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Blue Angels jet raised
A Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet jet is raised up from a flatbed truck using a crane at the Museum of Flight. (GeekWire photo by Alan Boyle)

The latest addition to the Museum of Flight’s airplane collection, a Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet jet, landed in Seattle today with the aid of a three-story-high crane.

The No. 2 jet, which is on permanent loan from the National Naval Air Museum in Pensacola, Fla., didn’t make the trip the way it did last year, by air. Instead, it was driven to Jet City on the back of a flatbed truck, over the course of six days.

The truck driver, Buddy Chapman of Blossom, Texas, said the sight caused a traffic jam wherever he stopped.

“You’d stop in the littlest town in Wyoming, and you wouldn’t be there but five minutes and you’d have 30 people around it,” he told GeekWire.

While aviation buffs and their kids watched, the truck pulled into a museum parking lot behind the Charles Simonyi Space Gallery, accompanied by a police escort. Sections of the detached wings were offloaded using a forklift, and then the giant crane pulled in to lift the jet off the back of a truck and set it back down.

Doug King, the museum’s president and CEO, noted that the newly acquired Hornet has been flying for 30 years, including patrols over Iraq for Operation Desert Storm in 1990 and over Somalia for Operation Restore Hope in 1992-1993.

It was flown by the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels aerobatics team from 2004 until last year. Lt. Matt Suyderhoud piloted it during last year’s Seafair festival in Seattle. The jet became available for museum display due to the Blue Angels’ transition from the older Hornet models to the newer Super Hornets.

“Seattle people love the Blue Angels,” King said. “It’s really neat to have our own.”

Once the wings are reassembled, the Museum of Flight’s Hornet will be moved into the museum’s recently opened Aviation Pavilion, near an older Blue Angels A-4F Skyhawk II jet that’s already on display.

Check out these scenes from today’s arrival, plus a few tweets for the road:

Cameron Nichols-Rage and Blue Angels
Five-year-old Cameron Nichols-Rage of Burien, Wash., was among the airplane fans who turned out to greet the Blue Angels jet. He’s holding a toy model of the jet. (GeekWire photo by Alan Boyle)
"Superfan" Ken Yohe decorated his Ford Mustang sports car with a Blue Angels motif for Seattle's Seafair festival, and for the jet's arrival. (GeekWire photo by Alan Boyle)
“Superfan” Ken Yohe decorated his Ford Mustang sports car with a Blue Angels motif for Seattle’s Seafair festival, and for the jet’s arrival. (GeekWire photo by Alan Boyle)
Buddy Chapman
Buddy Chapman drove the truck that brought the jet to Seattle. “I’ve done several of these,” he says. (GeekWire photo by Alan Boyle)
Unloading Blue Angels wing
Workers unload a section of a wing for the Blue Angels jet in the background. (GeekWire photo by Alan Boyle)
Blue Angels jet on truck
Some parts of the jet, such as the engines and the pilot’s seat, have yet to arrive but will be installed later. (GeekWire photo by Alan Boyle)
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