|Collings Foundation F-4C|
Some don't find her all that pretty but to me, she's drop-dead gorgeous. So boys and girls take a seat and behold this icon of aviation history. Juvat and Virgil Xenophon? Just smile and wave boys, smile and wave.
|Uh, I think we have the right of way here...|
The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a tandem, two-seat, twin-engine, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor fighter/fighter-bomber originally developed for the United States Navy by McDonnell Aircraft. It first entered service in 1960 with the U.S. Navy. Proving highly adaptable, it was also adopted by the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Air Force, and by the mid-1960s had become a major part of their respective air wings.
The Phantom is a large fighter with a top speed of over Mach 2.2. It can carry over 18,000 pounds (8,400 kg) of weapons on nine external hardpoints, including air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, and various bombs. The F-4, like other interceptors of its time, was designed without an internal cannon. Later models incorporated a M61 Vulcan rotary cannon. Beginning in 1959 it set 15 world records for in-flight performance, including an absolute speed record, and an absolute altitude record.
During the Vietnam War the F-4 was used extensively; it served as the principal air superiority fighter for both the Navy and Air Force, and became important in the ground-attack and reconnaissance roles late in the war. The Phantom has the distinction of being the last U.S. fighter flown to attain ace status in the 20th century. During the Vietnam War the USAF had one pilot and two weapon systems officers (WSOs), and the US Navy one pilot and one radar intercept officer (RIO), achieve five aerial kills against other enemy fighter aircraft and become aces in air-to-air combat. The F-4 continued to form a major part of U.S. military air power throughout the 1970s and 1980s, being gradually replaced by more modern aircraft such as the F-15 Eagle and F-16 in the U.S. Air Force; the Grumman F-14 Tomcat and F/A-18 Hornet in the U.S. Navy; and the F/A-18 in the U.S. Marine Corps.
The F-4 Phantom II remained in use by the U.S. in the reconnaissance and Wild Weasel (suppression of enemy air defenses) roles in the 1991 Gulf War, finally leaving service in 1996. It was also the only aircraft used by both U.S. flight demonstration teams: the USAF Thunderbirds (F-4E) and the US Navy Blue Angels (F-4J). The F-4 was also operated by the armed forces of 11 other nations. Israeli Phantoms saw extensive combat in several Arab–Israeli conflicts, while Iran used its large fleet of Phantoms in the Iran–Iraq War. Phantoms remain in front line service with seven countries, and in use as an unmanned target in the U.S. Air Force. Phantom production ran from 1958 to 1981, with a total of 5,195 built, making it the most numerous American supersonic military aircraft.
The real deal, we got to watch this footage in Tech School, way back in the day when we were just Phantom Phixer wannabes.
That's an AIM-7 Sparrow coming off the rail in the film, but the gun sight picture is incorrect unless the pilot was in boresight with interlocks off. The cognoscenti will know this. By the way, that is the "pipper" that I mentioned here.
But wait, there's more (Warning! Kinda cheesy music alert.)
If the time machine ever gets invented, I'm going to buy a crap ton of GoPro cameras, head back in time and give them to those old-timey Phantom Phlyers. (My way of apologizing for the blurry videos above, this was way before HD. No doubt my kids would be stunned to learn we even had color film back then!)
Two of my personal heroes. Robin Olds and Steve Ritchie. What I like to call Phamous Phantom Phlyers.
And what General Ritchie said about Colonel Olds? Ditto from this Old AF Sarge.
|Phantoms Do It In the Dark!|
|Nice Paint Job!|
|Left: Pilot's Cockpit, Right: WSO's Cockpit|
(I Got to Play in Both)
|Got This Pic From my Buddy Gary, Another Old Phantom Phixer|
This is the "Honest to God" Radar Cal Hangar at Kunsan AB, Korea
Where I Spent Four Awesome Years,