Santa Rosa flight aficionados get peek inside ‘Top Gun’ fighter jet

Dozens of fighter pilot wannabes on Saturday flocked to the Pacific Coast Air Museum’s Open Cockpit Weekend, just times ahead of the debut of the extensive-awaited, oft-delayed “Top Gun” sequel.

The star attraction of the event, which continues 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, was a peek within an F/A-18 “Legacy” Hornet that the Santa Rosa museum not long ago obtained, moved and restored. The aircraft is on personal loan from the Countrywide Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida, through Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.

“It was great,” claimed Travis Younger, 12, of Windsor, who explained he’d like to turn out to be a pilot one day. “I’ve been in (planes) in advance of, but their cockpits weren’t open.”

The attraction of fighter jets appeared to transcend age as Younger was accompanied by his grandfather, Will Younger, also of Windsor, who likes planes, cars — “anything that operates,” he explained.

Volunteers sanded down and painted the F/A-18, such as the wings, which now sported black and yellow hornet stripes. The plane is the initial version of the Tremendous Hornet F/A-18 models E and F stealth fighter planes that are used in “Top Gun: Maverick,” which are 25% larger sized and much additional modern-day, claimed Mark Fajardin Sr., director of the Santa Rosa museum’s aircraft acquisitions.

“This airplane served in the Iraq War from 1990 to 1991 to liberate Kuwait,” explained the former Marine. “The Legacy Hornet is alive and very well and nonetheless remaining flown by the Maritime Corps and our allies.”

In the cockpit of the F/A-18 Hornet was a helmeted prop of Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, played by Tom Cruise in 1986’s “Top Gun,” courtesy of Don Ricci, a Santa Rosa fireplace captain. Several climbed up the ladder to verify out the prop and have their picture taken with it.

“We like the ‘Top Gun’ things,” reported Mary Petrini, who attended with family members users Bob and Alex Petrini.

“I did not recognize they experienced so quite a few planes out in this article,” Bob Petrini claimed of the museum, which is found at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport. “It was a pleasant shock.”

The museum shows a diversified assortment of over 30 American armed forces, propeller and jet plane, like an F-5 Tiger, an F-16 Viper and an A-4 Skyhawk. To even further established Saturday’s concept, the authentic “Top Gun” film was playing in a hangar.

The F/A-18 is named for Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen, who grew to become the first African American Marine Corps pilot in 1952. Petersen was influenced by the initial African American to full flight schooling in 1948, U.S. Navy pilot Jesse Brown, who was shot down in Korea, Fajardin reported.

“The plane tells a good tale of the previous,” he claimed. “It tells the tale of Frank Petersen and the adversity he overcame.”

The museum made the decision to hold the function all around the time “Top Gun: Maverick” debuted in theaters, “because it’s been 36 several years given that the initial,” reported Gary Greenough**, who handles general public details for the museum.

“There has been so a great deal desire revealed in the ‘Top Gun’ film,” Fajardin extra.

The improved attendance will help the museum, which is staffed by volunteers, remain open up, Fajardin and Greenough said.

The function is scheduled to return for Memorial Working day weekend, May possibly 28-30.

**Correction: This story has been up to date to appropriate the misspelling of Gary Greenough’s past title.

You can achieve Employees Author Kathleen Coates at [email protected] or 707-521-5209.