UPDATE 17:50: The tiger has taken off and is on its way.
UPDATE 16:00: We’ve received reports that the 2OCU aircraft is still yet to take off from Amberley (as at 4pm AEST). We still intend to fly the jet home to Williamtown today, although it may be later in the evening than hoped. We sincerely apologise to all our fans and plane spotters for the delays. The tiger Hornet is reluctant to return from holidays it seems, but will be in the air as soon as possible.
UPDATE 15:00: the 2OCU aircraft is scheduled to depart Amberley at 3:30pm (AEST). That should put it along the New South Wales coast from approximately 4.40pm (AEDT), arriving at Williamtown by around 5.30-5.45pm.
UPDATE 12:00: this flight was rescheduled for Thursday 10 January and has now been delayed. We're experiencing a few issues getting the Hornet ready for its flight home. Aircraft technicians are working hard, but its departure from Amberley will be delayed to later this afternoon. We will advise once timings are finalised. Be sure to refresh this page for the latest.
Residents of the New South Wales coast are encouraged to look to the sky on Thursday 10 January from approximately 1.15pm to view a distinctively painted Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18B Classic Hornet.
The jet is enroute to its home base at Williamtown in New South Wales with a brand new paint job.
The aircraft will depart RAAF Base Amberley at approximately 12:00pm AEST (1:00pm AEDT) and fly down the New South Wales coast passing key local areas such as Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour, Forster, Nelson Bay and Newcastle before landing at RAAF Base Williamtown at around 2:00pm AEDT.
The distinctive paintwork design features black on orange tiger stripes along the dorsal spine of the aircraft and on the inside of the vertical fins. The outside of the fins feature the No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit (2OCU) tiger No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit (2OCU) head on a black background.
The aircraft is painted in distinctive colours to celebrate the unit’s final year of Classic Hornet operations, primarily training pilots to fly the F/A-18A/B aircraft.
In December 2019, the final course of 2OCU pilots trained to fly F/A-18 Classic Hornets will graduate. In 2020, the next group of pilots to graduate from 2OCU as fighter pilots will do so on the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter.