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F-4 Phantom

Old 26th Feb 2009, 12:49
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: London, New York, Paris, Moscow.
Posts: 3,631
Yep same as the ones below and with a razor edged titan seal, you only made THAT mistake once!
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 12:50
  #22 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Balmullo,Scotland
Posts: 921
Aux air doors only opened on start up, surprised no one mentioned as well as no fire extinguishers it never had a battery either.Wonderfull A/C after all my civilian experience licenses and type ratings it is the only A/C I can say that I truely knew inside out (maintenance 43 & 111 squadrons)
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 14:56
  #23 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: earth
Posts: 1,397
Didn't have a parking brake either - seat strap tightened around the emergency pneumatic brake handle worked OK provided pneumatics didn't deplete before you got the chocks in.

Great multi-role aircraft from the days when the weapons went where the crew aimed them - no kit errors, just poor weaponry if you missed.

And the Suu-23 was something else - what a wonderful noise and a real tight bullet group.

Rockets too - much better than those cluster things that so upset the civvies but did square root of bu**er all to the target.

Still enjoy seeing it as a gate guard - the last fighter in the RAF with real character.
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 15:54
  #24 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: england
Age: 57
Posts: 322
what chance of a civvy phantom??
don't laugh, the buccs do all right in SA and a couple of STARFIGHTERS in the states.
jeez, if the widowmaker can be privately flown, surely a rhino!!!
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 16:00
  #25 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: 58-33N. 00-18W. Peterborough UK
Posts: 3,043
What chance of a civvy phantom??

F-4 air to air
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 17:07
  #26 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Over Will's mother's, and climbing
Age: 64
Posts: 333
F4Js at Wattisham

I've always assumed 74 Sqn crews had to wear their American Gentex helmets to fit in with all the US-spec furniture, sockets, tubes and knobs on their F4Js. Was there anything other American clobber they had to don to function properly in the office?
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 17:41
  #27 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: USA
Age: 57
Posts: 664
"Another pilot, then Captain Dave Lucia, and the last pilot to go through Weasel training described what it was like checking out in the F-4G:

I came to George following a tour as an ALO (air liaison officer a USAF fighter pilot assigned to a US Army combat unit) with the 82d Airborne Division. I had jumped into Panama as part of Operation Just Cause and was ready to get back into a cockpit.

Since I hadnt flown the F-4 before (Id been an OA-37 and OV-10 forward air control pilot prior to going to the Army), I had to learn to fly the F-4E at the 21st TFTS there at George. My first flight was just a few days before DESERT SHIELD kicked off.

Compared to more modern jets like the F-16, the F-4 was like an old Cadillac. After cranking engines, the air conditioner wouldnt work until you were airborne so we did all our ground ops with the canopies up. Id run the seat up to where I could look over the top of the canopy bow and feel the breeze in my face. That was a great feeling.

Another difference about the F-4 was that once airborne, it talked to you. You had to listen to what it was telling you. You could hear the wind noise change around the canopy as you maneuvered the jet. You could feel it start to shake if you started pushing it beyond its limits. If you kept pushing, it could get away from you and stall.
I always felt that the F-4 required more pure airmanship the skills needed to fly the jet smoothly than does the F-16 where the computer does a lot of the work for you.

Ergonomically, the F-4s cockpit was horrible. The visibility was not very good. The side of the jet was about level with your shoulders so to see down or back you had to roll it to see.

The lights could be so bright on a night sortie that you put tape over them to blank them out. We stowed our stuff in various places, wherever there was room. Id tuck my charts into the sides of the front instrument panel coaming. Id throw my helmet bag with snacks and water and other junk in the space to the sides of the ejection seat.

Another aspect that took some getting used to was having another guy fly with you. Although I really learned to like the crew concept, at first it was strange. When first flying with a backseater, I tended to be more formal and use the checklists words, but once you got to know each other, you could tell what the other was thinking by just a grunt or a single word.

Even landing the massive Phantom presented challenges according to Lucia,
The forward viz in the F-4 was never great. With the [gun]sight, canopy framing and the Rhinos long nose, it was nearly impossible to see ahead. During the landing, Id again run my seat up as high as it would go to be able to see just a little straight ahead.

You could feel it as you got into ground effect and could touch down really smoothly most times. When it was raining, however, I always planted it firmly to avoid the risk of hydroplaning. (The F-4, due to the nearly perfectly triangular positioning of the nose and main landing gear developed a reputation for this).

