Finnish Air Force F-18D HN-468 took off for the first time since its rebuild.
December 3: Finnish Air Force F-18D HN-468 took off for the first time since its rebuild using a fuselage from an ex-Canadian Armed Forces Hornet.
HN-468 began life as single-seat F-18C HN-413, but was involved in a collision with HN-430 while on a night flying exercise to the south-east of Lappajärvi on November 8, 2001. HN-430 crashed, its pilot ejecting, while HN-413 limped back to Pirkkala air base, badly damaged. Both pilots were unharmed.
Inspection of the damaged airframe confirmed that the front fuselage was a write-off, but the Finnish Air Force was keen to retain airframe numbers and a replacement fuselage was sought. As the Air Force was short of twin-seaters, it was decided to investigate the possibility of grafting a twin-seat fuselage to the remains of the original aircraft. A ‘B’ model front fuselage was purchased from Canada, the donor fuselage being CF-188 188920, and the rebuild successfully completed in September after 100,000 man hours.
“The project has deepened Finnish expertise in the structures and systems of the F-18 aircraft,” said Jukka Holkeri, Executive Vice President of Patria’s Aviation Business Unit, the Finnish company that did the conversion.