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Want to buy a Chinook? Here's what it could cost you

Wednesday - 1/1/2014, 12:02am  ET

What might a 14-year-old military helicopter cost you?

About $3 million.

At least that was the high bid for one of two Boeing CH-47D heavy-lift Chinooks that was auctioned by the General Services Administration Dec. 20. The other brought in an ever higher bid, at $3.5 million.

According to accompanying documents, both Chinooks were tested by the Army in December 1990, and as of Sept. 16, had flown about 6,000 hours. The helicopters — which were demilitarized prior to auction — are operational, GSA confirmed, though the condition is deemed "not warranted." Bidders were provided an opportunity to inspect the property.

This particular model of Chinook has been around since the late 1970s, mostly converted from earlier models of the helicopter. The last of them was delivered to the Army in 2002, with the Netherlands, Singapore and Canada among the allies that have purchased the aircraft.

So who wants to buy them? Was it the same bidder? A collector? Museum? Supplier on the hunt for parts? Too soon to tell. According ot GSA, the high bids (there were only two bids for each helicopter) haven't officially won the auctions yet; that won't happen until proper approvals come from the Pentagon.

The winning bidders were require to submit an “End Use Certificate” that certifies the buyer as the final recipient of the aircraft, and to also undergo a Trade Security Control Check. That process, which needs to be approved by the Pentagon, can take up to 60 days.

In that sense, buying a helicopter brings a fair amount of red tape. Beyond the approvals, Bidders were required to provide a $100,000 deposit to prove they were serious, and needed to be able to load, pack and remove "any and all property" awarded under the auction from its home in Meridianville, Ala.

© 2013 American City Business Journals, Inc.