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U.S. Navy’s Legacy Hornets Retire With A Sundown Celebration

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On Friday February 1, 2019 a rare sundown had occurred at 1303 hours at the U.S. Navy’s East Coast Master Jet Base, Naval Air Station Oceana. This sundown had not come early because this was for the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18C ‘Legacy’ Hornet and this event was over 40 years in the making. As of this day, no longer will the Navy deploy or use this aircraft in combat. The ‘Legacy’ Hornet will remain in U.S. Naval service with one reserve VFA squadron, one Naval Reserve Fighter Composite Squadron (VFC-12), the Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron (the Blue Angels) and the Naval Aviation Warfighting Developmental Center, but its days of front line service with the U.S. Navy have now passed.

The ‘Legacy’ Hornet sundown occurred as the Commanding Officer of Strike Fighter Squadron Three Four (VFA-34) the ‘Blue Blasters’, U.S. Navy Commander Will ‘Fathead’ Mathis shut the engines down on F/A-18C , MODEX 434 / Buno 165399 for the final time.

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Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler Sunset and VMAQ-2 Deactivation

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On Friday, March 8th, 2019, the United States Marine Corps said farewell to the venerable Grumman EA-6B Prowler and the last squadron to fly it, VMAQ-2, ‘The Death Jesters”. This was truly an end of two eras.

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T-6/SNJ/Harvard Scrapbook

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The North American Aviation T-6 Texan family encompasses dozens of variants and sub-variants. The initial prototype was known as the NA-16, which first flew in 1935. This aircraft was modified to answer a call for an advanced training aircraft for the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1937. The BC (Basic Combat) and BT (Basic Trainer) series were merged into the AT (Advanced Trainer) designation as World War II became a reality.

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Warbirds Over Wanaka – 1998

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Twenty-plus years have flown by since my first and only visit (thus far) to New Zealand. My main purpose of the trip was to see the highly anticipated Polikarpov fighters, the I-153 and I-16 World War II era planes that the Alpine Fighter Collection had rebuilt in Russian factories during the mid-1990s. The show, during the Easter Weekend of 1998, would present five of the I-16 monoplanes and a sole I-153 biplane. Additionally, many more New Zealand warbirds would take to the skies, giving me a chance to see a whole field of aircraft that I'd never seen before.

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