The US Navy’s 2020 airshow plans continue to take shape as we get ready for the season to start. Earlier this week the Rhino Demonstration Team from VFA-106 “Gladiators” announced their 2020 performance schedule, and today the EA-18G Growler crew from VAQ-129 “Vikings” unveiled a new “Growler Demonstration Team” name, patch, and Instagram account.
Growler participation in Legacy Flights only started in 2019, when the program was expanded to include the EA-18Gs as well as T-45 Goshawks and T-6 Texan IIs. The F-35C Lightning II will join the program in 2020 with a somewhat limited demonstration. All of these types, except for the T-45s which will not participate this year, recently completed training at the Legacy Flight Conference at NAF El Centro.
Before 2019, the Legacy Flights were only flown by the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet Demonstration Teams. The Navy’s airshow presence has suffered greatly in the past few years due to tight operational requirements and ongoing maintenance issues, so expanding the program to new types was a great way to spread the load to different units while also injecting some extra variety into the performance.
Despite the name change, the Growler Demonstration Team will not be performing an aerobatic routine in 2020; only the VFA-106 Super Hornet team, newly rebranded as the Rhino Demonstration Team, has authorization for that. However, it is likely that they’ll be able to perform some non-aerobatic bonus passes before or after the Legacy Flight, similar to how US Air Force teams have flown “mini-demos” at times. We got a great look at some of these bonus passes when the 2019 Growler crew put on some spectacular displays at Nellis AFB and St. Louis.
So far the only 2020 airshow schedule that has been released is for the full F/A-18F Super Hornet demonstrations, but we expect more dates for the Growler team, the F-35C team, and other Legacy Flight performances to be announced soon. Stay tuned here to the blog for details as soon as they’re available, check out the new Growler Demonstration Team IG page, and jump into the discussion about the news on our forums!
As always, you can check our airshow calendar page to find airshows and other aviation events near you!