2019 US Navy Legacy Flight Schedule Released

posted in: Military, Schedules, Warbirds | 3

US Navy Legacy Flight - AirshowStuff

The Navy Legacy Flight Foundation has released a schedule of their shows for 2019. However, not every show will include a Hornet or Super Hornet demo team aircraft in the flight. As we have previously discussed, the Legacy Flight program is being expanded this year to include E/A-18G Growlers, T-45 Goshawks, and T-6B Texan IIs aircraft flying with a similarly increased variety of civilian-owned warbirds.

Legacy Flights used to be fairly common, but ended in the sequestration budget cuts of 2013. They returned in a limited capacity in 2018, but only at a few shows since the Super Hornet demonstration teams had to cut their schedule way back. With the 2019 schedule for the Super Hornet demonstrations not looking much better, it’s great news that they Navy decided to expand the Legacy Flight program to other non-demo team units. This also adds a lot of variety for fans to see.

2019 Performance Schedule – US Navy Legacy Flights

March 15-17th: Space Coast Warbird Airshow – Titusville, FL
March 30-31st: NAS Key West Southernmost Air Spectacular – Key West, FL
March 30-31st: Melbourne Air and Space Show – Melbourne, FL

April 2-7th: SUN ‘n FUN Int’l Fly-In Expo – Lakeland, FL
April 6-7th: Heart of Texas Airshow – Waco, TX

May 3-5th: Central Texas Air Show – Temple, TX
May 10-12th: Chennault International Airshow – Lake Charles, LA
May 18-19th: Hangar 24 Air Fest – Redlands, CA
May 25-26th: Miami Beach Air and Sea Show – Miami, FL

June 1-2nd: Defenders of Freedom Air and Space Show – Offutt AFB, Bellevue, NE
June 15-16th: Wings over Northern Michigan – Gaylord, MI
June 22nd-23rd: Dayton Air Show – Dayton, OH
June 29-30th: National Cherry Festival Airshow – Traverse City MI
June 29-30th: Quad City Air Show – Davenport, IA

July 4th: Tacoma Freedom Fair and Air Show – Tacoma, WA
July 6-7th: Gig Harbor Wings and Wheels – Gig Harbor, WA
July 13-14th: Toledo Air Show – Toledo, OH
July 22-28th: EAA AirVenture Oshkosh – Oshkosh, WI

August 9-11th: Abbotsford International Airshow – Abbotsford, Canada
August 17-18th: Sioux Falls Air and Space Expo – Sioux Falls, SD
August 24-25th: Rochester International Airshow – Rochester, NY
August 31st- September 2nd: Cleveland National Airshow – Cleveland, OH

September 7th: National Illinois Airshow – Waukegan, IL
September 12-15th: Reno Air Races, – Reno, NV
September 21-22nd: NAS Oceana Airshow – Virginia Beach, VA

October 4-6th: The Great Pacific Airshow – Huntington Beach, CA
October 12-13th: Atlanta Airshow – Hampton, GA
October 19-20th: CAF Wins over Houston Airshow – Houston, TX

November 1-3rd: Florida International Airshow – Punta Gorda, FL
November 1-3rd: Stuart Airshow – Stuart, FL

The US Navy Seems To Be Expanding Legacy Flights In 2019! What About Super Hornet Demos?

posted in: Military | 2

US Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet - AirshowStuff

Last year was a rough one for the Navy’s single-ship demonstration presence at airshows. While F/A-18C Hornet and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet demonstration teams used to visit dozens of shows each year, they performed at just seven events (the six listed and their home show at NAS Oceana) in 2018. This dramatic decrease comes from a number of factors; busy training schedules, aircraft maintenance struggles, and the phasing out of F/A-18Cs.

At the same time, the US Air Force has steadily increased its airshow presence through the re-establishment of the F-16 Fighting Falcon and A-10 Thunderbolt II demonstration teams, and the debut of the F-35 Heritage Flight team which is upgraded to a full demo team this year. The stark contrast is the result of the different approaches that the services take.

While USAF demos are flown by dedicated teams with specific aircraft, the Navy TACDEMOs are flown by a small group of fleet instructor pilots who are certified to perform the routine. They take jets from their Fleet Replacement Squadron (VFA-106 “Gladiators” at NAS Oceana in Virginia and VFA-122 “Flying Eagles” at NAS Lemoore in California), perform over the weekend, then return home for training during the week. Previously, VFA-125 “Rough Raiders” performed the F/A-18C demonstrations out of NAS Lemoore, but the unit was merged into VFA-122 in 2010 before converting to the Fleet Replacement Squadron for the new F-35C Lightning II in 2016.

