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

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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

WATCH: Thunder And Smoke From TWO F-4 Phantoms Flying Together At AirVenture 2016

Feel The Thunder!

The F-4 Phantom is now gone from the active United States Air Force inventory, but you can still see the Phabulous Phantom in this great video from the AirshowStuff.com team. Retired in December of 2016, the F-4 Phantom made its final rounds of the airshow circuit that year as a Pharewell to a much-beloved aircraft. Watch as Lt. Col. Ron “Elvis” King and Lt. Col (Ret.) Jim “WAM” Harkins show the crowd at AirVenture 2016 that the Phantom still has the moves.

You can almost feel the thunder in your chest from the J-79 jet engines as the two pilots roar past on takeoff. See the characteristic smoke trails that gave the Phantom one of it’s many nicknames of “Old Smokey”. You’ll see smoke, the flames from the afterburners, and hear that incredible roar as these legends of airpower fly overhead. This video will thrill any Phantom Phanatic and remind you of how Phantastic the F-4 Phantom truly was.

Built by McDonnell Douglas, the Phantoms served the US Air Force, US Navy, and US Marines from the 1950’s all the way into the 2000’s with many different variants. The F-4 Phantom was a formidable fighter/bomber and even a very capable reconnaissance platform that served from land-based airfields as well as aircraft carriers, and served in nearly every conflict from Vietnam to Desert Storm. Select full screen and turn up the volume to experience this awesome piece of history in full HD!

-Justin Miner

SEE ALSO: F-4 Phantom Helmet Cam – Two-Ship Airshow Demo and Departure – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016

USAF F-4 PhantomUSAF F-4 Phantom

Phantom Finale: The Last Remaining USAF F-4 Pilot On The End Of A Legend

USAF F-4 Phantom II Afterburner Takeoff

It goes without saying that the McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom II has had an incredible impact on American aviation, one that carries it into modern aviation legend. One of the most iconic aircraft ever built, nearly everyone involved with aviation and the military has a story relating to the F-4. Unfortunately this American classic is rapidly approaching its final days*, at least in the US.

In April of 1996, the last operational US Air Force/Air National Guard F-4 flight was conducted, marking the end of the Phantom II’s active career. It continued to serve its country as a remotely-piloted target drone, but now even that mission is coming to an end. We met up with likely the last ever USAF F-4 pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Ron “Elvis” King of the 82nd Aerial Target Squadron, Detachment 1, while he was displaying one of the 21 remaining Phantoms at the Spirit of St. Louis Air Show & STEM Expo on May 14-15 2016. Lt. Col. King was kind enough to talk with AirshowStuff about the status of the target drone program, flying the F-4, and his job overseeing the final days of the famed Phantom.

The 82nd ATS uses the QF-4 drones for full-scale aerial targets that test surface and air-to-air missiles, radar technologies, and other counter-air systems. With 21 QF-4s left in the fleet, their numbers will be dwindled down to none by the end of this year. Once the program phases out the QF-4s for the incoming Boeing-modified QF-16 Fighting Falcons, any remaining Phantoms will be de-militarized and trucked out to the bombing range in New Mexico to be used as ground targets. When asked about whether any of the aircraft will be available to museums, Lt. Col. King wasn’t able to specify, but he did mention that the QF-4Es are not a very desirable aircraft to museum collections due to the modifications.

Lt. Col. King is hoping to get the QF-4s out and around to air shows this year while they’re still around, but with only eight available aircraft and four pilots, the 82nd ATS is stretched thin for availability to attend public shows. He is looking at taking the QF-4 to EAA AirVenture, the Reno Air Races, Nellis AFB’s Aviation Nation, and the Sioux Falls Air Show later this year. Testing requirements and availability will be the ultimate determining factors in their attendance.

*The Collings Foundation does own and operate one airworthy F-4 Phantom in the US. Additionally, several foreign countries use them in active service.

For more information, watch the interview above and keep your eyes posted here and on our Facebook page!