Greetings from The Aero Experience Team


The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Legacy Hornet Ends U.S. Navy Deployments

By Carmelo Turdo
The Aero Experience commemorates the recent last deployment of the F/A-18 legacy Hornet with an active U.S. Navy squadron with this look at some of our past coverage of the type over the last nine years. This survey includes jets serving with operational units, the Canadian CF-18 Demo Team and the U.S. Navy Blue Angels Demonstration Squadron. The legacy Hornets will continue to serve in U.S. Naval Reserve units and with the U.S. Marine Corps until they are replaced by Super Hornets or the F-35 Lightning II. 

This F/A-18C Hornet served with VFA-34 based at NAS Oceana, VA. The squadron recently flew the last operational deployment of the type in U.S. Navy active service. It was photographed in St. Louis in June, 2011.

We encountered other F/A-18C Hornets from NAS Oceana, VA, this time from the U.S. Naval Reserve's Fighter Composite Squadron 12 (VFC-12). The squadron provides adversary threat tactics training by simulating aircraft such as the MiG-29. Here we feature the inset photo taken on takeoff from St. Louis-Lambert International Airport in 2015. Another jet is shown while on static display at the 2010 Scott AFB airshow, and the third example was seen during a layover in St. Louis in 2011.

The Royal Canadian Air Force deployed the CF-18 Hornet in 1982, and these aircraft have served valiantly at home and abroad ever since. The CF-18 Demonstration Team has performed in various thematic color schemes, and here we feature the 2016 and 2017 colors. We captured the 2016 demo at three different venues - Spirit of St. Louis Airshow, the Cape Girardeau Airshow and the Salute to Veterans Airshow. In 2017, we covered the CF-18 Demonstration Team at the Salute to Veterans Airshow.  

The F/A-18 Hornet has become a popular static display airframe, many of which are former Blue Angels aircraft. Here we feature several display aircraft, and the first is located in front of the Mustin Beach Club in Pensacola, FL. The second set of two is from the nearby National Naval Aviation Museum.

The fourth static display aircraft featured here was delivered to the St. Louis Science Center in 2010 and dedicated the following year. It was a newly decommissioned F/A-18B No.7 jet at the time of the relocation, and it stands as a monument to McDonnell Douglas, Boeing,  the U.S. Navy and all veterans who have served this nation.

The Aero Experience has featured the U.S. Navy Blue Angels Demonstration Squadron on numerous occasions. Here we feature coverage from airshows from 2010-2016 in Cape Girardeau, Scott AFB, Spirit of St. Louis Airport and Thunder Over Louisville. The Blue Angels are scheduled to upgrade to the Super Hornet for the 2021 season.

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