F/A-18A Hornet BuNo161967


Team Kingsville News February 26, 2010 THE FLYING K

Aircraft 161967 touches down on the NAS Kingsville flightline Feb. 22, marking the final flight for the aircraft. The former Blue Angel will now become a permanent display aircraft at NAS Kingsville. See more photos of the arrival on page 12. (Photo by Jon Gagné, NASK Public Affairs).

A member of the Field Support team directs NAS Kingsville's newest aircraft on the tarmac behind Air Operations. (Photo by Fifi Kieschnick).

Field Support personnel wore bright yellow shirts for the arrival of Blue Angel One. From left are ABH2 (AW) Emilio Ortiz, ABH2 (AW) Jesus Martinez, ABH3 (AW)

Luis Aguilar, and civilian contractor Noel Flores. Below, Capt. Phil Waddingham poses for a photo with Dr. Steve Tallant of TAMUK, pilot Lt. Col Len Anderson, and Dick Messbarger, Kingsville EDC director. Photos by AC3 Kiana Kahlbaum.


Blue Angel F/A 18 makes final flight; arrives at new home at NAS Kingsville

By Fifi Kieschnick, NASK Public Affairs

A Blue Angel F/A-18 made her final flight on active duty, Feb. 22, with Marine Corps Lt. Col. Len Anderson at the controls. The F/A 18 came from the north, banked, and took a final flight over the air station prior to landing and taxiing to the Air Operations tarmac.

Blue Angel 161967 (bureau number), has been part of the Blue Angels since November 2002. Prior to that, the aircraft served as an active jet in the fleet. It has flown in more than 200 air shows over the past 7 years. Anderson, who is a former Blue Angel pilot himself and was winged here 14 years ago, had mixed emotions about piloting this historic journey and was glad to have the opportunity to fly the jet.

"It's bittersweet," Anderson said of the flight. "There were no problems. It was a great flight, but it's sad knowing this was the final flight."

Once the jet's engine is removed, she will be placed at the front entrance of the air station, welcoming all visitors to the base --starting with the tens of thousands of visitors expected to attend the 2010 air show.

The Blue Angels represent the pinnacle of precision flying and serve as ambassadors for the U.S. Navy. This F/A-18A Hornet was flown by Blue Angel #1 Cmdr. Kevin Mannix during the 2008 Kingsville air show and will be on permanent loan to the base from the National Museum of Naval Aviation.

"We're excited to be adding an F/A 18 Hornet to our list of static display aircraft," said Capt. Phil Waddingham. "After the air show, this Blue Angel jet will serve as the premier aircraft in our new Esplanade Air Park that all visitors will see as they drive onto the base. It's a great addition to the 'Saddle of Naval Aviation.'"