Last Airworthy MiG-17PF Is Up For Sale

Current owner spent 15 years restoring the aircraft to flying status.

MiG-17PF
While the MiG-17PF can’t be flown supersonically, it is capable of aerobatics and 8G turns.Courtesy Jon Blanchette

Like thousands of other pilots around the world who have watched their flying adventures curtailed to one degree or another over the past few months, you might be thinking this is the time to step up to a sportier airplane, one with a bit of a kick to it, an airplane that might also be something people point to on the ramp when you taxi by. How about a jet warbird?

Jon Blanchette, a former General Motors engineer and US Navy officer just put his classic MiG-17PF fighter up for sale in Elmira, New York. Rescued from a Polish scrapyard in 1993, Blanchette spent 15 years transforming the hulk of metal back into the only airworthy copy of this airplane type anywhere in the world. His MiG became an airshow star that looks and flies as it did when it first took to the air six decades ago. Today, the restored MiG-17PF can safely perform a full aerobatic routine, including inverted flight and tight 8-G turns. Here’s a view from the cockpit during the Thunder of Niagara Airshow.

The MiG-17PF is an upgrade of the original MiG-15 flown by the Soviet Air Force as well as the North Korean Air Force during the 1950s and was the first Soviet fighter capable of operating at night and during inclement weather. The MiG-17PF was also used by the North Vietnamese against US fighters during the Vietnam conflict. Loved for its maneuverability and speed, the MiG-17PF proved to be a fearsome opponent for the US F-4 Phantom II. Though the airplane won’t break the sound barrier, the afterburner-equipped 17 can come pretty close. The MiG-17PF remained in service until replaced by the MiG 21-13, in the early 1960s.

“It [the MiG-17PF] has been the biggest passion project of my life,” Blanchette says. “I am incredibly proud of what I was able to accomplish with this aircraft, and I hope that it will bring the same amount of joy and fulfillment to its next owner.” More information on this rare warbird is available from Vlad Drazdovich at vlad@redbanyan.com.

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