JohnJ
Topic Author
Posts: 1366
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2000 5:01 am

U.S.S. Ronald Reagan - F-18 On Deck

Sat May 04, 2013 4:22 pm

I was in San Diego this week and was treated to seeing three carriers in port for at least part of my visit - Stennis, Reagan and Vinson. "Carrier Row" is clearly visible from the tourist areas across the bay, and I was surprised to see the Reagan had an F/A-18 on deck. Upon checking my pictures, I'm a little confused.

First, why would there be an aircraft on deck while in port? Doesn't the air wing normally fly off before coming into home port?

Second, although the image quality is poor due to the distance from which I was shooting, this doesn't look to match the markings of any F/A-18 squadron in CVW-14. In fact, it almost looks like a preserved aircraft with panels hanging open - are the engines even still intact?

Anyone have any idea the story behind this aircraft?

http://airshots.homestead.com/files/rr_f18.jpg
 
studedave
Posts: 463
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2006 4:21 am

RE: U.S.S. Ronald Reagan - F-18 On Deck

Sat May 04, 2013 4:31 pm

Quoting JohnJ (Thread starter):
First, why would there be an aircraft on deck while in port? Doesn't the air wing normally fly off before coming into home port?
Second, although the image quality is poor due to the distance from which I was shooting, this doesn't look to match the markings of any F/A-18 squadron in CVW-14. In fact, it almost looks like a preserved aircraft with panels hanging open - are the engines even still intact?
Anyone have any idea the story behind this aircraft?

Just about every Carrier in the Fleet has a bird onboard at sometime or another used solely for training the yellow and blue shirts. The bird is basically a hulk that is not a flier and does not belong to the airwing. If you go across the bay to NB San Diego you might also see a hulk of some sort on one or more of the Gators as well.



StudeDave
Classic planes, Classic trains, and Studebakers~~ what else is there???
 
KRIC777
Posts: 264
Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2002 6:25 am

RE: U.S.S. Ronald Reagan - F-18 On Deck

Sun May 05, 2013 7:01 pm

With a red maple leaf of the tail, it would look like a late-nineties Air Canada CF-18  
 
Spacepope
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RE: U.S.S. Ronald Reagan - F-18 On Deck

Sun May 05, 2013 7:30 pm

It's missing the little bumps behind the cockpit, so it appears to be an -A model. Does the navy refer to these as "ground instructional airframes" too?
The last of the famous international playboys
 
Legs
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RE: U.S.S. Ronald Reagan - F-18 On Deck

Sun May 05, 2013 8:15 pm

Quoting StudeDave (Reply 1):
used solely for training the yellow and blue shirts

The fact that airframe on the deck has no engines fitted would seem to back that up.
 
studedave
Posts: 463
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2006 4:21 am

RE: U.S.S. Ronald Reagan - F-18 On Deck

Sun May 05, 2013 8:31 pm

Quoting legs (Reply 4):
The fact that airframe on the deck has no engines fitted would seem to back that up.

The fact that I have "been there and done that" on about eight different flight decks also helps...


The birds being used for this purpose are usually in very sad shape, and will never take flight again.
I have seen Harriers, Tomcats, Intruders, and even Phantoms being used as deck trainers.
Note the '76' on the nose and tail. I'll bet that the Captain's name is on it too.
Most of the time the ships crew dresses 'their' bird up a bit-
but many of the birds I saw during my 20 years were painted much more then this one is.




StudeDave
Classic planes, Classic trains, and Studebakers~~ what else is there???
 
Eagleboy
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RE: U.S.S. Ronald Reagan - F-18 On Deck

Sun May 05, 2013 10:16 pm

On a similar note I once read that the RAF still has a few Jaguars in use as ground instruction units. Too expensive to be using an actual operational airframe to get pushed around a taxiway.

Interesting snap from the OP.
 
JohnJ
Topic Author
Posts: 1366
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2000 5:01 am

RE: U.S.S. Ronald Reagan - F-18 On Deck

Mon May 06, 2013 1:46 am

Thanks for the comments and info, especially StudeDave. Very interesting indeed. I got some great shots this day, Vinson got underway with helo circling shortly after I took this picture and Reagan left a few hours later. Turns out seeing Stennis was lucky; she was on her way back to Bremerton after a major deployment. Vinson and Reagan are the only two San Diego-based carriers.

I'm a tail code geek, and this trip finally solved for me the question of why "NA" tail codes are showing up in photos. CVW-17 ( now assigned to Vinson) carried the "AA" tail code but recently transitioned to the west coast, hence the new "NA" code. To my knowledge, that's the first time that code has been used, even when there used to be many more air wings.

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