F-4 Phantom Blue Angels (1969-1973)
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F4 Phantom US NAVY Tribute

Links to F-4 Phantom Sites:*
F4 Phantom II: history, country specific profiles, photos
F-4 Phantom II Photo Gallery
F-4 Phantom II Society: McDonnell Douglas F-4 history
F-4E Phantom #68-366A: USAF F-4E Phantom, AF #68-366A
F-4 Phantom II Photos
F-4 phantom power: photos, links, patches ...
Phabulous Phantom Phortieth: history, photos, videos, pilot stories
5053 Phantoms: Photo gallery
12th Tactical Fighter Wing
USS Ranger Museum Foundation
*To be added to F-4 Aircraft links,
Email Us & Identify URL & request.

Larry Deeley served on the USS Ranger CV61 and worked on ejection seats and air conditioning packages in F-4 Phantom aircraft
Carried F-4 Phantom Aircraft

One Last Flight
 By Denise P. Marsden*,
LCPL, US Marine
F-4 Hydraulics Specialist
 Written in Jan. 1988
 On silver wings
 the Phantom flies
 a mighty steed
 across endless skies
 She's searching for battle
 for one more fight
 before she comes in
 from her last flight
 With thundering power
 she banks and turns
 and even her pilot
 can feel how she yearns
 She plunges ahead
 begging to race
 not many a bird
 can match her fiery pace
Her throttles move forward
 her engines roar
 the clouds stream past
 yet she asks for more
 The wind strains to catch her
 and begs for a chance
 to waltz with her
 on her last dance
 The music departs
 and the wind blows by
 as twilight's glow
 touches the sky
 Her journey is over
 her battles all won
 as she settles to earth
 like the setting sun
 Her engines are silent now
 She won't fly again
 but her legend'll live on
 in the dreams of men

* Used by Permission: LCPL (latter 1LT) Denise P. Marsden (1985-1996); she wrote this poem while stationed at Kaneohe Bay, HI, VMFA 232 & MALS 24.


Tribute to the F4 Phantom II Aircraft
and to the men and women who
designed, built, maintained, supported and flew the F-4

Created by Dr. Bill Smith, Major, USAF-Retired

Marine RF4 Nose end The F-4 is named "Phantom II" in tribute to another McDonnell-built fighter, the FH-1 Phantom of World War II. Like the first Phantom, the Phantom II was conceived as a sea-based fighter. It was developed as a two-engine, two-seat, long-range, all-weather attack fighter for the U.S Navy. The first prototype was ordered in October of 1954 under the designation of AH-1. In May of 1955, the mission of the aircraft was changed to a missile-equipped fighter and the designation was changed to F4H1.

The F-4 Phantom II was a twin-engine, all-weather, fighter-bomber. The Phantom was first used by the U.S. Navy as an interceptor but also was capable of flying as a ground-support bomber for the U.S. Marine Corps. The aircraft could perform three tactical air roles — air superiority, interdiction and close air support — as it did in southeast Asia. McDonnell designed one of the greatest fighters of the postwar era as a company venture to meet anticipated future needs. Planned as an attack aircraft with four 20mm guns, it was quickly changed into a very advanced gunless all-weather interceptor with advanced radar and missile armament. The aircraft flew every traditional military mission: air superiority, close air support, interception, air defense suppression, long-range strike, fleet defense, attack and reconnaissance.

