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Missouri-Made F/A-18s Perform in Front of a Home Crowd

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Missouri-made F/A-18s flown by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team participated in the Spirit of St. Louis Airshow

Over the past several days, Missouri’s skies were filled with aircraft during the Spirit of St. Louis Air Show and STEM Expo, presented by Boeing.  The aircraft showcased the range of military aviation over the past century with planes ranging from the World War II era P-51 Mustang to the newest fighter in America’s arsenal the F-22 Raptor, and was headlined by the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angel flight demonstration squadron.

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(Missouri-made F/A-18s are flown in formation by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron during the Spirit of St. Louis Air Show & STEM Expo)

Blue Angel pilot and Right Wing Lt. Matt Suyderhoud is a native of Hawaii but spent a good portion of his life living in Missouri and attended St. Louis University before joining the military after 9/11.

“It is a dream come true to be able to come back and preform in St. Louis,” said Suyderhoud. “Before joining the Blue Angels team I would be flying an F/A-18 and I would look down to the ground and see people I would sometimes think, man I would love to land and tell them about what an amazing job this is, and now I get that opportunity; I get to demonstrate the flying capabilities of these amazing aircraft and represent the Navy and Marine Corps team.”

Suyderhoud went on to say how excited he was to be back flying in St. Louis stating that, pun intended, “This is really were my aviation career took flight,” and that he was excited to give back to the community that he called his “second home.”

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(Missouri-made F/A-18s are flown in formation by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron during the Spirit of St. Louis Air Show & STEM Expo) 

Missouri has a rich history in aviation from Charles Lindbergh, to the Mercury space program, and the latest in aerospace innovation. Today, that cutting edge innovation continues with more than 70 companies across Missouri, including Boeing, leading the way in every aspect of military aviation and equipment. Missouri talent builds the F/A-18, EA-18 and F-15 fighter jets, along with a huge array of military ordinance.

Columbia, Missouri, native Ramsey Luos is an Aviation Ordnanceman First Class with the U.S. Navy and a Crew Chief with the Blue Angels team.

“It gives me a very strong sense of pride that there are folks in my community that attend the same sporting events, schools and that are shopping at the same local grocery stores as I was, who have a hand in building such a tremendous aircraft,” said Luos when asked about his feelings on the Missouri-made aircraft. “My mom works for one of the production companies that builds avionic components for aircrafts and knowing that gives me great pride and connection to the F/A-18s, and to my fellow Missourians that work day in and day out to create such an amazing aircraft.”

 

(Pilots from the Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron fly Missouri-made F/A-18s during a practice take off and vertical roll)

“Each day that I open the canopy and climb up the ladder I see that identity plate with Missouri on it and it gives me a boost of motivation and pride for the Show-Me State where I was born and raised.”