Navy’s Super Hornet TacDemo Team Cancels 2019 Airshow Season

The Navy's Tactical Demonstration Team serves a duel role of instructor pilots and air show performers each season. (Charles A Atkeison)

PENSACOLA, Fla. — The U.S. Navy’s Super Hornet demonstration team cancelled the remainder of their 2019 air show schedule on Wednesday due to extra time needed to train new pilots.

The Navy Tactical Demonstration (TACDEMO) Team is made up of F/A-18 Super Hornet instructors who train new students. Known as VFA-106, their mission is to also demonstrate the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet for air show crowds located on the eastern half of North America.

“The mission of VFA-106 is to provide the fleet with superbly trained replacement aircrew to support fleet readiness,” VFA-106 Commander Brandon M. Scott said on Wednesday. “This mission will always take priority over displaying the remarkable Super Hornet across the country.”

The Navy’s VFA-106 TacDemo Team perform at air shows across the eastern United States. (Charles Atkeison)

Nicknamed the Gladiators, the TacDemo Team had five air show dates remaining. They were scheduled to arrive on Thursday into Traverse City, Michigan, for the popular Cherry Festival Airshow.

“Our dedicated, volunteer air crew and maintainers must focus their efforts on training the next generation of Super Hornet aviators and flight officers,” Cmdr. Scott added. “We appreciate all the support that you have shown us this year.”

The West Coast’s VFA-122 Tailhok Legacy Flight will continue to perform this season. The Navy Tac Demo Team said they are optimistic they will return to performing next season.

The announcement, although unrelated, comes as the Navy is preparing the Blue Angels for their own Super Hornets next autumn. The Blues will perform a shortened air show season in 2021 as they move from the current Legacy Hornet to the Super Hornet.

(Charles A Atkeison reports on aerospace and technology. Follow his updates via social media @Military_Flight.)