Longtime aircraft being retired by Naval Air Station Jacksonville patrol squadron

P3 aircraft being replaced by new P8s

NAS Jax's patrol squadron 62 is retiring its P-3 aircraft, a moment was bittersweet for those who have flown these planes over the years.

NAS Jax’s patrol squadron 62 is retiring its P3 aircraft.

The last plane headed off on Sunday to the Boneyard at the Davis Monthan Airforce base in Arizona.

They say it’s the end of an era, but they’re excited for the new P8s to arrive.

“We had a lot of missions on the P3 primary mission,” Commander Matt Piro said. “It goes out and tracks submarines so it has ability to drop torpedos. It’s a sad day but we’re moving onto a newer airplane.”

Piro said the P3 has about 20,000 flight hours and has served the country proudly, but the squadron will move onto the P8A Poseidon, which will be easier to fly.

“The new ones, the autopilot does most of the work these are a lot of hand flying,” he said. “You’ve got to be much more in tune with air traffic.”

One of the command masters for the patrol squadron 62 and his family watched as the last P3 left the station.

“I have been inside one,” he said. “My dad worked inside one. It’s been around a long time. We’re going to miss her, but we’re excited to get a new plane.”

The squadron says they’ll move on to the P8s in the spring of 2023.

About the Author:

Brie Isom joined the News4JAX team in January 2021 after spending three years covering news in South Bend, Indiana.