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How F/A-18s Work

        Science | Modern

Under the Hood
The F/A-18 can reach a speed of Mach 1.7 and fly up to 36,089 feet.
The F/A-18 can reach a speed of Mach 1.7 and fly up to 36,089 feet.

Hornets at heart are like any other jet plane. They use powerful turbine engines to create thrust and two broad wings to create lift. Rear fins stabilize the plane while rudders allow it to turn. The pilot uses an air brake to slow the plane down.

Specifically, the Hornet sports two F414-GE-400 afterburning turbofan engines capable of 22,000 pounds (9,977 kg) of static thrust each. The F/A-18 can reach a speed of Mach 1.7 (563 meters per second) and fly as high as 36,089 feet (11,000 meters).

The Blue Angels streak by at an air show.
The Blue Angels streak by at an air show.

The engine afterburners provide powerful thrust quickly to help the F/A-18 attack and escape quickly. The afterburner injects fuel into jet exhaust, igniting it. The resulting combustion adds a considerable boost to the speed of the jet.


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