Maverick, Goose, Iceman, Tomcat, Sabre, Mustang, hero, testosterone, girls, speed, aerobatics, G-force. What do all these words have in common? Actually, they have two things in common: fighters and daydreams, although they could probably all be bundled into the “daydream” category because there are very few pilots who aren’t, to one degree or another, frustrated fighter pilots. Some of us are more frustrated than others, but there are ways of dealing with that frustration without either joining the armed forces or shelling out a couple million dollars for a combat warbird.
There are airplanes, faux fighters, if you will, scattered around the fringes of general aviation, that will let us sample the drama (and fun) of flying fighters without the drama of being shot at or of writing huge checks. Some of these fantasy airplanes are more affordable than others and some are more mission-specific than others, but for anywhere from $20,000 to $300,000, you can easily find something that will fit both your budget and your tastes.