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Pics/Vids: Here’s the Blue Angels’ final flight with their legacy F-18s after 34 years

The U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, Diamond pilots perform the Low Break Cross at the 2018 Pensacola Beach Air Show. The Blue Angels are scheduled to perform more than 60 demonstrations at more than 30 locations across the U.S. and Canada in 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jess Gray/Released)
November 06, 2020

The U.S. Navy’s famous Blue Angels aerobatic flight demonstration squadron took its last flights in its legacy F-18 Hornets, after having used the aircraft for 34 years. The flight squadron is set to replace its legacy Hornets with more advanced F-18 Super Hornets.

The Blue Angels took their final flight in their legacy F-18 hornets on Wednesday over Pensacola Beach, Fla. In a Friday Facebook post, the Navy demonstration squadron wrote, “Legacy sundown at sunset. Check out this video from the #4 spot on Wednesday as we conducted our final ‘Legacy’ Hornet flight over Pensacola Beach. The final flight of the ‘Legacy; Hornet officially marked our transition to the F/A-18 Super Hornet! #BlueAngels #USNavy #USMC.”

The Blue Angels have flown the legacy model Hornets for 34 years.

“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,” Cmdr. Brian Kesselring, the Blue Angels’ commanding officer and flight leader, said in a statement to Military.com. “We deeply appreciate the expertise and operational knowledge Blue Angels past and present have brought to the team, and we look forward to enhancing our operations as we fully transition to flying the Super Hornet.”

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On Tuesday, the Blue Angels tweeted, “As we prepare to officially transition to the F/A-18 Super Hornet tomorrow, we reflect on 34 years of Blue Angels who have flown, maintained and supported the F/A-18 ‘Legacy’ Hornets across the United States. We take with us lessons learned, camaraderie and fond memories.”

“Today we had the unique opportunity to capture both airframes over our home station of Pensacola, Florida marking the passing of one ‘Legacy’ to another,” the Blue Angels added. “Tag us in your favorite Blue Angels ‘Legacy’ Hornet photos!#BlueAngels #USNavy #USMC.”

Another video showed a compilation of various views of Wednesday’s final flight for the legacy Hornets.

On Wednesday the Blue Angels tweeted, “Today we conducted our final flight on the F/A-18 A/B/C/D ‘Legacy’ Hornets marking the official transition of the Blue Angels to the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet platform. #BlueAngels #USNavy #USMC.”

In an interview produced by Boeing, Capt. Eric C. Doyle, the director of the Blue Angels Super Hornet Transition Team said, “It’s exciting just to know that the Blue Angels are going to be around for many years to come.”

“We’ve had a great long stretch with the F/A-18 and it’s great that we’re going to stick in it for a little bit longer,” Doyle added.

According to The National Interest, the Super Hornet is about 20 percent larger, carries 33 percent more internal fuel, and has a 41 percent increased range over the legacy variant.