F 4 Phantom tribute

Fun Facts about the Phantom:
1stLt Gary Smith at MCAS Yuma Az (1980) going through
F-4J training
  • In 48 seconds, the Phantom II can climb four miles to intercept enemy aircraft. With the throttles two-blocked, the F-4 consumes enough fuel in 60 seconds to drive an average American car more than 3,000 miles, and it carries enough fuel to drive that car about 35,000 miles. More than 643,000 fasteners are used to hold the Phantom together. Flight time from St. Louis to Chicago is 12 minutes.
  • Its generators can push enough power through its 14 miles of electrical wiring to supply a subdivision of 30-40 homes with enough power to operate lights, washing machines, TV’s, toasters, can openers, vacuum cleaners, etc.
  • And speaking of vacuum cleaners, its engines at full bore draw in enough air to collapse a typical six-room house in two seconds.
  • Painting one F-4 takes two days, 36 people and 28 gallons of paint, enough to cover seven six-room houses.
  • The catalyzed epoxy paint withstands temperatures up to 450 degrees and is resistant to engine and hydraulic oil.
  • It can slow to a mere 125 knots or streak through the sky at more than 1,300 mph. For routine travel, it eases along at 570 mph for more than 1,500 miles without refueling. On takeoff it can hold an external load of more than eight tons.
  • Unrefueled range from carriers or existing suitable friendly bases allows the Phantom to carry its payload of ground strike weapons over 92 percent of the earth’s surface. Squadron (1981).  VMFP-3 RF-4 Squadron photo, Guam (1981)
  • The Phantom was the first multiservice aircraft, flying concurrently with the U.S. Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. It is the first and only aircraft ever to be flown concurrently by both the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds. The name Phantom II was chosen to declare the aircraft’s lineage from McDonnell’s FD-1 Phantom which was the first all-jet aircraft the Navy operated. Phantom II production ended in 1979 after over 5,000 in 15 different models had been built -- more than 2,600 for the USAF, about 1,200 for the Navy and Marine Corps, and the rest for other nations, including to Israel, Iran, Greece, Spain, Turkey, South Korea, West Germany, Australia, Japan, and Great Britain. The US Air Force purchased more than 2,600 F-4s and, as a result, a large portion of the Air Force's pilots, navigators and maintenance people spent a great deal of their careers around and in F-4s. Used extensively in the Vietnam War, later versions of the aircraft were still active in the US Air Force inventory well into the 1990s. F-4s are no longer in the USAF inventory but are still flown by a number of other nations.

  • In the 1960s, most of the thousands of McDonnell employees were involved in delivering the Phantom. Between 1966-67, production averaged 63 F-4 aircraft each month. Production peaked at 72 Phantom aircraft a month in 1967. By 1978, production was 4 to 6 aircraft a month. In all, production of the F-4 contributed to more than 1 million man-years of employment at McDonnell.

    Capt. Lt Gary Smith - SKATE - taxis for a mission 1986The Phantom is powered by twin General Electric J79 engines, mounted side by side along the length of the fuselage. Of the engine's sub-models, the most important is the J79-GE-17. Each engine delivers a thrust of 5,385 kg. without using its afterburners, and 8,210 kg. thrust with the afterburners. The Phantom is a two seater, with the navigator/WSO sitting behind the pilot. In case of an emergency, the WSO can fly the plane from his seat.

    The Air Force and the Navy expressed notable dismay over the relatively poor and unforgiving characteristics of the F-4 aircraft at high angles of attack. The F-4 exhibited a sudden directional divergence (nose slice) and other control-induced characteristics at high angles of attack that made the aircraft susceptible to loss of control and inadvertent spins. The two services lost a combined total of over 100 F-4’s to accidents involving these characteristics during the operational life of the aircraft.
    Compiled From Global Security & Jane's Fighting Nodes

