The US Navy's Blue Angels flew into Fort Worth last weekend in their F/A-18 Hornet's for the Naval Air Station Air Power Expo. I had not seen the Blue Angels since 1985 when "Unka" John and I were at an air show in Schenectady, NY. I assume they have upgraded hardware since then. Note that the Hornet is powered by twin turbofan jet engines, built by some of my fine co-workers at General Electric.
The F/A-18 first flew in 1978 and is used primarily for attacking ground targets and reconnaissance. It can fly at Mach 1.7 (1,200 MPH) although while in Fort Worth it did not break the sound barrier. I remember hearing the RAF Phantoms break the sound barrier once when staying with Fidelma in Norfolk. It is one of the coolest sounds you can hear - like a whip cracking.
The Hornets cost $18 million each, I would not like to be the pilot that cracks one up*. The Blue Angels show was great, with low-level passes, daring formations - the jets sometimes just inches apart. If I was 18 years old I would be looking for the recruiting officer...
* The phrase "bought the farm" comes from the air force. If a pilot crashes and destroys crops, cows (and plane and self) and farmer gets a payoff, pilot is deemed to have bought the farm... probably with his life.
My photo's were poor - here is an official Blue Angels one.