Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ambassador Oreck with the Finish Flyboys on an F18

The US Ambassador to Finland, Bruce Oreck recently got an invitation from the Finish Air Force to fly on its F18 aircraft and has the photos to show for it; more here and here.

 Ambassador Oreck with Major General Lindberg before takeoff
Photo from Ambassador's Journal


He also blogged about it in the Ambassador’s Journal: Flying with the Finnish Air Force:
Several months ago I mentioned that I would love to have to opportunity to fly in one of the Finnish Air Force’s F-18D Hornet aircraft. Soon after that I received an invitation from Major General Jarmo Lindberg, the Commander of the Finnish Air Force, to come to Kuopio and participate in an orientation flight.
After a busy morning of preparation, we were at last off to the flight line.  Strapping into one of these aircraft was a challenge for me, but it wasn’t too long before the pilots started the aircraft engines and repositioned for takeoff.  After one last sweep by the snow removal equipment, four F-18s launched into cold skies with a thin cloud deck about 5,000 feet above the ground.  While airborne, the aircraft maneuvered and simulated an air policing exercise … the primary day-to-day mission of the Karelian Air Command

I added some active links added above. Unfortunately, I know nada about aircraft.  A quick look around on the web indicates that the F-18 Hornet is a supersonic, all-weather carrier-capable multirole fighter jet, designed to attack both ground and aerial targets. If you have seen the Blue Angels, you have seen this gal in the sky.

According to Wikipedia the Finnish Air Force uses F/A-18C/D Hornets, with a Finland-specific mid-life update. The first 7 Hornets (D-models) were produced by McDonnell Douglas.[46] The 57 single-seat F-18C model units were assembled by Patria in Finland. A damaged F-18C was rebuilt into a F-18D. In order to do so, a forward section of a Canadian CF-18B was purchased and incorporated into the jet.[27] However, the modified plane crashed during a test flight in January 2010.[28]

After that January crash, YLE.fin reported this:  “The new aircraft was pieced together by the Finnish defence contractor Patria. The high-tech fighters are very expensive - the reassembly job alone cost about 15 million euros. It was dubbed the Frankenplane, according to a classic character from horror literature, who was likewise assembled from spare parts. With the crash in Juupajoki the Frankenplane also goes down in aviation history as a rare veteran of in-flight mishaps.”

Well, that's interesting.   

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