A Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet jet is closing in on its new home at Seattle’s Museum of Flight – without flying a single mile.
Instead, the partially disassembled jet has been riding on top of a flatbed truck during a weeklong road trip that started in Pensacola, Fla., where the Blue Angels aerobatics team has its home base.
“The going has been a little slow through the South due to the tragic flooding in Louisiana, not to mention rains along the way,” museum spokesman Ted Huetter told GeekWire in an email.
The truck passed through Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and Oregon over the weekend, and it’s expected to spend tonight in Ellensburg, Wash.
Delivery to the Seattle museum should happen somewhere around 9 to 10 a.m. Tuesday, said Erika Callahan, the museum’s vice president of marketing.
The jet is being lent on a long-term basis to the Museum of Flight by the National Naval Aviation Museum, thanks in part to the team’s transition to Super Hornet planes.
Once the plane is reassembled – a task that includes putting the wings back on – the Hornet is due to take its place in the museum’s recently opened Aviation Gallery, near an older Blue Angels Skyhawk jet that’s already on display.
The Hornet went into service for the U.S. Navy in 1986, and took part in Operation Desert Storm and other international air campaigns. It was converted for the Blue Angels’ use in 2004 and flew in air shows until this year.
Update for 5:55 p.m. PT Aug. 22: Callahan says the plan is for the truck to head westward from Ellensburg on Interstate 90 early Tuesday, switch over to Interstate 405 going south from Bellevue, get onto Interstate 5 at Tukwila and then head north toward the Museum of Flight. The truck will receive a police escort starting at Exit 158 (Boeing Access Road). Arrival at the museum is expected around 9:30 to 10 a.m. Tuesday, and the public is welcome to be on hand, Callahan says.
Correction for 8:15 a.m. PT Aug. 23: I’ve corrected Callahan’s job title to make clear she’s in charge of marketing, not development.