    Piece of F4 History: Pardo's Push: McDonnell F4 Phantom via AVweb

    The first model of the Phantom II flew in May of 1958. Designed to achieve Mach 2, the twin turbojet-powered aircraft reached Mach 2.6. Through the years, the manufacturer has been able to build into the basic F-4 airframe specific equipment and technology required by different customers. A look at the modifications to date will illustrate the fact. This listing shows the versatility possible with a sound basic aircraft design. The ability to fit new technology to the basic airplane, and to change it to suit specific needs of different users, has made it possible for the aircraft manufacturer to prolong the life of the F-4 for more than 20 years. The final F-4 produced by McDonnell-Douglas was completed in 1979. However, 138 more were manufactured by Mitsubishi in Japan during 1980 and 1981.
  • F-4A - Redesignation of the F-4H1. Several F-4As were upgraded to meet the standards of the F-4B.
  • F-4B - The standard all-weather fighter developed for the U.S Navy and Marines.
  • Skate - Capt. Gary Smith, USMC - in flight photo in RF4-B
  • RF-4B - In Feb. 1963, the Marine Corps acquired the first 9 of a fleet of 46 RF-4Bs, a photographic reconnaissance version of the basic F-4 Phantom. The RF-4B was generally similar to the RF-4C, but with a lengthened nose for reconnaissance applications. Three separate camera bays in the nose carried a variety of cameras, which unlike the cameras of the RF-4Cs were on rotating mounts so they could be aimed at targets off the flight path. The Marine Corps RF-4B aircraft were retired in Aug., 1990, coinciding with the outset of the Gulf War.
  • F-4C - Once called the F-110A, this model was a two-seat fighter developed for the U.S Air Force from the F-4B. The Air Force model has different tires and larger brakes than the Navy model, but it retained the folding wings and the arrestor hook typical of carrier-borne aircraft.
  • RF-4C - Reconnaissance version of the F-4C. Several hundred were built, and many are now being used by the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard units.
  • F-4D - Showed new technology in improved radar, weapons and navigation instruments. Widely used in Vietnam War.
  • F-4E - This version was designed to fill many roles for the U.S Air Force, including air support, close support for ground troops and interdiction-interference with enemy movements. Pilots of the F-4D had complained that they had missed many chances to shoot down enemy MIGs at close range because the F-4D was armed only with missiles. The E version begun in 1967 answered this critiscism by coming equipped with internal 20-mm guns for close work against enemy aircraft and additional fuel cells to improve flying time. The Air Force aerial demonstration team, the Thunderbirds, at one time flew the F-4E, as do the Israeli and Australian air forces.
  • F-4EJ - This version of the F-4E, begun in 1971, is built in Japan under license from the American manufacturer. It is used solely by the Japanese Defense Force. Upgraded to F-4EJ-Kai. 14 of the F-4EJ were for the recce version as RF-4EJ-Kai equipped with a recce pod externally no difference to the F-4EJ.
  • F-4E(F) this is a non existing version, altough it was a "concept" to built an export version of the F-4 in competition with the F-20 Tigershark program was dropped. Instead there is the F-4F, a stripped down version of the F-4E (1 fuel tank removed, and not AMRAAM capable. 175 built for the Luftwaffe (upgraded later to F4F-ICE). In addition, the Lufwaffe also purchased 10 F-4E permanantly based at George and Holloman to train Luftwaffe pilots (these were withdrawn from service in 2001)
  • RF-4E - Also built for the Federal Republic of Germany, this reconnaissance version of the F-4E has better engines than the RF-4C and improved technology in its reconnaissance systems.
  • F-4G - A development of the F-4B built for the U.S Navy, this version is equipped with anti-submarine warfare (ASW) communications equipment. 12 rebuilt F-4B for the SAGE program, it served from 1965 to 1966.
  • F-4G Wild Weasel II (or advanced wild weasel) was the primary version to tackle enemy radar/missile sites for which mainly F-4E in the 42/45 block series were rebuilt. Ppredecessor to the F-4G were interim EF-4C and EF-4D Wild Weasels 1.
  • F-4J - Built for the U.S Navy and Marine Corps, this version is an interceptor with ground attack capability. The Navy aerial demonstration, the Blue Angels, flew this aircraft.
  • F-4K - A development of the F-4B designed for the British Royal Navy. It has improvements similar to the J model, but is shorter.
  • F-4M - Built for the British Royal Air Force, it is to the F-4K what the U.S Air Force's F-4C was to the Navy's F-4B.
  • F-4N - An updating of the F-4B for the U.S Navy.
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