Almost always, I got some sort of comment from the backseat about my landing.


Although he did not fly one of the F-4Gs to Bahrain, Dave Lucia described his technique for taking gas thusly:

In the F-4, the canopy bow was right in your line of sight for looking at the tanker and gauging your reference points. Id run my seat up higher than normal to be able to see over the bow just prior to the AAR (air to air refueling).

Id move into pre-contact position about 50 feet below the tanker, matching the tankers speed and heading, then once stabilized and cleared into contact either via the radio if in peacetime or via visual signals if working under EMCON (emission conditions no radio transmissions).

The boomer would then plug into the jet and Id adjust my rearview mirror on the canopy bow to see the apple, a bright orange plastic ball on the boom just ahead of the end of the boom itself. If I kept that centered in the mirror, I knew I stayed within the limits of the boom and could stay on there with constant, minor control inputs.

Some of the tricks Schreiner used to get gas were similar.

Id run my seat up high to see the director lights above the bow and use the mirrors to fly the apple. Unfortunately for me, when I ran the seat up, it was hard for me to reach the rudder pedals.

If I was down to around 3,000lbs of fuel (aircraft fuel is measured in pounds, not gallons. This convention makes it easier to do fuel burn/flight time remaining calculations vital to the relatively short-legged fighters) it could take nearly ten minutes to fill both the internal and three external bags.

Id have to keep trimming during that time as the AOA (angle of attack essentially the angle between where the wing is pointing and where it is going) keeps increasing.
Eventually, the AOA could become so great that the leading edge slats (airfoils on the outer leading edges of the F-4s wing, used to increase lift at slow speeds) would deploy automatically. Because they deployed so quickly, the jets pitch changed drastically and it was easy to overcorrect into a PIO (pilot induced oscillation) and fall off the boom. Since getting gas and getting out of the way so the next guy could plug in is your goal, this is not a good thing to have happen.

Id usually manually lock the slats in prior to AAR to avoid that happening. I learned about that the hard way during the war. Nobody had told me about it, and Id never taken on that much gas during training so didnt see it then either.

Anyway, as we got topped off, the three full lights on the canopy bow would illuminate once the externals were full and they didnt fill until the internal tanks were full, so you knew you were crammed with as much as you could take. Once I got the three lights, Id disconnect and drop down to assume tactical formation again off the tankers wing."
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 17:58
  #28 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Bury St. Edmunds
Age: 61
Posts: 539

The anwser is yes! The combined harness with koch fasteners, US "water wings", and everything else that went with it. Even US flying suits (for a time at least)...

G trousers remained British....but they were probably a copy of a USAF issue anyway!

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Old 26th Feb 2009, 18:02
  #29 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Over Will's mother's, and climbing
Age: 64
Posts: 333
Thanks, MB.

Do you know who painted the tiger's head on many of the Gentex helmets? I've got one, and would never part with it!
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 21:43
  #30 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 3
Pharewell Phantom Party

Anyone here survive the Pharewell party at Wattersham, I think it was spring 92 (those brain cells must have died as a result). A bunch of us came up from RAF Woodbridge. The best party I can barely remember. Things that stick out are the home made bangers the size of Mk-82s flying around the club, the mini races around the HAS's, not sure how many pianos were burned and finally, the Aussie impressing the girls by flossing his huge nose with a condom, oh, and meeting the girl who did the talk downs at Marham and being pleased to see she had the looks to go with that beautiful voice. Anyway, we didn't manage to stagger home until sometime the next morning, needless to say there were more than a few pissed off wives. One of our chaps even got home to find a suitcase sitting out on the front step and the door securly locked.
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 21:56
  #31 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Erehwon
Posts: 1,147
I remember pitching up in Albert to Wattisham, Leuchars etc to take the 'tooms' off to APC (holidays . . .)

I've never and I mean NEVER seen an aircraft that looked so damned business-like parked on the ASP. It looked mean, and capable and BEAUTIFUL.

I mourn that we don't see them any more - from a spectator's viewpoint, it was a great (big) aircraft.
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Old 27th Feb 2009, 01:07
  #32 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Scotland
Posts: 243
As a kid in Coningsby (68-74) we always knew when the "American" Phantoms were in town. The first thing was the distinctive screech/howl as they joined the pattern. Once we heard that we'd look up to see the smoke (plenty of it!). They also had the gun muzzle below the nose. Lastly, the cam paint job was different, so they were easy to spot. Airfield beat ups seemed common and it was standard to hear the whummmfff as a pair arrived on the break almost simultaneous with the sound.

