Experience 14 of 52: Naval Air Station Oceana

If you haven’t noticed, our weekend to Virginia Beach, VA to visit my sister involved military themed experiences.  We are lucky enough to have LTJG Rebecca Anderson as our sister/aunt and she was kind enough to give us a tour of Naval Air Station Oceana from where she serves her country.  The base is the US Navy’s Master Jet Base and is home to almost 300 F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet strike fighter jets.

Getting up close and personal with the jets was an awesome experience.  We were able to see the size of the jets, learn a little about the parts of the jet and we even met one of the pilots. 

We learned the following:

  • The jets at the base are maintained mostly for use on Aircraft Carrier missions
  • Because the runway on an Aircraft Carrier is so short, the jets are catapulted off of the carrier
  • The “tail hook” of the jet is used by the jet while landing on a carrier.  The tail hook “hooks” one of three cables to help stop the jet.
  • The “intake” on the jet allows for air flow into the engine
  • The F/A 18 includes a seat for a pilot and a seat for a weapons system officer
  • A “hangar” is a large building used to hold aircraft in storage
  • The head-gear worn by the crew while working around the F/A 18 is called a “cranial” and provides head protection for the flight team
  • A “pylon” is a part of the aircraft that is used for mounting external equipment (such as fuel tanks or weapons) to the aircraft


This experience was most enjoyable for us because it was personalized by my sister.  Although you may not be able to get as up-close and personal as we were able to, according to the Naval Air Station Oceana web site daily base tours are available to the public.

Time Spent: ~2 hours
Cost: Free (but the Daily Base Tour would have cost us $46 for the four of us)

That’s the tailhook!

Grace as Executive Officer (complete with a finger mustache)

Kate as Commanding Officer (complete with a finger mustache)

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