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16-8381 — - Passing over rather high up in the deep blue morning sky, a division of US Navy fighters consisting of three VAQ-142 "Gray Wolves" EA-18G Growlers and a VFA-146 "Blue Diamonds" FA-18E Super Hornet returns from a morning training exercise and is about to break the echelon right formation and come around to land at NAS Fallon (KNFL).  Two of the four aircraft seen here are CAG colorbirds: the "Gray Wolves" CAG Growler (168381) is the third aircraft down the diagonal and the last aircraft is 165783, the VFA-146 CAG bird.
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16-8381 —

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Passing over rather high up in the deep blue morning sky, a division of US Navy fighters consisting of three VAQ-142 "Gray Wolves" EA-18G Growlers and a VFA-146 "Blue Diamonds" FA-18E Super Hornet returns from a morning training exercise and is about to break the echelon right formation and come around to land at NAS Fallon (KNFL). Two of the four aircraft seen here are CAG colorbirds: the "Gray Wolves" CAG Growler (168381) is the third aircraft down the diagonal and the last aircraft is 165783, the VFA-146 CAG bird.

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Gary SchenauerPhoto Uploader
Any present or former Navy pilots / fliers out there, I'm AF Ret. and my knowledge of Navy terminology is a bit sketchy, so I'm wondering if you can clarify something for me? My understanding of the term "section" as it applies to Navy aviation is that a "section" is a pair of aircraft (meaning two aircraft) that are performing a mission together as a tactical unit. So I have questions about the scene shown here in my photo. First, since there are more than just two aircraft flying together here, is this group still referred to as a "section" or is there another term that would be used to describe a four-ship group such as seen here? Also, I've seen three-ship groups ... would a three-ship group still be correctly referred to as a "section?" I've researched but can't find any answer, so if there are any Navy folks out there who can ease my curious old mind (lol), I'd appreciate your help. Thanx.
Very, very nice photo! I am not ex-AF or Navy AF, so I do not think that I can help you when it comes to AF terms.
Gary SchenauerPhoto Uploader
Howdy, Isaac. I've been advised that a group of three Navy aircraft is properly termed a "heavy section," and the correct USN term for a four-ship group such as I snapped here is a "division." (I've made the appropriate correction in my comment under the photo.) Also, just as added info of interest, all three groupings: a "section" (two aircraft), a "heavy section" (three aircraft) and a "division," can be either similar aircraft (ie: two F-18s) or different aircraft (ie: an F-18 and an F-35 are a "section" when flying together). Out at sea, groups of up to 12 aircraft have often flown together like this when returning to a carrier or etc. It must be a fantastic sight when aircraft launch from a carrier and then again when they are recovered.
Tom Vance
I think it's called "Blue Angels"! All kidding aside fantastic Gman! you lucky! arrgh!! 5 Hollywood____!!
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