F/A-18 Hornet: 20th Anniversary of first Flight

On the Big Screen

The exciting F/A-18 doesn't suffer from stage fright. The Hornet is the star of the OmnimaxTM film "The Magic of Flight," which thrills audiences by putting them in the cockpit along with the Blue Angels. Quickly moving through aviation"s history from its beginning with the Wright Brothers in 1903, "The Magic of Flight" then uses special camera mounts to put viewers in the cockpit as Blue Angel pilots put the Hornet through its paces.

The Hornet also starred with actor Will Smith in "Independence Day," as he battled the alien fleet. The movie featured the F/A-18 squadrons at El Toro and Miramar bases in California, both territory of the 3rd Marine Corps Aircraft Wing.

Sean Connery plays the only man who ever escaped from Alcatraz in "The Rock", and he and Nicolas Cage may be the two-legged heroes of the film; but it's the Hornet that saves the day. And in the Harrison Ford film "Clear and Present Danger", it's an F/A-18 that fires the missile to take out the druglord's estate.

The Hornet almost made an unintended appearance in the movie "Air Force One," also starring Harrison Ford According to the Internet Movie Database, two F/A-18 Hornets flew by during filming and radioed in a report that they had seen bullet holes in Air Force One. (They were actually decals.) The air traffic controller in Los Angeles, who knew about the filming, was able to set them straight. Sidenote: The escort planes in the film are F-15 Eagles.

In summer 1998, the Hornet became a movie hero again. This time, it battled the monstrous star of the remade "Godzilla," delivering a deadly sting of Harpoon missiles. No real aircraft were actually used in the film, which relied on Hollywood-enhanced computer animation.