EXCLUSIVE: Helmet Cam Footage Of Two F-4 Phantoms Over The Grand Canyon

posted in: Featured Videos, Military | 0

Phantom’s-Eye View!

It’s no secret that the F-4 Phantom is a favorite of airshow fans everywhere, but with 2016 being the final year for the venerable Phantom in the US military inventory, the opportunity to see one flying is now even more rare. Once it returns from maintenance, the Collings Foundation F-4 will be the only one flying in the US. Throughout the year, we here at AirshowStuff have covered the “Phantom Phinale” tour with photos, videos, and cockpit cameras. We are now excited to bring you this exclusive helmet-cam video of the last departure of the QF-4E Phantoms from Nellis Air Force Base after Aviation Nation 2016!

You get a pilot’s-eye view as Lt. Col. Ron “Elvis” King and Lt. Col. (Ret.) Jim “WAM” Harkins depart Nellis AFB back to Holloman AFB after their final airshow performance prior to the retirement ceremony in December. After a formation takeoff, you’ll see the two Phantoms meet up with a photoship T-33 for some brief formation flying before heading over the Grand Canyon. Once over the Grand Canyon, you’ll see the two Phantom pilots make the most of their flight with some playful flying over some of the most spectacular landscapes nature has to offer. You won’t see this footage anywhere else, so strap in to the cockpit, adjust your helmet, put the player on full screen, and enjoy this HD video to the fullest!

Check back later for some additional cockpit footage taken during the airshow!

-Justin Miner

SEE ALSO: F-4 Phantom II Demo and Heritage Flight with F-15 and P-51 – Dayton Airshow 2007

QF-4E Phantom IIF-4 Phantom Heritage Flight

QF-4 Phantoms To Perform Flyover At Sunday’s NASCAR Race in Texas

posted in: Flyovers | 0

USAF QF-4 Phantom IIs
This Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway will have a special treat – two QF-4 Phantoms for the pre-race flyover!

The flyover is scheduled for 2:02 pm eastern, 1:02 central time before the start of the race.

The QF-4s will base out of the Fort Worth/Alliance Airport, about 14 miles north of Fort Worth and very close to the Texas Motor Speedway. Expect them to arrive on Friday, November 4th.

If you live in the area, you may want to head out to catch the Phantom one last time. It’s possible the pilots may do some low approaches on arrival and departure!

What’s it like to flyover thousands of people in a QF-4? Find out in our RideAlong video below from Oshkosh!

Just FIVE Public Appearances Remain For USAF F-4 Phantoms, Including Final Flight Event In December

posted in: Airshows, Military, Popular Posts | 60
USAF F-4 Phantom Departure
USAF F-4 Phantoms departed EAA AirVenture Oshkosh for the last time this July.

Update: 9/20/16 – Although the Fort Worth Alliance Airshow asked to be removed from this post last week, we have reconfirmed that two Phantoms plan to attend the show and have re-added it to the schedule.

We have already reported that 2016 is the final year for USAF-operated F-4 Phantoms, but we are happy to report that they will go out with a public celebration of their service. As announced by F-4 pilot Ron ‘Elvis’ King at EAA AirVenture, there are plans to fly the last remaining F-4s in Holloman Air Force Base on December 20th this year. He estimates that four Phantoms will take part in the event. There will be multiple flybys and some supersonic flying, as well as a Phinal Phantom formation of four F-4s.

The aircraft will also be making several other public appearances this year before this final send off. The most recent plans include just four stops; three of them airshows and one a NASCAR race flyover. As always, and especially with these old jets, the appearances are subject to change at any time due to weather, mechanical issues, or operational scheduling.

16-19 Sep – Reno, NV
23-26 Sep – MCAS Miramar, CA
14-17 Oct – Ft. Worth Alliance, TX
6 Nov – NASCAR Sprint Cup Flyby at Texas Motor Speedway
10-14 Nov – Nellis AFB, NV

Holloman Air Force Base is located near Alamogordo, New Mexico and is home to multiple flight groups such as F-16s of the 54th Fighter Group and the German Air Force Flying Training Center of the German Luftwaffe.

