The Blue Angels’ Super Hornet Transition Is Still Years Away

posted in: Jet Teams, Popular Posts | 0

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.

2018 US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet Demonstration Airshow Schedules Released

posted in: Military, Schedules | 0

US Navy F-18 Super Hornet Demonstration Team

The 2018 schedule for the US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet Demo Teams has been released, but there’s not a whole lot to see. Due to training and other requirements, the demo teams are severely limited in their performances this year. As of the April release, only four shows have been approved with two listed as tentative.

In a statement, Navy TAC Demo said “both VFA-106 and VFA-122 are Fleet Replacement Squadrons (FRS), sometimes referred to by the old Navy term “RAG” or Replacement Air Group. The primary mission of each squadron is to provide the fleet with trained replacement aircrew to support fleet requirements. At this time, each squadron must focus on training newly winged aviators and flight officers on employing the Super Hornet to defend our country. This mission must take priority over flying these remarkable aircraft at air shows.”

While the limited number of shows certainly is disappointing, schedules often change during the year – so for the latest updates please be sure to check our forums! More shows could be added.

2018 Appearance Schedule – US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet Demonstration Teams

April 14-15: Sun-N-Fun, Lakeland Regional Airport – Lakeland, FL
April 21-22: Thunder Over Louisville – Louisville, KY

May 5-6: Ford Lauderdale Air Show – Fort Lauderdale, FL
May 26-27: Miami Beach Air and Sea Show – Miami Beach, FL

The following shows are approved for TACDEMO participation; however, actual participation will be determined in May.

June 9-10: Thunder of Niagara, Niagara Falls ARS – Niagara Falls, NY
June 30-July 1: Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show – Battle Creek, MI

Will you see them in 2018? Let us know! Post in the AirshowStuff Forums or on the AirshowStuff Facebook page and make sure you share pictures after the show!

US Navy Forum Teases Return Of Legacy Flights In 2018 – And More!

posted in: Military | 1

US Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet

The jet team/military demo schedules are the highlight of each annual International Council of Airshows (ICAS) convention, but the military forums and presentations also have some interesting bits of info for fans. This year the Navy forum in particular yielded some very interesting and exciting news items.

First, the F/A-18C Hornet (AKA Baby Hornet or Legacy Hornet) demos appear to be a thing of the past. All F-18 demonstrations in 2018 will be either F/A-18E or F/A-18F Super Hornets. As in the past, they will be flown by a West Coast team out of NAS Lemoore, CA and an East Coast team out of NAS Oceana, VA. The F/A-18E demos will only be flown by Lemoore crews.

Second, and maybe the biggest news of the forum; Legacy Flights might be back! The presentation includes the requirements for a show to host a Legacy Flight, and says the performance will consist of a short profile similar to that flown in the past. Legacy Flights have not been regularly performed for years now, although a Super Hornet and Corsair formation flight was arranged at the Cleveland airshow this past September. No word yet on what warbirds might be among the approved performers.

The third major takeaway from the forum is that there appears to be no limit on Navy static displays in 2018! Each year since sequestration (2013) has seen the military branches place limits on how many of their aircraft could be approved for static display at each airshow. This has gradually been lifted each year and thankfully it appears to be a nonissue in 2018; static display ramps may be a little fuller this summer!

The schedule for the F-18 demonstrations is not expected to be released for a while, but the the teams are approved for 46 airshows total. As noted, we are currently seeking some more information on these topics and will post any updates that we receive!

2017 US Navy F-18 Hornet And Super Hornet Demo Team Schedules Released

posted in: Military, Schedules | 1

US Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet Demonstration Team

The United States Navy has released the 2017 schedule for the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet demonstration teams! Their schedule does not specify which airshows are getting which type of aircraft, but we will update this post with that information when we get it.

Will you see the Hornet/Super Hornet in 2017? Let us know! Post on our Facebook page and in our forums, and make sure you share pictures after the show!

2017 Appearance Schedule – US Navy F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet Demonstration Teams

VFA-106 “Gladiators”:

March 11-13 – Titusville, FL (F/A-18C Hornet)
March 18-19 – Waco, TX

April 22-23 – Louisville, KY
April 29-30 – Lake City, FL

May 6-7 – Fort Lauderdale, FL
May 7-8 – Lincoln, NE
May 20-21 – North Kingstown, RI
May 20-21 – Oklahoma City, OK
May 27-28 – Miami Beach, FL
May 27-28 – Wantagh, NY Canceled on 3/24/17

June 25-26 – Huntsville, AL

July 1-2 – Traverse City, MI (F/A-18F Super Hornet)
July 15-16 – Johnson City, NY

August 12-13 – Scranton, PA
August 12-13 – Barnes ANGB/Westfield, MA
August 19-20 – Selfridge ANGB/Chesterfield Township, MI
August 23 – Atlantic City, NJ

September 2-4 – Cleveland, OH (F/A-18F Super Hornet)
September 9-10 – Sacramento, CA
September 16-17 – Virginia Beach, VA (F/A-18C Hornet and F/A-18F Super Hornet)
September 23-24 – London, ON (F/A-18F Super Hornet)

October 14-15 – Atlanta, GA

November 3-5 – Stuart, FL

VFA-122 “Flying Eagles”:

March 17-18 – Yuma, AZ
March 24-26 – Lancaster, CA

April 1-2 – Melbourne, FL
April 8-9 – Columbus, GA
April 28-30 – Lake Charles, LA

May 6-7 – McEntire ANGB, SC
May 13-14 – Pittsburgh, PA
May 20-21 – Redlands, CA
May 27-28 – Columbia, MO

June 10-11 – Scott AFB, IL
June 17-18 – Gaylord, MI
June 24-25 – Dayton, OH

July 3 – Dubuque, IA
July 8-9 – Gary, IN
July 22-23 – Great Falls, MT
July 29-30 – Fairchild AFB, WA

August 11-13 – Abbotsford, BC

September 9-10 – Wendover, UT
September 16-17 – Midland, TX
September 30-October 1 – Grand Junction, CO

October 7-8 – Minden, NV
October 21-22 – Houston, TX