Skip to comments.Where Have All the Phantoms Gone?
Posted on 01/07/2010 1:18:38 AM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld
The F-4 Phantom II lives. But the life it leads today is an odd one.
It still flies in other countries; in northern Iraq, for example, the Turks use it in combat with the Kurds. But in the United States, it leads a twilight existence. Its a warplane, but it no longer fights. Its mission is weapons testing, but no pilot flies it. Mostly, youll find these F-4s either sitting in the desert or lying at the bottom of the sea.
The F-4 entered service in 1960, flying for the U.S. Navy. After studying its potential for close air support, interdiction, and counter-air operations, the Air Force added the F-4 to its fleet in 1963. Eventually the Phantom ended up even in the U.S. Marine Corps inventory. In four decades of active service to the United States, the aircraft set 16 world performance records. It downed more adversaries (280 claimed victories) than any other U.S. fighter in the Vietnam War. Two decades later, it flew combat missions in Desert Storm.
In 1996 the aircraft was retired from the U.S. fleet. But the venerable McDonnell design has one last mission to perform for the military: to go down in flames.
Since 1991, 254 Phantoms have served as unpiloted flying targets for missile and gun tests conducted near Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida and Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. The use of F-4 drones (designated QF-4s) is expected to continue until 2014.
(Excerpt) Read more at airspacemag.com ...
I think the Phantom would make a great armed UAV. Just because.
America’s proof to the world that, given enough horsepower, even a brick can fly.
I always found the Phantom to be an excellent target.
The sound of twin phantoms, racing overhead at almost supersonic is, to say the least, devastating.
Can you post this one???
I remember seeing the Thunderbirds flying F-4’s at an air show in 1971. It was great.
I was a Crew Chief stationed at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, in 1964 and while on the Flight Line one day, heard a real strange, high-pitch, somewhat "screeching" sound; something I'd never heard before, though we had some Fighters transitioning thru Hickam.
I looked up and saw a flight of F-4's fly over and peel off to land.
They were a beautiful sight and ended up seeing many more, especially after I got stationed in Nam in 1966.
Anyway, after first hearing one, they could easily be distinguished from other Fighters when they flew over.
IIRC, there were two squadreons of Phantoms in the Coral Sea’s Air Group, when I was aboard in 1973-74.
Got a lot of great pictures of flight ops from a perch up on the island.
As an aside, I was once able spend about an hour on the LSO platform during a night recovery. This is when I learned to have great respect for Naval Aviators.
F-4 Phantom.......physical proof that if you put big enough engines in a brick it will fly.....
Try standing 5’ behind one on a cat at full military power sometime......
Love the F-4. I spent a good part of my Air Force time as a crewchief in Barrier Maintenance(aircraft arresting barriers) in Taegu, Korea. Most of the F-4’s we caught were ROKAF with an occasional USAF RF-4. My squadron commander was Lt.Col. Paul Gilmore, an F-4 pilot who is credited with the first Mig-21 kill ever.
...meanest mother in the valley...
That would be the F-104. I had an uncle who actually said that (the F-104 flies like a brick without power) who worked on the F-4 for McDonnell Douglass in St Louis. One of the things he was involved in was the doors at the jet engine inlets: The original design had a problem where during high G turn rates, the inside engine would sometimes "flame out," and the door helped channel air into the inlet.
very good reading, check the comments from pilots who flew it,
Had one of these bad boys come over us with the after-burners lit up just a tad higher than tree-top level
doing a bombing run about a 1/4 mile in front of us.
Scared th crap out of us all,but he probably saved our butts
A couple of more that I have handy.
IIRC this is the Collins Foundation F-4 that is making the airsho circuit.
And even the R/C crowd are into the Phaboulous Phanton :-)
Darn, those RC modelers are good.
I remember the T-Birds and Blue Angels shows in the early 70’s here in Marietta. We watched from my grandaddy’s pasture just a couple of miles from the airbase. I remember being completely awestruck at the size and sound of those aircraft.
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F-4s were one of the most fun aircraft around to catapult off of an aircraft carrier. We used an amazing array of hardware and launching accessories to get that plane airborne, and it took a finely honed topside crew to properly and efficiently launch one....a Holdback man, two Bridlemen, and the Topsidde Petty Officer.
The booms that were present on the bow and angle decks of older carriers was to accomodate the bridle arrestor tracks that extended down over the top of the boom. It was designed so that if the bridle arrestor (aka “Van Zelm”) failed, the bridle would be physically pulled down and away from the plane as it cleared the deck.
But nuthin’ beat Fleet CQ with an open deck and a whole buncha Phantoms to shoot! And nuthin’ beat a night Phantom burner shot until the F-14 came around...
Scooters (A-4s) ran a very close second on my fun meter, and they were so light at CQ weights that the cat stroke barely counted as a shot. No-loads hit harder than an A-4 launch, and the deck gear looked like toys compared to the gear for Phantoms (or Whales, Corsairs, Viglantes, etc...)
F-4 landings were another matter. On USS Ranger (CVA-61) we had Mark 7 Mod 2 arresting gear, and it was barely capable of stopping a Phantom. F-4 hits counted as 2 hits on the crossdeck pendant, and the arresting gear main cables themselves because the plane hit so hard and so fast.
On Ranger, the hook touchdown point for the three wire was inside of the A/G crew coop which we got to through number 3 AG engine room. There was a light fixture that was constantly being re-welded to the overhead in the coop, because if an F-4 touched down just right, the hook impact was so hard that it would forcibly launch the light straight down at high speed. Nobody was allowed in the coop curing recoveries unless they were in the rack, for that reason.
Make that “Crusader” instead of “Corsair”. Corsairs were nosetow...
Thanks to all you Phantom drivers who pulled our fat out of the fire in Vietnam plenty of times.
I actually got that line from a movie I saw once. I can’t remember which movie it was, but the character was talking about the F-4.
Did’ja ever see the bit about F-4’s on Great Planes on the Military channel? It really killed the wing-wiper who hosts the show about how Naval Aviators were required to re-invent ACM, and it took a year for the Air Force to catch up. (Not that they ever did...)
The Intrepid could trap’em, under emergency conditions, but then the bird was aboard till we went back to Subic, the cats couldn’t punch’em over the bow fast enough to stay in the air. I think they hadda replace the wire, too IIRC.
We ran a couple of packs of Scooters, and had a section of Crusaders for CAP, plus several Spads for Rescap. (Come to think, what was the call-sign for Spads on Rescap; it wasn’t ‘Sandy’, but I disremember what it was...)
Oh, yeah, and a section of Fudd’s...
I have a Photo to post Of a Phantom,please advise How I can Get It into a post
Been There done that,69 70 West Pac ,VF-143 Pukin Dogs Plane Captain,Makes your teeth Fillings Vibrate
Same here, plane captain 77-80, vaq-133.....it is hard to tell people that i can still hear the roar of the damn jet engines in my ears today........we had F-4’s on the fid in ‘78, and F-14’s on the kennedy in ‘80..watched an F-4 eat a deck wrench while going down the cat on a shot...blew out one of the engines. It shot off the front of the ship and dropped below the deck instantly. We all stood and waited for the crew to eject. Then, way out in front, we saw the damn thing, at wave top level, slowly starting to climb. The pilot actually got it in the air and brought it around to land. On paper, that is an impossible feat. I saw it with my own eyes..