The Phantoms at Holloman Air Force Base are QF-4 Phantom target drones. As of EAA AirVenture 2016, 20 QF-4s remained in inventory. Not all of them will be completely destroyed, but members of the QF-4 program were told that they will need to get rid of the Phantoms one way or another. Once they are gone, the only remaining F-4 Phantom that will be airworthy in the United States is the one owned by the Collings Foundation, which has had mechanical issues for several years.

USAF F-4 PhantomUSAF F-4 Phantom

The date is currently tentative and is subject to change, but the pilots want to get the word out. So mark your calendars; USAF F-4 Phantoms will have one last hurrah in New Mexico before signing off for good this December.

For those who can’t make it, rest assured that AirshowStuff will have plenty of F-4 footage coming, including more exclusive cockpit footage!

Mighty F-4 Phantoms To Roar Into EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016

posted in: Airshows, Military | 1

USAF F-4 Phantom II - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Prepare to feel the roar of the Phantom at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016!

AirshowStuff has learned that plans have been finalized for not one but two mighty F-4 Phantoms to appear at the 2016 EAA AirVenture airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The plan is for both aircraft to fly in from Holloman AFB in New Mexico as a two ship formation. They will arrive Monday and depart on Thursday, with hopefully some flybys each time. Of course plans can always change, so stay tuned to AirshowStuff for any further updates we get.

As we reported in May, this is likely the final year for the F-4 in USAF service. At that time 21 of the QF-4 drone aircraft remained but some have certainly been shot down since. The program will likely come to an end before the calendar hits 2017.

Luckily, there are still a few airshows left where you will hopefully be able to see one of this legendary jets for yourself. Watch our interview with the QF-4 detachment commander and likely final USAF F-4 pilot, “Elvis” King, below to hear more.

Behind The Scenes At EAA AirVenture With DTG Pyrotechnics

posted in: Airshows, Event Recap, Miscellaneous | 1

USMC AV-8B Harrier II Twilight Demonstration - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Some air shows around the country feature a night show in their lineup. We all go for the afterburners and lit-up aircraft streaking across the dark sky, but what show would be complete without a fireworks closer? Those beautiful works of fiery aerial artistry make for a nightly spectacle worth waiting for (and some awesome photo opportunities too!). For this year’s EAA AirVenture, the cool crew of DTG Pyrotechnics were in charge of the firework shows throughout the event and they invited us out with them for a peek at how they pull off their dazzling displays.

For the Saturday night show, I met up with the team at their staging area on the east side of the airport. Inside the hangar, the team was busy making final preparations for the show ahead. There the leader of this cool outfit, Dion Diehl, huddled everyone together to go over last minute checks and planning. Afterwards, Jason Strazishar gave me a tour of the multiple semis in their convoy, and what an impressive sight it was. Each truck towed a flatbed rigged with dozens of batteries all containing carefully placed and organized mortars, cakes, and other aerials.

DTG Fireworks - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 DTG Fireworks - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Now, there’s a certain way to execute a stellar fireworks display. At the base of it all, each firework consists of a shell, or an aerial item that is fired into the sky. However, not all fireworks are designed the same; certain types produce certain effects. For example, a mortar is a paper or plastic tube containing a shell with a long fuse. The shell has a lift charge on the bottom that helps propel it into the air. Cakes are an item that has a single fuse which is used to light several tubes in sequence. The set piece is a ground item consisting of many colored lances that is used to draw a picture.

DTG Fireworks - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 DTG Fireworks - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Regardless of the type, each item needs a source of ignition for their fuses before they can be launched into the sky. Enter the “squib”, or electric match. The 1-in long, 1/4-in wide device consists of a small nickel-chromium wire with a pyrogen coating. An electrical current causes the nickel-chromium wire to heat up, igniting the pyrogen and starting the fuse. Each squib is hooked up to a very thin and very long wire that runs to a hub that is then connected to the control terminal. It is there that the real magic is worked.

DTG Fireworks - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Dion had spent dozens of hours coding the show to flow exactly how he wanted it. From his program, he could set certain shots to launch together and independently with incredible precision. This also allows for each shell to be monitored for connection to the control terminal to ensure all are ready to go and no wires or connections are cut. Each squib carries an ID that can be controlled and organized within DTG’s performance timeline. So imagine, if you will, the amount of shells one can fit to a single battery aboard a large flatbed trailer and multiply that a few times. That’s a lot to setup and organize in coding alone. But when it’s all said and done, and done properly, the display is truly a spectacle to behold.

