Legacy Hornet makes final US Navy flight

The US Navy's final F/A-18C Hornet has officially made its last active-duty flight for the service, taking place at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana on October 2.

The Boeing F/A-18C Hornet (BuNo: 163506 'AD-300'), was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 106 (VFA-106) 'Gladiators,' based from NAS Oceana, Virginia. The aircraft was inducted into US Navy service in October 1988 and was piloted for the last time by LT. Andrew Jalali, who was born in the same year. The 'Gladiators' have operated the legacy-type Hornet for over 30 years. 

 

US Navy F/A-18C Hornet Last Flight
LT. Andrew Jalali prepares for the official final active-duty flight of the last Navy F/A-18C Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 'Gladiators' at NAS Oceana on October 2. U.S. Navy - Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nikita Custer.

 

The flight, which lasted for one-and-a-half hours, saw the F/A-18C form up with three twin-seat Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets. After it landed it was removed from the service's inventory and will now be stripped of usable parts and scrapped.

"Today marked the final United States Navy F/A-18C Operational Hornet flight... 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 Commodore, Commander Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic, CPT Brian Becker.

 

F/A-18C
The last Navy F/A-18C Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 'Gladiators' made its official final active-duty flight at NAS Oceana on October 2. U.S. Navy - Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nikita Custer

 

Over the last year, VFA-106 has transferred more than 50 F/A-18C/D Hornets to various US Marine Corps (USMC) and US Navy Reserve commands, along with being preserved in storage just in case they're needed for future use. The legacy F/A-18C/D has been replaced fleet-wide by the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.