Blue Angels Add “New” F/A-18B Hornet To Squadron

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US Navy Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet

The Blue Angels have a new jet in their squadron! The Blues announced Friday that they’ve taken acquisition of BUNO 162419, a two-seat F/A-18B Hornet.

While this jet is new to the team, it is not new to the fleet. All of the US Navy Blue Angels aircraft are former fleet aircraft. Pictures online show that this particular jet once served with VX-23, the “Salty Dogs”, at NAS Patuxent River, VA. The jet is now painted up in the Blue’s famous blue and gold paint scheme. It will likely be used as a #7 media/backup jet once fully integrated into the team.

Blue Angels Receive New Jet

This new jet comes at a good time as the team was plagued by maintenance issues during the 2017 show season. Even with the best maintainers in the Navy, the team was only able to field five flyable jets at several shows over the summer months. They simply did not have enough aircraft in the squadron.

Further compounding the problem was the grounding of Fat Albert following a crash of a Marine KC-130 in July, which grounded the type. Part of Fat Albert’s role is to quickly retrieve equipment and replacement parts, but with Bert grounded the Blues had to rely on slower methods of getting parts for their jets.

Eventually the team will transition to F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornets, but that is still probably a couple years off. In the mean time, 162419 will help them thrill spectators everywhere they go!

USAF Thunderbirds Museum Reopens At Nellis AFB

posted in: Jet Teams, Museums | 1

USAF Thunderbirds Re-Open Museum

The United States Air Force Thunderbirds have re-opened their team museum at their home base of Nellis AFB. The museum helps tell the Thunderbird story, from its beginnings, to today.

Inside the museum, you’ll find artifacts and other memorabilia including documentation on the team’s formation. The picture below shows the designation and order to create the 3600th USAF Air Demonstration Unit at Luke AFB on May 23rd, 1953.

USAF Thunderbirds Re-Open Museum

Other displays include old Thunderbird team gear, patches, and photographs.

USAF Thunderbirds Re-Open Museum

USAF Thunderbirds Re-Open Museum

To access the museum, visitors must have a valid DOD ID card to get onto base property or be escorted by a DOD ID cardholder. The hours of operation are 8 am to 4 pm, and the location is 4445 Tyndall Avenue, Nellis AFB, NV 89191. For the most up-to-date information, call 702-652-6776.

US Navy Blue Angels Announce New 2017 Officers

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US Navy Blue Angels

The US Navy Blue Angels have announced the officers that will be joining the team for the 2017 show season. These outstanding individuals were selected after a rigorous process and we want to congratulate them on their new status! They will join the returning members of the team, including the “Boss”, Blue Angel #1 Cmdr. Ryan Bernacchi.

All photos courtesy of the US Navy Blue Angels Facebook page.

F/A-18 Hornet Demonstration Pilots

Lt. Brandon Hempler - US Navy Blue Angels
Navy Lt. Brandon Hempler, 32, of Wamego, Kansas, is an F/A-18 Super Hornet pilot currently assigned to Training Squadron TWO-TWO (VT-22), the “Golden Eagles,” at NAS Kingsville, Texas. He is a 2007 graduate of Kansas State University, Salina, Kansas.

Lt. Damon Kroes - US Navy Blue Angels
Navy Lt. Damon Kroes, 34, of Fremont, California, is an F/A-18 Hornet Instructor Pilot currently assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101 (VMFAT-101), the “Sharpshooters,” at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California. He is a 2006 graduate of San Diego State University, San Diego.

Lt. Nate Scott - US Navy Blue Angels
Navy Lt. Nate Scott, 31, of Danville, California, is an F/A-18 Hornet Instructor Pilot currently assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron ONE ZERO SIX (VFA-106), the “Gladiators,” at NAS Oceana, Virginia. He is a 2007 graduate of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

Events Coordinator

Lt. Dave Steppe - US Navy Blue Angels
Navy Lt. Dave Steppe, 31, of Birmingham, Alabama, is an EA-18G Growler Naval Flight Officer currently assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron ONE TWO NINE (VAQ-129), the “Vikings,” at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. He is a 2008 graduate of Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.

C-130 “Fat Albert” Demonstration Pilot

Capt. Kyle Maschner - US Navy Blue Angels
Marine Capt. Kyle Maschner, 33, of Scottsdale, Arizona, is a KC-130 Hercules pilot currently assigned to 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in Okinawa, Japan. He is a 2006 graduate of Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona.

Flight Surgeon

Lt. Juan Guerra - US Navy Blue Angels
Navy Lt. Juan Guerra, 31, of Ocala, Florida, is a Flight Surgeon currently assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron ONE ZERO SIX (VFA-106), the “Gladiators,” at NAS Oceana, Virginia. He is a 2011 graduate of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences School of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland.

Supply Officer

Lt. Bryan Pace - US Navy Blue Angels
Navy Lt. Bryan Pace, 32, of Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire, is a Supply Officer currently assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 101 (VFA-101), the “Grim Reapers,” at Eglin AFB, Florida. He is a 2010 graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts.

Administration Officer

Lt. j.g. Timothy Hawkins - US Navy Blue Angels
Navy Lt. j.g. Timothy Hawkins, 37, of Scranton, Pennsylvania, is an Administrative Officer currently assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron ONE FOUR THREE (VFA-143), the “Pukin’ Dogs,” at NAS Oceana, Virginia. He was commissioned through the Limited Duty Officer Program in 2013.