|1959 F-4S(J) Phantom II
|Dependant upon tow vehicle
|16 feet 10 inches
|10 feet 3 inches
|Rolling Static Display
|On loan from National Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola, FL
This particular plane, a two-place reconnaissance and training version, was a derelict at NAS Alameda, abandoned to die ungracefully with its rear fuselage and wings missing. Museum member Wayne King spotted it there and convinced the Navy to release it as surplus, then brought it back on a trailer. With a lot of time, expense, and creativity, he and Gary Ryan restored the basket-case into an attractive trailerable "photo-op" display, painted to honor the Blue Angels. The cockpit can easily be transported to various civic events where it always draws a crowd. Most recently it was found at the initial weekend showing for the latest Top Gun movie.
This particular aircraft had multiple lives, having spent time as a McDonnell F-4J-36-MC Phantom, then converted to an F-4S. It last served at NAS North Island before the forward section was transferred on loan to Estrella Warbirds Museum, October 16, 2004. Pictured above, the F-4S(J) is shown while assigned to VF-31 Tomcatters. Robery Royes, Plane Captain is shown sitting on the nose while aboard the USS Saratoga.
Since its arrival, it's been restored several times after taking a beating in the desert heat. Its current condition was most recently updated by the Estrella Warbirds Museum Middle &High School Youth Group. Several even passed their pilot's license while part of the youth group! Awesome job guys and gals!
The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is an American tandem two-seat, twin-engine, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor and fighter-bomber originally developed by McDonnell Aircraft for the United States Navy. Proving highly adaptable, it first entered service with the Navy in 1961 before it was adopted by the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force, and by the mid-1960s it had become a major part of their air arms. Phantom production ran from 1958 to 1981 with a total of 5,195 aircraft built, making it the most produced American supersonic military aircraft in history, and cementing its position as an iconic combat aircraft of the Cold War.
The Phantom is a large fighter with a top speed of over Mach 2.2. It can carry more than 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 initially designed without an internal cannon. Later models incorporated an 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.
The F-4 was used extensively during the Vietnam War. It served as the principal air superiority fighter for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps and became important in the ground-attack and aerial reconnaissance roles late in the war. During the Vietnam War, one U.S. Air Force pilot, two weapon systems officers (WSOs), one U.S. Navy pilot and one radar intercept officer (RIO) became aces by achieving five aerial kills against enemy fighter aircraft. 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 Fighting Falcon in the U.S. Air Force, the F-14 Tomcat in the U.S. Navy, and the F/A-18 Hornet in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.