Wednesday-Sunday 10am to 4pm

Back to all Aircraft

F/A-18A Hornet

  • Country of origin:

    United States

  • Manufacturer:


  • Type:

    Multirole fighter

The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet was designed in the 1970s to be a highly versatile aircraft due to its avionics, cockpit displays, and excellent aerodynamic characteristics, with the ability to carry a wide variety of weapons.  The aircraft can perform fighter escort, fleet air defense, suppression of enemy air defenses, air interdiction, close air support, and aerial reconnaissance.  Its versatility and reliability have proven it to be a valuable carrier asset.  The Hornet first saw combat action during the 1986 United States bombing of Libya and subsequently participated in the 1991 Gulf War and 2003 Iraq War.  The F/A-18 Hornet served as the baseline for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, its larger, evolutionary redesign, which replaced both the older Hornet and the F-14 Tomcat in the U.S. Navy.

F/A-18A BuNo 163152 was first delivered in 1987 to VFA-161 “The Chargers”.  It also served with VFA-125 the “Rough Raiders” in 1988, VMFA-531 the “Grey Ghosts” in 1989, VMFA-314 ”The Black Knights” from 1990-1995 where it also participated in Operation Desert Storm, and finally VMFAT-101 from 1996 to 2005 at MCAS Miramar.  On April 4, 2005, this aircraft was struck from the inventory and towed to the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum where it remained on display until March 2022 when it was transferred to its new home at the Pacific Coast Air Museum.  This aircraft is on loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum at Pensacola, Florida.

Type:  All-weather, carrier-capable, multirole combat aircraft

Crew:  1

Powerplant:  Two General Electric F404-GE-402 afterburning  turbofan engines w/ 11,000 lb of thrust

Dimensions:  Wingspan – 40 ft 4 in w/ AIM-9 Sidewinders on wingtip LAU-7 launchers

                       Length – 56 ft 1 in

                       Height – 15 ft 5 in

Weights:  Empty – 23,000 lbs

                Maximum Takeoff Weight – 51,900 lbs

Performance:  Maximum Speed – Mach 1.8 (1,381.08 mph)

                        Initial climb rate –  50,000 ft/min

                        Range – 1,253 mi

Armament:  Fixed: One 20 mm (0.787 in) M61A1 Vulcan nose

                               mounted 6-barrel rotary cannon, 578 rounds


The Name on the Plane

 Frank E. Petersen Jr. (March 2, 1932 – August 25, 2015) was a United States Marine Corps lieutenant general.  He was the first African-American Marine Corps aviator and the first African-American Marine Corps general.  Petersen enlisted in the U.S. Navy in June 1950 as a seaman apprentice and served as an electronics technician. When Petersen aced the Navy’s entrance exam, the recruiter told him he would make a “great steward”.  However, being

 motivated by the recent Korean War combat death of the Navy’s first black aviator Jesse L. Brown in December, Petersen vowed to be a combat pilot.  He flew over 350 combat missions during the Korean War and the Vietnam War and had over 4,000 hours in various fighter/attack aircraft.  

He held command positions at all levels of Marine Corps aviation, commanding a Marine Fighter Squadron, a Marine Aircraft Group, and a Marine Aircraft Wing.  He was also the first African-American to command a fighter squadron (VMFA-314), a fighter air group, an air wing, and a major base.  On February 23, 1979, he was promoted to Brigadier General, becoming the first African-American general in the Marine Corps.  Petersen retired from the Marine Corps in 1988 after 38 years of service and was presented the Distinguished Service Medal for exceptionally meritorious service.  In 2010, President Obama appointed Petersen to the Board of Visitors to the United States Naval Academy.  On November 9, 2016, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus officially announced that an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer would be named in honor of Petersen.  The USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. was commissioned  on May 14, 2022, in Charleston, South Carolina.


Previous Life:

Before arriving at the Pacific Coast Air Museum, Hornet 163152 spent almost 17 years as a part of the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum.  During its time the aircraft was meticulously restored and repainted by hand by a wonderful group of volunteers.  It took them a total of six months to complete the project and the finished product looked absolutely stunning.  PCAM would like to acknowledge those volunteers for their hard work and tireless efforts to bring this beauty back to life!


VMFAT-101 Heritage Restoration Project

Completed:  11 SEP 2019
CO:  Col. Acosta
SgtMaj:  SgtMaj. Hernandez
AMO:  Maj. James
Design Concept:  Kara Acosta
Project Manager:  Capt. Harp
Project Supervisor:  Cpl. Sarratt C L Morris, Chapel, TN


Maj. Wavers
Capt. Lanfranki
Capt. Duden
Capt. Waggoner
Capt. Occhipinti
1stLt. McDaniel
1stLt. McDonald
1stLt. Allender
1stLt. Romano
1stLt. Graham
1stLt. Byal
1stLt. Fronczek
1stLt. Horn
1stLt. Bursaw
1stLt. Jernigan
SSgt. Scott
Cpl. Dyer
Cpl. Starkey
LCpl. Campbell
LCpl. Silvia
LCpl. Walker
LCpl. Rowell
LCpl. Greene
LCpl. Prince
LCpl. Pruitt
LCpl. Burt
LCpl. Baum
PFC. Brown
PFC. Ziska
Pvt. King

© Copyright 1996 – 2020 Pacific Coast Air Museum 501(c)(3) non-profit. All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy / Sitemap / Site Credits