

    This was the subject of some controvery in the aviation community.

    Moffett Field is a Naval installation and as such civilians cannot use it unless it's a emergency and even then you can expect to spend some time answering questions posed by the Military Police.

    I understand the nearest civilian airport that can accept jets is quite a ways away.

    So how did the google guys obtain rights to use Moffet field when no other civilians can?

  • while shipping container datacenters get all of the news today, google has realized that a shipping container just isn't very sexy

    meanwhile, imagine a full rack of server hardware, effortlessly streaming youtube movies and search returns, all the while cruising at mach 1 above the rockies

    now that's some seriously sexy IT hardware

  • by mr_mischief (456295) on Friday October 24, 2008 @12:58PM (#25499761) Journal

    The Kirlin family runs one of the world's the largest chains of Hallmark cards and gifts franchises (Kirlin's Hallmark stores, based out of Quincy, Illinois). Two sons of founder Dale Kirlin Sr. (Dale Jr. and Gary) went into the family business.

    The other son, Don Kirlin, pursued an aviation career with the US Navy and Us Airways before he started Red Air [redair.net] which is a company also based out of Quincy, IL. Don has lived in Quincy, in Boulder, Colorado [rockymountainnews.com], and also in Kyrgyzstan while working on acquiring a former Soviet fighter.

    Red Air operates a fleet of Mig, Alpha, and Vodochody fighter aircraft [wired.com] in training maneuvers with US and Canadian fighter groups. Their former USAF and US Navy flight instructors flying foreign-built fighters make for a much more realistic training scenario than simulators or flying US aircraft against other US aircraft.

    If you have the cash, the licenses, and the desire then check out his foreign fighter and trainer sales business [air-usa.com], Air USA. Weapons systems are not included, of course.

    Don's also the man behind the World Free Fall Convention, which brought visitors from every state and 70 foreign countries to Quincy, IL and Rantoul, IL for 17 years and featured during that time over 600,000 jumps. Jump platforms included everything from a B-17 bomber to the Family Channel blimp [dropzone.com]. Even a Super Constellation and a Boeing 727 have been featured.

    So if you really want to talk about privately held air power, Oracle and Google take a back seat to the black sheep son of a greeting card and gift store magnate.

  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Friday October 24, 2008 @01:11PM (#25499981) Homepage

    They were going to buy a Hummer, but the fighter jet gets better gas mileage.

  • Why is this news? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by houghi (78078) on Friday October 24, 2008 @01:14PM (#25500033)

    Seriously, why is this news? They buy a plane that is available to the public if enough money is exchanged. Even the summary talks about a fleet implying it is not even the first plane they own.
    So it is not news that they bought a plane, because they have some already. It is not news that they have a lot of money. It is not news one of the big shots has a pilot license. It is not even news for being the first to have such a plane.

    It's not news. If anything it's gossip. About as interesting as knowing Tara Reid was drunk again. News? That is not news and it doesn't matter.

The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives. -- Admiral William Leahy, U.S. Atomic Bomb Project

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