I lived on Main Site (Overton Road) and a very regular occurence was the passing of flat bed trucks with their loads on the way to the engine bay in Woodhall Spa. We used to cycle there to go swimming, four miles there and four back. These days many people would consider that too far to even drive. Anyone remember the 'Kinema in the Woods'. I remember the great excitement when the file Battle of Britain came out and we all made our way there to see it.

Visiting the flight sim (Snoopy and The Red Baron, IIRC) we were fascinated to see the large relief model of the countryside around Coningsby, including Tattershall Castle, with the cine camera that moved over it on a rig above the model, so quaint when you think of the CGY flight sims these days but probably state of the art for that time.

I'd lie in bed at night and watch the night flying take offs and landings. The noise on take off was so loud that the windows shook, but it was fantastic all the same. School hols were spent at the 'crash gates' taking serials. The best feelings of all were on a cold day when the smell and heat of warm parrafin wafted over us a few seconds after the planes had passed. Best of all though, was if the crew had given us a cheery wave as they passed.

It wasn't uncommon to see four and even eight ships taking off, four at a time. I even remember real big occasions when we saw 16 aircraft go off, four at a time. These were days when you could see at any time and in no particular order, Phantoms, Jet Provosts, Jaguars, Harriers, Vulcans, Hercules, Andovers, F104 Starfighters (various nationalities), A10s, F111s (have I missed any?), but the airfield was closed enough on Sundays for us to fly our aero model gliders and planes.

Accidents seemed to be much more frequent in those days and I seem to remember the Station CO, Gp Capt B***e, and his rear seater coming to grief in collision with a crop dusting aircraft not far from the airfield.

On the ground a kid arrived in my class at Coningsby Junior school one day. He spoke with a weird accent and talked about living in "duplex" houses. After school that day his Dad met him at the gates looking like nobody we'd ever seen. An American exchange pilot, he wore a chip poke hat (with a real crew cut, which you never saw in Britain in those days), a very trim olive green flying suit, great long laced up boots that his flying suit tucked into, but his badges were the coollest. It's a long time ago now, but I think I remember Vietnam patches "50 missions over Vietnam"; "100 missions over Vietnam"; and I think "150 missions over Vietnam".

This set me thinking. At the height of the war, as this was, it's surely inconceivable that the Air Force didn't take the chance to do exchanges in the opposite direction with a view to RAF crew flying live combat missions in the Vietnam War. Can anyone comment?

Years later, married with children I was reminiscing with the family of what we did during school hols in Coningsby. Bearing in mind the village names around Coningsby, I told them I had a school friend who lived in New York and I used to cycle there to see him during the holidays. Somehow it sounded stranger when I said it than it was in real life!
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Old 27th Feb 2009, 01:59
  #33 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Cumbria
Posts: 42
Aux Air Doors

The Aux Air Doors, upper and lower, were open at lower speeds, and were used in conjunction with an annular ring type valve which surrounded the intake duct, just in front of the engine. They closed automatically at, if I remember correctly, 240 kts. I seem to remember that the flaps would retract automatically at this speed too, if they had been forgotten by the pilot! But it is a long time ago, I left 43 in Nov '84!
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Old 27th Feb 2009, 11:41
  #34 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Asia's Fine City
Posts: 462
Nearest I ever came to being really close to one, aside from "At Home Days" behind a fence, was last year at the Palm Springs Museum in Ca. Think it was an F4D. Static a/c minus engines in the pound getting ready for a refurb.

I discovered the port side retractable ladder. Of course I had to climb up and have a look inside. And of course the Missus had to have a look too. Got some ear ache when her pants got dirty but it was worth it. Wonderful to walk around it and "feel" it. The a/c has so much presence.

Was the same ladder present on the F4K/F4M ?

I can highly recommend that museum if enyone is over there. A very nice TBM is also on display in FAA markings.
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Old 27th Feb 2009, 14:01
  #35 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 887
Yes to the ladder question.