This structure worked fine some years ago, but started to struggle as several factors came up in a short time span. The F/A-18Cs began to be phased out as the Navy replaced them with more Super Hornets. Budget cuts hindered maintenance efforts and jets spent more time on the ground despite high demand. Training is the absolute primary mission of the units and as aircraft wore down, their limited flight time was rightly directed to that mission. Airshow appearances shrunk and popular Legacy Flight performances, which pair one of the modern demonstration jets with one or more vintage Navy aircraft, became a thing of the past.

In 2018, fans were crushed to learn that only seven airshow appearances by VFA-106 – and none by VFA-122 – were approved. Legacy Flights did return, but were only performed by the demo crews at some of those few events. The Navy scheduling process has always been a bit confusing with schedules posted much later than other teams and many late additions, but this was still a shock and begged the question of what would happen in 2019 and beyond. Whispers at the time painted an extremely bleak picture and warned that demos might not even happen in 2019.

As we sit here in February of 2019, we have no further word on specific plans for TACDEMOs in 2019, but we are seeing signs that the Navy’s philosophy on airshow performances is changing. A couple shows, namely St. Louis and the Tacoma Freedom Fair, are advertising Legacy Flight performances where the modern jet will be an E/A-18G Growler instead of a Super Hornet from one of the traditional TACDEMO teams. Other shows are advertising Legacy Flight performances that include a T-45 Goshawk training jet, which has never had a regular airshow presence.

This represents a big shift which airshow fans should appreciate. By spreading the airshow appearances around to units outside of VFA-106 and VFA-122, it reduces the burden faced by any one unit and particularly the training units. It reduces the need for long transit flights by providing options for shows to pursue relatively local units, and it will likely increase the total number of shows that get a Navy performance. It also means greater variety for photographers to capture!

What does this mean for actual, full-up TACDEMOs though? Unfortunately, we’re still in the dark on that one and we may not find out for some time. It’s entirely possible that no full demonstrations will be flown in 2019, though a limited schedule seems more likely. A particularly observant member of our forums pointed out that there is a temporary flight restriction (TFR) posted for NAS Oceana this week, which usually indicates practice Super Hornet demonstrations. That is far from a confirmation that they will be performed in 2019, but it’s certainly not a bad sign!

Stay tuned to AirshowStuff for all of the latest news on Navy TACDEMOs and Legacy Flights, and be sure share your own thoughts on our forums!

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!

WATCH: This Rare Super Hornet/Corsair Formation Showcases Decades Of Naval Aviation History

Visitors to the Cleveland National Airshow this past Labor Day weekend were treated to a special sight – a US Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet and World War II-era F4U Corsair flying together! The pair performed several formation flybys before landing, then taxied together at show center and folded their wings to show their common bond as carrier-based fighters. Check out the entire performance in our video above!

This sort of sight used to be fairly commonplace through the US Navy Tailhook Legacy Flight program, which is similar to the US Air Force’s Heritage Flight program. Unfortunately the budget cuts of recent years stopped not only the Legacy Flights, but also the Hornet demonstrations themselves. As the TACDEMO teams return to full prominence on the airshow circuit, there is hope that these formations can again be flown regularly.

Don’t forget to also watch our video of the full Super Hornet aerobatic demonstration from Cleveland!

2017 Bethpage Airshow Cancels Planned F-18 Hornet Demonstration Due To Airspace Restrictions

posted in: Airshows, Military, Schedules | 0

F/A-18F Super Hornet

The Bethpage Airshow at Jones Beach in New York has been forced to cancel the planned F/A-18 Hornet demonstration, the show announced today. Due to runway construction at JFK airport and the subsequent rerouting of air traffic, the show will not have the air space necessary for the Hornet team to perform. Traffic will still be coordinated to allow the US Air Force Thunderbirds to perform, and the other performers do not require the same amount of space so they are unaffected.

The airshow is scheduled for May 27 and 28. The cancellation may give the Hornet team (from VFA-106) the chance to book another show in its place. We will update our 2017 Hornet and Super Hornet Demonstration Schedules with any such info as we get it.

VFA-106 Unveils Special VFA-15 Paint Scheme For 2017 F/A-18C Hornet Demonstrations

posted in: Military | 16

F/A-18C Hornet Demonstration In VFA-15 Commemorative Paint Scheme

The U.S. Navy’s East Coast TAC Demo squadron, VFA-106 Gladiators, recently introduced a commemorative paint scheme for their F/A-18C “Legacy Hornet” demo jet. The new paint scheme celebrates the legacy of VFA-15 Valions, which is scheduled to formally deactivate on May 31, 2017. The demo jet markings are representative of VA-15 while flying A-7E Corsair IIs during the 1970s. VA-15 transitioned to F/A-18s in January of 1987 and was subsequently re-designated VFA-15.

