Blue Angel #7, one of the team's two seat jets that carries out logistical and fill-in duties as a mechanical spare for the demo team, had a little incident while landing in Brunswick today. The jet hit a patch of ice and did a beautiful pirouette into the grass near the end of runway.
The Hornet is built for operating in austere conditions, but anti-skid systems can only do so much if heavy ice covers the runway's surface. This is something our Canadian Hornet flying friends know all too well.
Although it is never a good thing when a $30M tactical fighter leaves a prepared operating surface, in this case no harm was done. U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Corrie Mays, one of the F/A-18's crew, told the Portland Press Herald:
"It's nothing significant. We just slipped off the runway a little bit down there. We are getting pulled out now. The jet is in perfectly good condition... With a small amount of runway left when we started experiencing that, we didn't have the option of take-off either. So our training kicked in at that point... We did the best we could. And the jet is safe and we are safe, so it worked out."
The jet landed in New Brunswick as part of a regular logistics and planning trip for September's Great State of Maine Air Show. Blue Angel #7 will make the same trip to almost every show locale of its upcoming 2015 season, long in advance of the Blues Actually showing up for their performance.
The Hornet was being towed out the of grass and the runway is being deiced in preparation for its departure. Like they say, any landing you can walk away from is a good one.
Tyler Rogoway is a defense journalist and photographer who maintains the website Foxtrot Alpha for Jalopnik.com You can reach Tyler with story ideas or direct comments regarding this or any other defense topic via the email address Tyler@Jalopnik.com