Details Of The F-4 Phantom Phinale – Final Flight And Retirement Ceremony Date Set

posted in: Military, Popular Posts | 17

QF-4 Phantom II - Aviation Nation Airshow 2016 - Nellis AFB

We’ve been talking about it nearly all year, and now the details of the F-4 Phantom II’s final flight in US military service are being made public. Holloman AFB, where the remaining F-4s of the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron (Det 1) reside, has announced that they will fly for the last time on December 21st, 2016. Luckily, the ceremony will be open to members of the public who wish to see this legendary fighter roar into the skies one last time.

Details from the announcement:
8 am – La Luz Gate** opens to attendees (attendees will be directed to designated parking areas and then bused to the event)
8 am – Community expo opens to include static aircraft such as the QF-4 and QF-16
10 am – F-4 Phantom II takeoff and final flight (tentative)
11:30 am-12 pm – F-4 Phantom II retirement ceremony
1 pm – Event conclusion

**The La Luz gate is the only gate open for non-DOD cardholders and public access.

We are working on getting details about the actual flying, but previous discussions of the event have included talk of a four-ship formation as well as supersonic passes. It seems likely that other units at the base will be conducting flight operations during the open house, so there may be some bonus action to see.

It’s important to note that attendees must RSVP with the 49th Wing Public Affairs office by calling 575-572-7381 or by emailing RSVPs may be accepted through their Facebook page as well. Also, large bags and containers will be prohibited due to security concerns. No word yet on what constitutes a ‘large’ bag, but plan accordingly.

Further updates will be posted to the event Facebook page.

See also:
Mighty F-4 Phantoms To Roar Into EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016
Just FIVE Public Appearances Remain For USAF F-4 Phantoms, Including Final Flight Event In December
QF-4 Phantoms To Perform Flyover At Sunday’s NASCAR Race in Texas
Phantom Finale: The Last Remaining USAF F-4 Pilot On The End Of A Legend

17 Responses

    • Doc Ward

      Yes, you are right. Japan, Iran, South Korea, and Turkey still have the Phantom in their armed forces. Israel tried to make their own Phantom, the IAI Super Phantom, which was as good as the F-18 Hornet in every direction, but it was shut down by McDonnell Douglas out of fear of economic shortage. Other nations still have the plane, but not in active service.

  1. Rick

    Japan, S.Korea, Greece, Iran. I hsd hesrd that Turkey was standing down after their last crash. Collings Foundation F-4D

  2. Jeannie Beckers

    Wish my love, Lt/Col Lyle L. Beckers, was still alive to see and be here.
    In 1972, he shot down two MIGs while flying this lovely machine, May
    it long be remembered with Love and War. Jeannie, Lyle’s widow.


    I was lucky enough to serve on Royal Navy Phantom F4K Squadrons from 1969 until 1977.
    Either ashore or on 892 squadron in HMS Ark Royal.
    They were the most enjoyable years of my Naval Career.
    Thank you McDonnell Douglas and Rolls Royce.

    Yours Aye
    Adrian Curnow

  4. Ken Mock

    Most Viet Nam Vets remember two comforting sound from the war
    The whap-whap of the Huey
    And the sound of a dirty smoke trailing F-4 when it blew the s— out of the bad guys

  5. Tom Finta

    I wish I could be there to say goodbye! Loved this plane! Flew over 200+ combat missions in both the B&J models and always got back aboard!

  6. Charles Haeffner

    My brother Maj/Gen Fred Haeffner took out some migs with this in Vietnam. This was back in the 60’s.

  7. Tom Lanum

    Magnificent aircraft. Flew the C,D, and E models off and on for almost 25 years, including over 250 combat missions in Vietnam. Will never forget it

