The Blue Angels’ Super Hornet Transition Is Still Years Away

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US Navy Blue Angels - F-18 Hornets

Fans of the US Navy Blue Angels expecting to see the team perform in Super Hornets will have to wait several more years at least. The Department of Defense announced today that Boeing has been awarded a contract for the documentation and kits to convert nine single-seat F/A-18Es and two dual-seat F/A-18Fs to Blue Angel configuration. The most notable part of the announcement is that this work is not expected to be completed before December of 2021, which would seemingly prevent the team from transitioning until 2022 or more likely 2023 at the earliest.

The team currently flies aging F/A-18B/C/D “Legacy” Hornets. The old and worn down jets create many maintenance issues for the squadron and it has become more and more common to see performances limited by the number of available aircraft, even though a spare travels with the team.

Several major incidents, including the crash of Blue Angel #6 Capt. Jeff Kuss in 2016, left the team with even fewer spares than usual. Even with the coming transition, the team has continued to receive additional Hornets as the Navy retires them from frontline units in favor of Super Hornets and F-35 Lightning IIs.

The Super Hornet transition has been public knowledge for a while now, a firm timeline has never been announced to the public; likely because even the Navy didn’t have firm plans. Certain details have emerged from interviews and previous contract announcements, but many fans have drawn false conclusions from these tidbits that the transition was/is imminent; one airshow vendor went as far as to create ‘Hornet Farewell Tour’ t-shirts during the 2017 season. Today’s announcement gives some clarity to the situation, and serves as a needed reality check on rumors and speculation.

Want to see the Blue Angels perform in person? Check out their 2018 airshow schedule and preliminary 2019 airshow schedule!

Here is the full text of the announcement:
The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, is being awarded $17,002,107 for firm-fixed-price delivery order N0001918F2654 against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-16-G-0001). This order is for the retrofit documentation and kits to convert nine F/A-18E and two F/A-18F aircraft into a Blue Angel configuration in accordance with engineering change proposal 6480. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Missouri, and is expected to be completed in December 2021. Fiscal 2018 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $17,002,107 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

Rare British Jet Warbirds Expected At EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018

posted in: Airshows, Warbirds | 0

de Havilland Vampire

Some rare British jet aircraft will be on the flightline in Oshkosh this July! EAA recently announced that the World Heritage Air Museum in Detroit, MI is planning to bring both a de Havilland Venom and Vampire, as well as a Gloster Meteor that is currently the oldest flying jet in the world. The aircraft mark just part of the growing collection at WHAM, which has displayed other aircraft at EAA AirVenture in the past.

These new attendees will join other vintage jets like the L-39 Albatros, T-33 Shooting Star, F-86 Sabre, and MiG-17 Fresco. The jet warbirds are typically featured during “Jet Day”, but often fly other days of the week too. Organizers are encouraging other jet owners to come to the attend in the hopes of sparking a larger gathering. Even as it stands, AirVenture 2018 will surely be a rare treat for jet lovers!

Historic Warbirds Return To Service, Transport Aid In Wake Of Hurricane Harvey

posted in: Popular Posts, Warbirds | 1

On Friday, August 25th, the eye of Hurricane Harvey, a strong category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 mph, made landfall near Rockport, TX. Over the next week, the center of Harvey would sit and spin over Texas, dropping 40-50 inches of rain! This amount of rain resulted in catastrophic and life threatening flooding across southeast Texas, including the Beaumont, TX area.

Beaumont sits about 1 hour and 15 minutes to the east of the Houston Metro. When Harvey’s rains hit, the town’s 118,000+ people were devastated. While most of the national media’s attention was on the Houston Metro, other areas in Texas were also struggling.

In Georgetown, TX, located outside of Austin, citizens started gathering supplies. A call went out for general aviation aircraft and pilots in the area to help take supplies down to Beaumont. The Commemorative Air Forces’s Highland Lakes Squadron, with their Douglas C-47 “Bluebonnet Belle”, answered that call.

The C-47 has a history of transporting important cargo. During World War II, the platform was used to carry jeeps, troops, or up to 6,000 pounds of other cargo. It was used by every branch of the US military and all of the major allied powers.