Regarding multi-ship take-offs, in my early days on the F-4 we used to do 3-ship 'Vic' take-offs. I was one of a flight to spend a few days at Spangdahlem with a USAF F-4D outfit on a radar bombing contest (which we won!) and the Yanks hadn't been allowed to do Vic take-offs for years, if ever. When I found this out one evening I proudly announced that we would do one or more the next day for their benefit. First message we got that morning from RAFG was that Vic take-offs had been outlawed because - we understood - some barely-current wingco had just made a pig's ear of one, nearly clobbering the leader in the process, and had blamed the aircraft rather than his own ineptitude. So that was the end of that particular era. As it happens, a Vic was no more difficult that a standard pairs take-off and even more impressive.
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Old 27th Feb 2009, 14:12
  #36 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Posts: 1,397
Only problem with the Vic take-off could occur in crosswinds if the downwind wingman dropped back during the roll. Getting into the leader's slipstream at lift-off was enough to soil the pants and get the Nav into a real huffy fit! Best leave that one for the dead sparrows.
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Old 27th Feb 2009, 14:33
  #37 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Over Will's mother's, and climbing
Age: 64
Posts: 333
They wouldn't allow it today but one of the most impressive F4 displays was a mock attack at dusk on the arena during the Colchester Searchlight Tattoo in August 1988.

At the stroke of 2115, with a land 'battle' raging in the floodlit arena, two 74 Sqn Phantoms flew low across the town from the north, 'attacked' the arena flashing their navigation lights and then stood on their tails, afterburners lit, and disappeared. I hope the crews enjoyed it as much as we did on the ground.

I recall were a number of complaints from local mums who'd been trying to get their kids off to sleep. Diddums.

What a spectacle, unequalled methinks in any other UK town. I've been trying to track down the official Tattoo video ever since. Any ideas?
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Old 27th Feb 2009, 15:18
  #38 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Asia's Fine City
Posts: 462
Could similar be from where the comment "bomb the lot and let God sort 'em out" comes from ?

Once heard from a ex F4 jock cousin.

Impressive display, notwithstanding.
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Old 28th Feb 2009, 10:38
  #39 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 16
IAT at Bournemouth - late 1980's.

Monday lunchtime all aircraft have departed apart from single F4 parked northside in the static park. Pilot hasn't seen his Nav since Saturday evening. Nav eventually rolls up and F4 taxies for departure.

Unrestricted climb coordinated by us in ATC and aircraft requests single circuit before departing. Aircraft disappears into the gloom as it commences a low level circuit to the north. It appears less than a minute later on the centreline for 26 at Hurn at very high speed. Best beat up I have ever seen - and I had seen a fair few. All vortices and moisture effect in the damp air. Pulls up into the overcast and climbs as vertically as a Phantom can climb. Even remember the callsign -4OM33.
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Old 28th Feb 2009, 12:25
  #40 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: England
Posts: 36
Oh dear! Just when you thought it was safe your memory banks are fired up again by a post! Wildenrath 1978 ish.....I remember one evening in winter It was just about dark and we had an F4 returning from Deci. We were on the westerly runway. The aircraft was just about down when the reheat came on and it did a very slow overshoot. The pilot had taken the steel hawser that was the upper cable of the barrier across both his main wheels and actually pulled out one of the stanchions. The reheat set fire to the vertical strips as he climbed slowly towards the flats on the Wassenberg road. We thought he was going straight for the Heinsberg ejecting area but he called for an undercarriage inspection and turned downwind. As he came by the tower nice and slow and low we lit the FGIs for a better look. I remember seeing the aircraft coming up the taxiway past 60 Sqn hangar with one of the steel hawser ends whipping along the taxiway creating a load of sparks and a met man running out of the met office towards the taxiway for a better look. He obviously decided, quite late, the he didn't want to be decapitated and and ran back to the relative safety of the Ops building. As the aircraft came by the tower we got a good look at the mess around the wheels and informed the pilot of the situation. Give him his due - he seemed pretty sanguine about it and went off towards the east - we thought to eject. Not so - he dumb-belled back and took the downwind cable! A good end. There was some discussion for a few weeks after the event that they had considered jumping over the side but the nav was festooned with train sets from Deci and couldn't do it. Pure speculation I suppose. At the subsequent Inquiry blame was initially laid completely on the controller for raising the approach barrier into the standby position. However, the pilot did not see any red light showing into the approach that would identify the barrier was up. He was adamant that the barrier was down and was indicating down in the tower. Anyway, to cut a long story short the finding was reviewed because the was a spate at the time of several incidents notified with barriers self raising into the standby position. Anyway, just another F4 musing.............
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