ANZAC Hornet & Friends

Military commemorative schemes have become relatively common, usually well done and telling a worthwhile story. Today’s is an ANZAC special.

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The Royal Australian Air Force Hornet above was seen at the Omaka Classic Fighters airshow near Blenheim, New Zealand this Easter weekend just gone. Provided by the Australian Defence Force for the show, it was a trans-Tasman story, being flown by New Zealand-born Wing Commander Jason Easthope, RAAF, who had previously flown Douglas A-4 Skyhawks for the Royal New Zealand Air Force and commanded 2 Squadron RNZAF before the Skyhawk squadrons were disbanded. The remarkable 2015 scheme (overlaying the dull standard modern military grey) is of course an Australian Aboriginal artwork. The RAAF base Williamtown, in New South Wales is on Worimi land, and the scheme, by design studio Balarinji, depicts Kilyarr Kilyarr, the Wedgetail Eagle.

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In 2012, the Royal Canadian Air Force’s display Hornet was ‘The True North Strong & Free’, a commemorative Canadian scheme, covered in snowflakes, each ‘flake’ representing one of Canada’s provinces.

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Back to the original user, the US Navy, the centenary of that American service’s first flight prompted the largest military commemorative aircraft scheme effort to date, with numerous US Naval aircraft repainted into previous type’s schemes, including this Hornet in a late World War Two three-colour carrier scheme.

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James Kightly, Vintage Aero Writer.

Wing Commander Easthope’s details via Gavin Conroy. USN Scheme image from here.

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