While this news is a bit old, we thought our readers would like to hear details about the recent addition to the National Museum of Naval Aviation. In the year of COVID-19, airshow crowds in the United States did not have the opportunity to witness the traditional Blue Angels flight displays. Their only public appearances were special overflights across the United States, sometimes in conjunction with the US Air Force Thunderbirds, and a final formation flight around the team’s home base in Pensacola, Fla. .
These flights were the last for the legacy F / A-18 Hornet, an aircraft flown by the team since 1987. The Blue Angels will celebrate their 75th anniversary in 2021 by flying their first new aircraft in decades, the F / A- 18E Super Frelon.
As the manager of the Navy’s aircraft loan program, the National Naval Aviation Museum has had no trouble placing a number of retired Hornets with the distinctive blue and gold paint scheme in museums nationwide. . January 13, The Yankee Air Museum received the F / A-18C Bu.163485 which served with the VFA-83 “Rampagers” during the First Gulf War in 1991. Ss readers may recall our article from last November, The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum was one of the first, getting their own example after his November 18, 2020 flight to Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Virginia for display in the annex of the NASM Udvar-Hazy Center close. the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum was also fortunate enough to receive his own example. On February 2, they also welcomed one of these iconic blue and gold jets to their collection, this is the F / A-18C Bu.163768, the former Blue Angel # 4. Others have been assigned a different purpose; their parts will help make two more Hornets whole for possible exhibition.
This pair of F / A-18Cs, perhaps the most historic in history as LCDR Mark Fox and Lt. Nick Mongillo each shot down an Iraqi MiG-21 while piloting them in the operation Desert Storm, arrived at the museum in the summer of 2019 with many pieces missing. Trained staff and volunteers from the museum’s aircraft restoration division put the puzzle together using components from jets that, for years, have wowed tens of thousands of people. The result is a patchwork of blue and gray for now that will ultimately be obscured by the Desert Storm paint scheme of the Sunliners VFA-81. The first of the restored jets, Fox-flown room number 163508, is expected to be completed in early 2021, the 30th anniversary of the air campaign in which it made history.