When Texas needed it, the C-47 stepped back into service – more than 70 years after the war that made the type famous. The cabin was loaded with diapers, food, and water before the aircraft launched on the hour and a half trip from Georgetown to Beaumont.

In a post on the Commemorative Air Force Facebook page, the CAF said, “When the Texas National Guard showed up with their Deuce and a half truck, we knew we had brought supplies to the right place. A troop of soldiers descended on the C-47 unloading box after box directly onto the military truck. This was only the first load of supplies and so long as there is a need the CAF is planning to help.”


Photos from David Oliver

The C-47 wasn’t the only aircraft that helped with Harvey relief. The B-25 Mitchell “Devil Dog”, also a CAF aircraft, transported supplies to impacted areas as well. These including, rather fittingly, 500 pounds of dog food for displaced pets.

Well done by these resilient old airframes and the volunteers that support, maintain, and fly them!

B-25 Devil Dog Aids Harvey Relief

WATCH: Classic Warbird Sunset Flight – Ride Along With Six TBM Avengers!

Turkeys CAN Fly!

We here at AirshowStuff.com think you’ll agree that few things sound better than the radial engine of a classic warbird. Unless, of course, it’s SIX radial engines! In 2016, the Illinois Regional Valley airport in Peru, IL hosted their first TBM Avenger Gathering where ten TBM Avengers (along with many other classic warbirds) met for an unforgettable weekend showcasing this legend of World War II. Affectionately nicknamed “The Turkey” for its large size, the Avenger was designed as a torpedo bomber and saw action in the Pacific theater. Avengers were even piloted by such famous people as former President George H. W. Bush and movie star Paul Newman!

From taxi to landing, you get a cockpit view from one of the immaculately-restored Avengers taking part in a formation flight at dusk. The golden glow of the sunset, along with the six other Avengers, makes for some spectacular scenery. You’ll see various formations being flown, and even get a glimpse of a T-6 Texan photo ship capturing the action as well. The sound of the radial engine’s throaty roar takes you back to when these large aircraft patrolled the skies, looking for Japanese ships. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this thrilling video and all it has to offer, you won’t be disappointed!

Be sure to browse the AirshowStuffVideos channel on YouTube for more great videos.

-Justin Miner

TBM AvengerTBM Avenger Star Trail

Patrouille de France 2017 US Tour Hits West Coast With Incredible San Francisco Photo Shoot

posted in: Flyovers, Jet Teams | 0

Patrouille de France Over San Francisco/Golden Gate Bridge

The 2017 US Tour of the Patrouille de France has hit the West Coast! The team performed for one time only at Mather Airport in Sacramento, CA in the morning, then headed for a photo shoot with San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge in the evening. Spectators stood in awe as the eight-ship formation followed their supporting A400M Atlas transport/photoship on multiple flybys around the Bay Area. Two other Alpha Jets trailed the formation for more photos. These magnificent images from this flight really speak for themselves!

Patrouille de France Over San FranciscoPatrouille de France Over San Francisco

The Patrouille has previously flown photo missions over New York City and the Statue of Liberty as well the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. They also performed at several East Coast airshows and even stopped to visit the US Navy Blue Angels at their home base of NAS Pensacola. Their trip through North America is quickly coming to an end though, and they will be heading East again soon for several military-focused events before proceeding up through Canada and back home to France at the beginning of May.

All photos courtesy Armée de l’air

Patrouille de France Over San FranciscoPatrouille de France Over San Francisco

Fan Submissions: Theme Week 12 – General Aviation

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Thank you to all of our fans for submitting to our General Aviation theme week! We really love seeing the turn-out each week and the fantastic photos you’re all submitting! We posted some of our favorite General Aviation photos throughout the week, and asked you to share some of your own shots to be featured right here on our blog. Check out just a sampling of the submissions in the slideshow below!

Do you have some photos you’d like to share? This week’s theme is Stealth! If you would like to contribute to our next theme week, go to our Facebook page, like the page, and upload your photos to our wall!

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