Former Blue Angels Jet makes pit stop in Mobile before heading to California

Published: Aug. 14, 2022 at 2:05 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Before it made its way home to California, a former Blue Angles Jet took a breather in Mobile.

Marty Batura with Worldwide Aircraft Recovery has a tall task -- transporting a retired Blue Angels FA-18 Hornet from Florida to California.

The piece of naval aviation history said farewell to Pensacola and will now call Atwater, California home. It will be displayed in the Castle Air Museum.

“We got a great group of folks there, we’ve moved quite a few airplanes for them over the years and they’re just so excited to have this come their way. They’re really, really excited,” said Batura.

It’s not Batura’s first rodeo. He’s been moving aircraft for 26 years now.

“We’ve moved everything from WWI biplanes, all the way up to SR-71s, B-29s, C-17s ′s, B-52s, you name it and we’ve moved it over the years,” said Batura.

The iconic blue jet has made plenty of journies across the sky, this time it’s on the ground, traveling across several different states.

“We have a pretty good route ahead of us, it’s going to take approximately a week to get there and that’s all determined by permits and weather and road construction,” said Batura.

Before making the journey the aircraft made a pit stop in Mobile, Alabama.

People stopped by Ralph & Kacoo’s to get a look, up close.

“I stopped because I saw the jet out here and since I’m a navy veteran I had to stop and say hello,” said Sam George, “when I was in the service years ago, and they still are to a certain degree they’re stationed in Pensacola and you can go in the base, at least I could, being an officer can go in touch them walk underneath them, do everything, I don’t know if you can do that today but it was nice then and it’s still nice to see them today.”

The aircraft has gotten plenty of stares on the highway.

“We’ll be driving down the road, just going the speed limit and people will you know fly by, and all of a sudden boy they hit the brakes, back it down, and up come the cameras and the cellphones,” said Batura.

Batura said the best part of the job is seeing kids’ eyes light up when they see the aircraft.

“having the little kids coming up with their eyes wide going wow it is okay if we just touch it? Can we just get a picture close to it? And it is it’s a lot of fun.. those are our next pilots, those are our next mechanics and aircraft personnel,” said Batura.

The jet will take off from Battleship Memorial Park Monday morning.

The jet will travel I-10 through Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona and on into California.

You can visit the Castle Air Museum’s website to find out more about the jet’s new home.

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