    Sorry to miss the ceremony

    Tom Lanum Col USAF, Ret

  8. Dennis "Hammer" Hamrick

    I am a 60 year old ex-military aviator and civilian pilot who became an aviator at the age of 6. I have studied aviation all my life (thus far) and have taught the subject to everyone I have met, from children in kindergarten to adults years my senior. I have a pair of uncles who I consider to be heros, one died on the beaches of Normandy, the other flew B-17’s. These men, along with my father (a tank driver in the Korean conflict) were my inspiration to join the armed forces and serve my beloved country.
    Which leads me to the subject of my letter. It is with great pride, but also profound sadness that I tell you the story of what I and thousands of others consider to be one of the greatest military aviation pieces of hardware ever produced and brought into our countries inventory, the F-4 Phantom II.
    Having flown that aircraft for most of the eighties, I developed a special bond with the plane and those who flew, maintained them.
    Why the F-4 and I have this strong bond really goes beyond our service time together, it starts with our birthday’s. No really, my birthday is 27 May, 1956. The F-4 commissioning date (military hardware’s equivalent of a birthday), the day it started it’s career is 27 May, 1958. We were meant to be together in service to our country.
    The F-4 Phantom II (and several other great airplanes) was built by McDonnell Douglas aircraft and was designed by engineers who for the most part were still using slide rules more than computers. It would become the most prolific fighter jet ever with nearly 5200 produced. It would be flown by every branch of the armed service that flew fighter aircraft, and would serve longer than any other jet fighter plane before it or since. It held many aviation records during its history, and now needs your help to achieve its greatest and record of all.
    If we could keep one F-4 commissioned and flying until 27 May, 2018 it will set a record that will never be broken. It will have the honor of being the only aircraft in military aviation history to achieve 60 years of continuous service.
    Sadly, there is an event about to take place that I cannot attend at Holloman AFB that may in fact conclude the F-4’s iconic journey short of the 60 year mark.
    My dear wife of forty years has had to have three brain surgeries this year, two of them in the last three weeks, so I won’t be able to return to see the retirement ceremony for my friend the F-4. So I’m asking you all to help me launch a campaign through social media, to see if we can’t get this war hero to its 60th birthday.

    God bless you all, our country, our men and women of our armed forces who serve currently and have served in the past.
    Thanks for listening, keep’em flying.
    Dennis K. “Hammer” Hamrick
    Former Captain USAF/ILANG 170th TFS/183 TFG

  9. David Nowell

    I will always remember how the F-4 save my life in Vietnam!
    Lt Dave ” DOC” Nowell USN

  10. Capt. Dave Hinton

    Does anyone know what happened to Navy Lt. John Hummel. He flew F-4’s starting in 1964. The last I heard, he was heading to Vietnam.

  11. Benjamin A. Woods

    It’s a shame, really… the F-4 Phantom II was such an incredible plane. I’d really hate to see it go.

    • Bob "4-point" Donze

      Thanks for sharing the F4 memories. Mine started sitting on a tractor fender as a young child with my father cullivating corn south of McDonnell Douglas in the 50’s. An test F4 was doing the low-level speed Mach run at treetop probably before the total temp probe was installed in the intakes. My father told the story that I looked up at him an pointed to the F4 and asked, God?” A church concept that I was wrapping my head around at the time. Later, I was blessed to become a F4E IP in both the 18TFS and the 43TFS. I was on takeoff at Elmendorf AFB , gear up when the total temp probe line cracked and immediately shut down fuel control units (as it was designed to do… …melt down as softest medal in the intake at low alt high speed to slow aircraft down). I violated BOLDFACE and immediately hit gear and tailhook handles down, then stick full aft and called for “Standby for ejection” as the hook grabbed the departure cable as 3 green came on before the words “EJECT, EJECT, EJECT” came out. The sound of the cable noise stopping an over-Max gross weight waivered PavedSpike bird is clear in my mind today. The investigation found the total temp probe crack caused the engine EGTs to snap to zero. The three previously unresolved F4G MISHAPS and the 5 aircrew lost were resolved and the fleet fixed. Then, I got to finish my career in another McDonnell Douglas bird, flew F15s in 555TTS, 43TFS, 94TFS, LANG, 57TFS, and the privilege of being an F15 SQ CC when both maintenance and ops were one squadron. I loved both McDonnell Douglas aircraft but the F4E in a vertical knife fight will always be most clear in my mind. She was my dream come true for a kid growing up on a low-income farm family after seeing that first F4 break super sonic across the Mississippi River fields. The worst memory is seeing a beautiful F4 instantly disappear into the AK mountain face on a 540kts 100′ low-level. Bless all those that flew her and never landed, combat and training.

  12. Sgt.Nathan D. Fochtmann

    Served in Bham. the 70’s in the Air Guard. Worked on the F 4’s and hate to learn they are retiring but we all have too !

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