Hobby Master 1-72 Air Power
HA3573 F/A-18A Hornet "Top Hat" A21-29, 75 Sqn., RAAF, 1990

The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F/A-18 Hornet is a supersonic twin engine all-weather night fighter and attack aircraft. The F/A-18s first flew in November 1978 and the first 1987 production switched to the F/A-18C. Variants A and C are single-seat aircraft while B and D are tandem-seats. The Hornet can operate from either aircraft carriers or land bases with the capability of in flight refueling. A total of 1,480 A-D variants were built.

F/A-18A A21-29 was accepted by the RAAF in April 1988. In May 1990 while deployed to Clarke Air Base in the Philippines a Top Hat and Cane were applied to this aircraft’s tail designating it as the C/Os personal aircraft. On August 2, 1990 two F/A-18s (A21-29 and A21-42) departed RAAF Tindal on a practice pairs intercept. Maneuvering during these intercepts can be quite violent trying to lock onto the target. Unfortunately A21-42 lost sight of A21-29 and rolled into it killing the A21-42 pilot while A21-29 managed to land safely.

Specifications for the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A/B
Role – Fighter/Attack
Manufactured – 1980 to 1987
Numbers Produced
A – 371 B – 40
Crew
A – 1 B – 2
Dimensions
Length – 56 ft 0 in (17.07 m)
Wingspan – 40 ft 8 in (12.4 m)
Height – 15 ft 4 in (4.66 m)
Weight
Empty – 28,000 lbs (12,700 kg)
Gross – 38,000 lbs (17,240 kg)
Maximum Take-off – 56,000 lb (25,400 kg)
Performance
Engines – 2 X GE F404-GE turbofans producing 10,600 lb.s.t. dry & 15,800 lb.s.t with afterburning per engine
Fuel Internal – 1,670 U.S. gal (6,322 l)
External – As many as 3 X 330 U.S. gal (1,249 l)
drop tanks Maximum Fuel – 2,660 U.S. gal (10,070 l)
Maximum Speed – Mach 1.8 1,190 mph (1,915 km/h) @ 35,000 ft (10,670 m)
Landing Speed – 150 mph (241.4 km/h)
Combat Ceiling – 50,000 ft (15,240 m)
Maximum Range – 2,875 miles (4,627 km)
ARMAMENT
1 X 20 mm M61A1 cannon in nose
PLUS Hard Points
4 X under-wing
2 X fuselage corner stations
1 X center-line
2 X wing-tip
To carry AIM-9 Sidewinder Missiles
Or
AIM-7 Sparrow Missiles
Plus Up to 3 external fuel tanks and other assorted ordnance