F/A-18C Hornet Demonstration In VFA-15 Commemorative Paint SchemeF/A-18C Hornet Demonstration In VFA-15 Commemorative Paint Scheme

The jet made its public debut March 10-12 at the Tico Warbird Airshow held annually at the Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, Florida. The event was the team’s first of the 2017 airshow season. Lt. Scott “MacGruber” Lindahl piloted the jet for all three demonstrations of the weekend, much to the surprise and delight of the crowd. Overall, the jet was very well received and was the subject of much discussion due to the jet’s retro 1970s paint scheme.

The jet is a fitting tribute to the men and women currently serving in VFA-15, and provides honor and respect for all who served the mighty Valions during the squadron’s storied 75 year history.

– Shawn Yost

EDIT: Our comments include some credit for the paint scheme:
All of us in the VFA-15 Corrosion Workcenter painted the jet that paint scheme, the original A/C Modex was 301. The night before it came out from the paint hangar there onboard NAS OCEANA & was on display at my Navy Retirement Ceremony on Nov. 18, [2016]. I was the LPO for 12C Work Center & all my guys did a Fantastic JOB painting the jet. I like to give them the credit & they are as follows: Jared Paul Bowen, Yisus Vlzqz, Wayne Ragas, Jordan Soltis, Huy G Tran, Sean Collins, Narciso Diaz & Brent Fore

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

F/A-18C Hornet Demonstration In VFA-15 Commemorative Paint Scheme

F/A-18C Hornet Demo Added To 2016 NAS Pax River Air Expo Lineup

posted in: Airshows | 0

US Navy F/A-18C Hornet demonstration team

The US Navy F/A-18C Hornet demonstration from VFA-106 “Gladiators” has been added to the lineup of the 2016 NAS Patuxent River Air Expo. The status of the show was called into question after the Blue Angels were forced to cancel their planned appearance at the show, but organizers decided to press on with the rest of the line up. This late addition will provide some extra jet noise on top of the already scheduled F-22 Raptor and Sea Harrier performances.

The Navy has used the single-ship Hornet demo teams to fill in for the Blue Angels several times already this year. They were called into action when the Blues canceled multiple appearances as part of their safety stand down following the June crash of Blue Angel #6, Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss. The report on that crash led to a mandate that the team take one weekend off at least every eight weeks, which led to their Pax River cancellation.

[Updated x3] 2015 US Navy F-18 Hornet Demo Team Schedules Released

posted in: Military, Schedules | 3

F-18 Hornet Demo Team Schedule

Updated (3/15/15): The US Navy Tac Demo Facebook page has released the break down of C, E, and F model demonstrations during the seaon. We have rearranged the schedule below to more clearly display the lineup for each model. NAS Oceana will of course feature both the F/A-18C and F/A-18F demos, as VFA-106 is based there.

Original post: A number of you fans out there have been anticipating the release of the US Navy’s F-18 Hornet Demo schedule for this year’s air show season. Today it was finally released, so without further adieu, here is where you can find your Hornet fix this year:

{Updated 5/21/15 to add Rome, GA and Mankato, MN; and to remove Jones Beach, NY}
{Updated 4/12/15 to remove Louisville, KY}

— VFA-106 – F/A-18C Hornet —

23-24 May – Jones Beach, NY
4-5 Jul – Traverse City, MI
25-26 Jul – Milwaukee, WI
12 Sept – Waukegan, IL
30 Oct – 1 Nov – Stuart, FL
3-4 Oct – Rome, GA
19-20 Sept – NAS Oceana, VA

— VFA-106 – F/A-18F Super Hornet —

14 Mar – El Centro, CA
18-19 Apr – Louisville, KY
9-10 May – Millville, NJ
20-21 Jun – Dayton, OH
27-28 Jun – Mankato, MN
10-12 Jul – Gary, IN
29-30 Aug – Brooklyn, NY
5-7 Sept – Cleveland, OH
19-20 Sept – NAS Oceana, VA

— VFA-122 – F/A-18E Super Hornet —

21-22 Mar – Lancaster, CA
24-25 May – Columbia, MO
20 Jun – Denton, TX
3 Jul – Dubuque, IA
7-9 Aug – Abbotsford, BC
26-27 Sept – Millington, TN
3-4 Oct – Mather, CA
16-18 Oct – Houston, TX
24-25 Oct – Santa Teresa, NM

One interesting note is that the schedule does not identify whether the shows listed will feature a Hornet or Super Hornet. We will look into it and update this post once we get the info.