Hornet at 50


Founding Member
Some 50 years ago today: The first Northrop YF-17 Cobra prototype made its first flight on 9 June 1974, with Northrop’s Chief Test Pilot, Henry “Hank” Chouteau, at the controls. The flight ran 61 minutes, reaching an altitude of 18,000 feet, and clocked a maximum speed of 610 miles per hour in the clear skies above Edwards AFB.

The actual Hornet first flight was in 1978, the YF-17 looks like an 18, but in looks only.
The irony of the Hornet is that Northrop was a primary contractor that built the largest part of the airframe for McDonnell Douglas.
When I was active duty, I re-enlisted to stay with the Hornet. I've done extensive work at the "I" level, and more "O" level work than my MOS ever thought possible, especially since I was a flight control mechanic, a decidedly NON "O" level MOS.
The problem with the multi-role aircraft type is that it's not good at anything. It was proven that the A7 was a more accurate ordnance delivery platform, and it goes without saying that the Intruder was as well.
I'm not even going to get into the soup sandwich that the Super Hornet is. But suffice to say it is not the solution to the problem it was supposed to solve, but the Navy was too far into it fiscally to back out, see also the MV-22.........
But I digress, the legacy Hornet was a great bird, for the crew, and the maintainer, and aside from a few TMS quirks it stood out from its competition.
I miss working on legacy models Bugs....