U.S. Navy Blue Angels F-18 Hornet Flies into the San Diego Air & Space Museum

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Air & Space Museum is offering a very special and rare peek into the Blue Angels 2009 season as they unveil their newest addition, Blue Angel aircraft #1. The Museum's new exhibit highlights the Hornet, military flight demonstration squadrons, and military services.

The Commanding Officer and current "Boss" of the team, Commander Greg McWherter, will be available to discuss the Blue Angels' upcoming season. Pilots 2, 3, 4 and 8 will be accompanying the "Boss" and also available for media interviews. This will be the only opportunity for San Diego media to talk personally to the team in 2009, until they return to fly at MCAS Miramar in October.

"This is the most significant new aircraft for San Diego in over 10 years and is a very special addition for our Navy and Marine Corps town," says Jim Kidrick, President and CEO of the Museum.

The Museum's F/A18 Hornet was once flown by the famed Blue Angels, the Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron. The aircraft arrived last Friday fresh from its new paint job, courtesy of Boeing, manufacturer of the Hornet and Leading Edge, an aircraft painting company in Victorville, CA.

The team, known as the Blue Angels, gave their first demonstration in June of 1946 in Jacksonville flying the Grumman F6F Hellcat. In subsequent years, the team flew many different aircraft, including the F9F-2 Panther, the F-4J Phantom II and the A-4F Skyhawk II. In 1986 the Blue Angels completed their 40th anniversary by unveiling their present aircraft, the powerful and aerodynamic McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. The Hornet (now produced by Boeing) is a multirole fighter, designed to attack both ground and aerial targets and has a maximum speed of mach 1.8 (1,190 mph). The Blues are based out of NAS Pensacola and have winter training in NAF El Centro in California. Currently, the Blues' 6 demonstration pilots fly in 70 shows at 34 locations throughout the United States each year. The Blue Angels will begin their 2009 season on March 14 at the Naval Air Facility in El Centro, CA and will be performing in our area at MCAS Miramar during Fleet Week on October 2-4.

The San Diego Air & Space Museum has a close connection to the Blues, as two former Museum Directors, Richard "Zeke" Cormier and Ed McKellar, and former Board Member, Pat Moneymaker, were members of the team.

For more information visit www.sandiegoairandspace.org.