Twenty-eight years ago, the United States Navy decided that it wanted a field replacement for its A-6 Intruder ground-attack aircraft. A team from McDonnell Douglas and General Dynamics won the contract to design the plane, which would be an all-weather, aircraft carrier-based stealth bomber, known as the A-12 Avenger II. Its first flight was planned for December 1990, but technical difficulties and cost overruns kept the team from meeting that deadline. By January 1991, in fact, the Secretary of Defense cancelled the program due to breach of contract. A legal battle between the Navy and McDonnell Douglas ensued, and continues to this day. Now, however, it's possible to own a literal "piece" of the story - a cockpit canopy reportedly made for the A-12 is for sale on eBay.
According to an article posted on The Dew Line blog, the canopy was first found for sale on the GovDeals.com website by surplus aircraft parts dealer Seth Kettleman. It was advertised as being an A-12 canopy, and he ended up winning it in an online auction, with a bid of US$2,300. According to Kettleman, serial numbers and other manufacturing data on the canopy verify that it was indeed manufactured for the A-12.
The canopy had been sent to GovDeals about two months ago by Purdue University, where it had been languishing in an aviation department hangar for over 15 years. Apparently, no one seems to know how it got there.
Anyhow, should you think that the canopy might look good in your rec room, you'd better do some serious budgeting - Kettleman has set its eBay Buy-it-Now price at US$620,238.
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