The F/A-18C Legacy Hornet took off from NAS Oceana accompanied by three F/A-18F Super Hornets for a one-and-a-half hour flight and return to Oceana where it will be officially stricken from the inventory.
Taken at Naval Air Station Oceana, the photos in this post show LT Andrew Jalali preparing and taking off for the official final active-duty flight of the last U.S. Navy F/A-18C Legacy Hornet.
The last U.S. Navy F/A-18C, aircraft number 300 (BuNo 163506), made its official final active-duty flight at NAS Oceana, on Oct. 2, 2019.
As explained in the service new release, aircraft number 300 was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 at Cecil Field, Florida. “BuNo 163506 entered the active fleet on Oct. 31, 1988, served with three different squadrons and went to VFA-106 on Sep. 11, 2005,” famous aviation author Mike Crutch told to The Aviation Geek Club. Lt. Jalali, who piloted the Hornet for its final active-duty flight at NAS Oceana, was also born in 1988.
“Today marked the final United States Navy F/A-18C Operational Hornet flight,” said the Commodore, Command Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic, Capt. Brian Becker.
The aircraft has remained with the Gladiators for its entire 31-years of service. The aircraft took off from NAS Oceana accompanied by three F/A-18F Super Hornets for a one-and-a-half hour flight and return to Oceana where it will be officially stricken from the inventory, stripped of all its usable parts and be scrapped.
Becker said the F/A-18C aircraft has served admirably for over 30 years and highlighted its history in naval aviation.
“Its technological innovation was continued on the F/A-18 E/F/G aircraft and helped the U.S. Navy transition from 4th to 5th generation aircraft,” said Becker.
During the last year, VFA-106 has transferred over 50 F/A-18 Hornets to various Navy Reserve and U.S. Marine aviation commands, as well as, being placed in preservation for future use if needed.
Both the F/A-18A and F/A-18C Hornet variants have been replaced by the updated F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.
VFA-106 is the Navy’s East Coast Fleet Replacement Squadron, which trains naval aviators to fly the F/A-18 Super Hornets.
The Blue Blasters of VFA-34 were the last squadron in the Navy flying the Hornet, having joined USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) to conduct Freedom of Navigation patrols in the South China Sea in 2018.
The F/A-18C Hornet is being replaced by the F/A-18E Super Hornet, which is capable of executing the same missions as the Hornet, but with significant advancements in mission systems that will dramatically enhance its effectiveness.
Photo credit: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nikita Custer / U.S. Navy