Military Aviation

First RAAF Pilot to Clock 4,000 Hours on F/A-18 Strike Fighters

Squadron Leader Daniel Grealy’s milestone includes 1500 hours on F/A-18A/B Hornets and 2500 hours on F/A-18F Super Hornets.

In a first for Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), No. 82 Wing Training Flight fighter pilot Squadron Leader Daniel Grealy has flown 4000 hours on F/A-18 aircraft.

The milestone, achieved on May 23, 2022 at RAAF Base Amberley, includes 1500 hours on F/A-18A/B Hornets and 2500 hours on F/A-18F Super Hornets.

According to a Royal Australian Air Force news release, while he is not the first pilot internationally to achieve this milestone, Boeing Defence Australia identified Squadron Leader Grealy as the first RAAF fighter jet pilot to do so.

Commander Air Combat Group Air Commodore Timothy Alsop (right) presents Squadron Leader Daniel Grealy with an oversized replica patch on attaining 4000 flying hours in F/A-18 type aircraft at RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland. 

With more than 27 years of experience in fast jet aviation, Squadron Leader Grealy has flown tours in Australia and overseas during both peacetime and war-like operations.

‘I flew the F/A-18A/B Hornet from 1995 at No. 81 Wing at RAAF Base Williamtown, completing multiple tours at No. 77 Squadron and No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit, both as a fighter combat instructor and flight commander,” Squadron Leader Grealy said.

“In 2009, I posted to Initial Cadre Super Hornet, conducting instructional duties for the United States Navy in Lemoore, California, before returning to No. 82 Wing at RAAF Base Amberley as No. 1 Squadron Executive Officer.

“Out of my total F/A-18 hours, the most memorable experience was conducting strike operations in Iraq as part of Operation Okra in an executive capacity.”

Squadron Leader Daniel Grealy, in an F/A-18F Super Hornet, is welcomed back to the flightline at RAAF Base Amberley with a water cannon salute after achieving 4000 hours.

Since 2009, Squadron Leader Grealy has conducted multiple executive tours at No. 82 Wing and is currently Specialist Aircrew at No. 82 Wing Training Flight.

Visiting RAAF Base Amberley to the mark the milestone, Commander of Air Combat Group Air Commodore Tim Alsop said it was an honour to witness Squadron Leader Grealy’s “huge achievement”.

“Apart from being a unique patch, it signifies the depth of experience that ‘Greals’ has built over nearly three decades,” Air Commodore Alsop said.

“Our air combat force is built on quality, the foundation of which is established by a team of world-class instructors across many fields and Squadron Leader Grealy is just one of those.”

This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F/A-18C Hornet VFA-131 Wildcats, AG400 / 165208 / 2009

After more than 30 years of dedicated service to the RAAF, Australia’s fleet of F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets has been farewelled, to make way for the fifth-generation F-35A Lightning II fighter.

In fact the remaining few active Classic Hornets—that have been employed in the defence of the nation since 1985—were retired on Nov. 29, 2021.

Currently the RAAF has 24 F/A-18F Super Hornet strike fighters. The aircraft are based at Number 1 Squadron at RAAF Base Amberley.

Photo credit: Sergeant Peter Borys / Royal Australian Air Force

This model is available from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS
Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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