Fly-ins, swap meets and aviation supply shops aren’t the only place you can get those hard to find items for your aviation wants and needs. eBay, the online auction house, is another venue for locating aviation collectibles, artwork, clothing, headsets, books and even vintage cockpit instruments. All it takes is a little luck, a little patience and the click of a mouse.
Sometimes you can find entire aircraft for auction. In 2002-2003, when EAA Chapter 292 out of Independence, Ore., mass-produced a squadron of replica Nieuports, they made one extra specifically for auction on eBay. The auction raised money to support the chapter.
More recently, a 1991 Raytheon Beech Starship went up for bid. The ISTAT Foundation, the charitable giving arm of the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading, placed it on the site. The catch is that the aircraft can’t ever fly again. To that end the winning bidder gets the aircraft with the flight deck and all components intact – but no engines. All proceeds from the sale will benefit the foundation’s College Scholarship Program.
Aviation-related adventures also show up on eBay. In December 2004, the opportunity to take part in the search for Amelia Earhart was put up for auction by the SeaWord Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides educational and scientific discovery opportunities in the ocean. Minimum bid was $80,000. Apparently that was too much to ask, because nary a soul tried for it.
eBay is also a handy place to unload your unwanted items.
For example, those uniforms you last wore in 1947 and have been sitting in the attic since the Truman administration, are collectibles to someone. Flight jackets, especially from the World War II era, are particularly hot items.
If you’re lucky, the contents of your old footlocker might even cover the cost of your hangar rent for the next three months.