The F/A-18 was adopted by the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels aerial demonstration team in 1986 and continues to fly today. It has now served with the team for 34 years. That makes it the longest-serving aircraft type to fly with the Navy’s aerial demonstration team.
This particular aircraft was built by McDonnell-Douglas Aircraft (acquired by Boeing in 1997), St. Louis, Missouri and delivered to the U.S. Navy.
Wingspan: 40 ft.
Length: 56 ft.
Height: 15 ft. 4 in.
Weight: 36,970 pounds (loaded)
Maximum Speed: Mach 1.8
Service Ceiling: 50,000 ft.
Range: 1,089 miles
Engines: Two General Electric F404-GE-400 turbofans with 16,000 pounds of thrust
Current markings: 2012 U.S. Navy Blue Angels
Currently on display at the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona
While watching the PBS American Masters episode on the life, work and career of acclaimed photographer Pedro E. Guerrero, a photograph he created caught my eye.
Guerrero’s photograph of Taliesin West, likely taken in the 1930s or 40s from the dirt road leading up to Taliesin West, showed a small saguaro cactus about two feet tall in the foreground along side the road.
My reaction was, “I think I have photos of that same cactus taken on my last visit to Taliesin West.” Sure enough, I did.
What was just a two foot cactus in Guerrero’s photograph had grown to be a towering giant well over 20 feet tall with seven “arms” extending to the skies. Even the three rocks shown in his original photo were still there, albeit the road has since been paved.
The view of Camelback Mountain from Taliesin West. Scottsdale, Arizona
In the 1940s, when Frank Lloyd Wright learned that power lines were going to be built on the edge of Taliesin West, interrupting the view across the valley towards Camelback Mountain, he started a fight to stop the construction, demanding they be buried underground. When his protests, including letters to President Harry S. Truman, failed to produce the results Wright wanted, he threatened to relocate to Tucson.
Of course, he never did make the move, but he relocated the entrance of Taliesin West towards the rear of the main building.
A common sight at my home in Scottsdale, bobcats (Rufus Lynx) would often sit on the boulders in the front yard, presumably waiting for a desert cottontail to hop on by… at least I hope they weren’t looking at me as a potentially tasty treat!