The first RAAF F/A-18 Hornet I saw ‘in the flesh’ was in 1988 at RAAF Base Richmond for the Bicentennial Airshow (Australia’s 200th Birthday celebrations since British settlement).
There was aircraft on static display, and also air display, especially an air display featuring the new Hornet and the very soon to completely retire Mirage III. It was a great Airshow, best I’ve ever seen.
Below is a brief video from the Airshow featuring the Hornet and Mirage III.
Couple of points to note, one of the pilots in the video, Flt Lt Mel Hupfeld, is now Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, Chief of Air Force (CAF) for the RAAF.
It’s also interesting to note that 50 survivors of the retired RAAF Mirage III were sold in 1990, and have gone on to another life with the Pakistan Air Force, many reportedly upgraded and still flying today, those aircraft are now 50+ years old.
And today the Classic Hornet is just about to leave service by the end of the year and is progressively being replaced by a growing fleet of F-35A.
And as we know, some of those Classic Hornets are about to re-enter service for their ‘second’ operational life too, will they make it to 50?