Leading Edge and Boeing Bring 'Blue Angel' to San Diego Air & Space Museum

Company repaints historic F/A-18 after 2,000 mile road trip from Florida to California.


SANTA ANA, CA — Leading Edge Aviation Services (LEAS), the largest commercial aircraft painting company in the world, has teamed up with the Boeing Company to bring a historic, Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet to the San Diego Air and Space Museum where it is now on public display. The aircraft, which thrilled spectators for nearly 30 years, has been meticulously repainted after its 2,000-mile journey by truck from "The Blues" training facility in Pensacola, FL, to its new home in San Diego, CA.

"We've done a lot of specialty work in the past, so when Boeing contacted us to help restore this iconic aircraft, we were more than happy to donate our services," says Mike Manclark, CEO, Leading Edge. "This is an aircraft that's represented America for decades, so to play a part in bringing it back to life for the San Diego Air & Space museum is a real honor. And with its fresh new paint job, we're sure it will continue to dazzle aviation enthusiasts for generations to come."

Formed in 1946, "The Blues" are recognized as the oldest flying aerobatic team in existence, having performed for more than 427 million spectators worldwide. Originally flying WWII fighters, the squadron changed aircraft many times, until finally adopting the current F/A-18 Hornet in 1986. Each F/A-18 is a former fleet aircraft that are nearly combat-ready; able to be repainted and readied for combat service in 72 hours.

"We're thrilled to add this exciting showpiece to our growing exhibit," says Jim Kidrick, President and CEO, San Diego Air & Space Museum. "It took a lot of time, effort, and commitment to refurbish this jet after trucking it coast-to-coast, but the results were well worth it. We extend our deepest thanks to Boeing, the Hornet Industry team, and Leading Edge for their unequalled commitment to excellence, and for making this moment possible."

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