PENSACOLA | The US Navy Blue Angels made their last formal flight with their F/A-18 “Legacy” Hornets on Wednesday 4th November, performing a “Beach Buzz” over their home town of Pensacola.
Six jets, plus a cameraship, participated in the flyover, which is traditionally performed each time the team arrive home in Pensacola after an airshow. However, with the team’s airshows all cancelled in 2020, only a small number of Beach Buzzes have been performed this year.
The flyover marks the end of service for the F/A-18A/B/C/D “Legacy” Hornet, which has served with the Blue Angels since 1986. The type has already been retired from regular US Navy service and some of the airframes used by the Blue Angels are several decades old.
“We are incredibly honored to have the opportunity to salute those teams who have flown, maintained and supported this platform for over three decades of service,” said the team’s commanding officer and flight leader, Cmdr. Brian Kesselring. “We look forward to enhancing our operations as we fully transition to flying the Super Hornet.”
From 2021 onwards, the team will display with the larger and more powerful F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. Small groups of Super Hornets have already been seen over Pensacola, practicing the team’s 2021 display profile, which is expected to be largely the same as their 2020 routine, but with a few manoeuvres omitted.
Also next year, the team will begin displaying their new support aircraft, an ex-Royal Air Force C-130J Hercules. Their 2021 schedule is expected to be confirmed at the virtual ICAS Convention in December.