With a final look-over and check by the team, the convoy was ready to roll out. There was a gap in the AirVenture performance schedule to allow the team to set up for the night show. The team moved out and began setting up their trailers in the grass on either side of taxiway A2 along runway 18-36. They shared the field with the Tora! Tora! Tora! pyro team who were in charge of the wall of fire that would conclude the night show. At show center on A2 was the trailer carrying the set piece. Once everything was in place, the team began to quickly run the thousands of feet of wire between each trailer together, and prepared to run it all across the runway to the control terminal once the flying had concluded.

USMC AV-8B Harrier II Twilight Demonstration - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 F-100 Super Sabre Air Force Warbird Jet AirVenture Oshkosh
USAF F-4 Phantom II Twilight Demonstration - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015F-100 Super Sabre Twilight Performance - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Once the flying resumed, it was again time to wait. Luckily, it is not hard to wait when you have the best seat in the house for twilight demonstrations of the USMC AV-8B Harrier, F-100 Super Sabre, and USAF F-4 Phantom II along with the various night time aerobatic performances. But after the sun had set and the last aircraft was safely on the ground, it was back to work with only a little time to get it ready.

USMC AV-8B Harrier II Twilight Demonstration - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015USMC AV-8B Harrier II Twilight Demonstration - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

It was a rush to get everything organized, people in place, the terminal connected, and to start the show. Though, when it kicked off, it kicked off with a bang. Particularly with a series of what are referred to as “pants-fillers,” or explosives that are meant to create a loud, attention-getting bang. And for those not prepared for their detonation, well, the name implies the result. When things started up, I booked it from the trailer on A2 down the taxiway to the semis and caught the show from the other side as best I could. There’s something to be said for the factor of proximity and its affect on the entertainment of the show. Being further back for Wednesday night’s show allowed me to capture nearly the whole arc of the aerial display, while being closer in made photos far more challenging but sent the enjoyment factor through the roof.

DTG Fireworks - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 DTG Fireworks - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

When the wall of fire finale went off, I packed up my equipment and went back out onto the taxiway. There were small fires where pyrotechnics and once been that were being tended to, debris of every kind littered along the whole length of the taxiway, and plenty of smiles after another successful show. While my work had ended for the night, the crew of DTG still had plenty left to do as far as cleaning and packing up.

With a nice farewell, a lonely stroll across the runway back to the crowd line, and a moment of silent sentiment shared with a solitary F-4, I concluded my AirVenture experience and my time with DTG Pyrotechnics. The DTG team are a proficient and professional team with plenty of skill and chum to share. I look forward to crossing paths with them again and hope to see their dazzling displays again at future AirVentures.

P-38 Lightning and Fireworks - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Thank you to Jason Strazishar for contacting us with this grand opportunity, and to Dion and the rest of the DTG crew allowing me to come experience how a professional pyrotechnic show is done. You can connect with the DTG team by liking their Facebook page.

USAF F-4 Phantom II To Appear At Wings Over Wayne Airshow?

posted in: Airshows, Military | 3

F-4 Phantom II

Might airshow fans get a few more glimpses of F-4 Phantom IIs before they are gone for good? An interesting line in the Wings Over Wayne Airshow at Seymour-Johnson AFB in North Carolina (which hosted F-4s until 1988) certainly begs the question. The airshow’s schedule mentions an F-4 flyby, and the static list also includes an F-4 in the ‘warbirds’ section. The Goldsboro Daily News also lists a QF-4 Phantom as both an aerial performer and static display at the show. However, the official Wings Over Wayne Twitter account makes no mention of a Phantom, which would presumably be a highlight worthy of mentioning.

The USAF painted several of its QF-4 Phantoms, modified to fly without a pilot to serve as targets in missile tests, in special commemorative paint schemes years ago and allowed them to perform mini demonstrations and Heritage Flights at airshows. However, the program was known to be temporary and each year brought promises that it would be the last. Now that nearly all of the QF-4s have been shot down, the USAF has begun transitioning to QF-16s for the same role. Any QF-4s left will have extremely limited support and likely life spans to match. The Collings Foundation does operate an F-4 Phantom as a private aircraft, but it is a rare sight at airshows due to engine problems and its immense cost.