F/A-18 Hornets Blast By “Tiny Little Grumman” Private Plane With Wing-Rocking Salute

The moment is a great display of the camaraderie among aviators and their near-universal fascination with all of mankind’s flying machines.

byTyler Rogoway|
F/A-18 photo


For many, aviation isn't a hobby or a job, it's a religion of sorts. There are so many aspects to the aviation community and it is filled with all types of people from all walks of life. A common fascination with flight unites them all. It's really an incredible thing that can be hard to fully understand for those that have never been bitten by the aviation bug. Pilots are their own community within a community. Some fly gliders, some fly helicopters, some fly 747s, some fly light planes, and some fly high-performance fighters. Over the years, what I have found is that even those on the top of the aircraft performance heap have a huge interest, if not something of their own form of fasciation, with far more lowly aircraft, ones that can cost one-two hundredth the price to operate per hour as a pointy-nosed combat jet. 

It isn't all that hard to understand why someone tasked with ripping through the skies in a $70,000,000 piece of exquisite weaponry would be interested in trolling around at a fraction of the speed in a well-used light plane that cost $25,000. It is a simpler and, in some ways, a freer variation of human flight that offers its own unique advantages, albeit with a bit less thrill. Jumping into a light plane to go grab a '$100 cheeseburger' is far less intensive and much more relaxing than taking a flying national security asset out a mission. So, many fighter pilots seem just as interested in someone's light plane as the opposite. It's a unique and quirky little reality I have seen time and time again.

This camaraderie and mutual interest and appreciation for all planes is beautifully exemplified in the video below. In it, a private pilot and YouTuber flying a 1972 Grumman AA-5 Traveler gets called out by air traffic control before landing to a pair of Marine F/A-18 Hornets from VMFA-112 "Cowboys" waiting to take off on a parallel runway. The tower refers jovially to the incoming light plane as a "tiny little Grumman." 

The Grumman continues on final approach for a touch and go and the Hornets soon come into view taking position on the parallel runway prior to takeoff. One of the Hornet pilots responds "good looking tiny little Grumman though, I tell you what." The Grumman pilot replies back "your's is good lookin' too, thank you very much!"

The Traveler pilot then states to his onboard cameras "ok, we're going to race some F/A-18s" just before he heads back into the air after his touch and go. As the Grumman climbs out, the Hornets blast by with their wings rocking. The pilot, watching the fighters giving him a salute as they haul past, states "that is so awesome."

Check out this great little moment for yourself:

Video thumbnail

This is what aviation is all about. It was a little passing moment in time, but one that shows the unique bond that exists among all aviators and the appreciation pilots have for all of man's flying creations. 

A big hat tip to Chad Colgan for sending this little gem over.

Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com