According to US FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) information, Google's airline now has a Dornier Alpha-Jet, tail No. N165XA. The fighter jet is actually registered to H211 LLC of Palo Alto, California. H211 LLC, is the company that operates the private jets owned and used by Google’s top executives, including their billionaire founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, along with CEO Eric Schmidt. Schmidt is a licensed pilot and has cockpit experience in high performance jet aircraft.
Google's fighter jet is located at NASA’s Moffett Field, which is just around the corner from their offices. Google, which does not own any of the airplanes and has no declared relationship with H211 LLC, declined to officially comment on the new fighter jet. H211 LLC uses many of its jets for NASA-sponsored experiments, since they operate primarily out of Moffett Field.
Google said that similar to the other H211 LLC/Google planes offered to NASA, the Alpha Jet is being outfitted with scientific instruments for NASA missions, including instruments that the other planes could not carry. Matt Furman, an official Google spokesman, said that because of the type of aircraft we are talking about, NASA now has the ability to do even more than they could before.
The Dornier Alpha-Jets were designed as a light attack and trainer jet and and were originally used by air forces around the world. They were built in the 1970's and 1980's by Germany's Dornier and France's Dassault-Breguet. Google's fighter jet seats two, has a wingspan of 29 feet 11 inches, it is 43 feet 4.9 inches long, and stands 13 ft 9 inches tall at the tail. They carried machine guns, rockets, missiles, and bombs depending on how the country's air force outfitted them. H211 LLC and Google say their N165XA aircraft will be outfitted for unspecified scientific missions for NASA.
Alpha Jets USA is importing them and selling them to civilians. Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison has owned several aircraft, including fighter jets. Red Bull Energy Drink uses a Dornier Alpha-Jet to promote their products at air shows around the world. General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz owns a Dornier Alpha-Jet which he proudly displays on his personal business card according to Edmunds auto publications.
Google has a $1.3 million, two year lease with NASA for landing rights at Moffett Field. This is an airport run by NASA that is generally closed to private aircraft.. To get these privileges, Google Inc.'s founders will carry scientific equipment for NASA's Ames Research on their private aircraft. There is a noise pollution clause and a maximum number of landings permitted in this arrangement.
The Mountain View Voice, which originally broke the story, said that the Dornier Alpha-Jet noise levels would violate H211 LLC's original agreements with NASA's Ames facility at Moffett Field. Because they only allow for quieter turbine-powered aircraft like the H211 LLC/Google Gulfstream and Boeing 747-200, additional amendments will have to be made for the noise levels of the H211 LLC/Google Alpha fighter jet. As part of the agreement, H211 LLC has been allowed to base aircraft in Hangar 211 because of the fact that NASA has equipped their planes with scientific instruments.
Lenny Siegel, director of the Center for Public Environmental Oversight, a watchdog group concerned with Moffett Field, said that he would like to hear more about the scientific justification for the H211 LLC/Google Alpha fighter jet.
No matter how you look at it, having a jet fighter is every boy’s dream toy. X