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Tue, May 24, 2005

For Sale: 767 Tanker Prototype

Only $54 Million

It's an experimental aircraft builder's dream:

For Sale
Boeing 767 Tanker Prototype
Never Flown
Reinforced floors
Upgraded electrical system
Extra cargo door
Needs engines, avionics
Only $54 million

After Boeing's 767 tanker deal was declared dead on the table earlier this year, the company has a prototype gathering dust at the company's plant in Everett, WA. Now, that one-of-a-kind 767 is for sale.

As ANN reported in October, the original tanker deal Boeing struck with the US Air Force was tainted with scandal and eventually abandoned by the government.

Boeing is now back in the running against Airbus for development of a long-overdue KC-135 replacement. But it won't be a 767, according to company executives. That line is expected to be shut down sometime this year.

The problem is that the aircraft is so heavily-modified that it needs a special FAA certification. But to make it airworthy, the company will have to spend more money than it's worth on the commercial market. Boeing has already sunk $275 million into the one-of-a-kind aircraft.

Boeing's Commercial Aircraft Division is reportedly considering scrapping the aircraft altogether -- or perhaps donating it to an aviation museum.

Or Boeing could sell the aircraft -- to itself. The Commercial Division is said to be considering selling the 767 to the Military Division for pennies on the dollar. But then, there's the question of whether the Military Division would even want the white elephant.

So, if you're looking for that really challenging homebuilt aircraft project, consider it. But you're  going to need a really big garage in which to finish it.

FMI: www.boeing.com

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