This aircraft was doing low level flights over my office a few minutes ago. From the route it was flying some of my coworkers thought it might have been doing approaches or touch and go landings at the local airport (Johnstown, PA (KJST)).

enter image description here

After it left the area I tried comparing it against pictures of active US fighters; but the wings didn't appear to match with anything I saw.

  • $\begingroup$ What local airport? Could help to identify by knowing what air wings are stationed nearby. It looks like the YF-17 but only two were made and it never saw production after the initial 2 in 1974. Both aircraft are supposedly on display, one in Torrance California and one in Mobile Alabama. It is probably an F-18 variant though, the wings look a little different but it could just be perspective. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Nov 9, 2017 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ The fusilage's single curve does seem to fit the YF-17 better than an F-18. I can't imagine what one would be doing around here though even if it was flying though. $\endgroup$ Nov 9, 2017 at 20:35

1 Answer 1


It's an F/A-18 Super Hornet.

Defining characteristics:

  • Slightly angled twin vertical tail
  • Twin engine with little space between them (eliminating the F-14 and similar)
  • Almost straight trailing edge of the wings
  • Horizontal tail with significant sweep angle that also protrudes behind the engine exhaust
  • Massive wing strakes (thanks Dan Pichelman!) along the fuselage under the cockpit
  • The wing "notch", as noted by Ron Beyer in the comments

Also the shape of the horizontal tail excludes the YF-17: YF-17 vs Hornet


As mentioned by Penguin, the wing notch, together with the single curve leading edge extensions are the indicators that mark this aircraft as a "Super" variant (E-F, single seat and two-seat, respectively) rather than an earlier vanilla "Hornet" variant (A-C), as seen in this figure:

Hornet vs Super Hornet


Note also the less round profile of the horizontal tail, like the one seen in OP's photo.


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