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

posted in: Airshows, Military | 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!

60 Responses

  1. Ralph Moerschbacher

    Please try to schedule something in the east I would again love to see the phantoms fly

  2. Randy Krongard

    Sad that these Aircraft will be taken out of service…..why ? We have vintage WW2 Aircraft be flown, why not use these supremely engineered machines. Please save our heritage in aviation….we have lost too much of it already….and let’s face it, if it can still Rev up, it can still make us smile. Sincerel Randy K.

    • Glenn Brown

      Cost. WW2 aircraft are much more simplistic. You should see the inside of the central air data computer. What a cluster….

      • Jim McDede

        I suspect this will be more common with later generations of avionics/computer dependent aircraft. We no longer fly electrical, mechanical and hydraulic aircraft. Software is a game changer. The computer code and the computers (meaning their internal individual vintage electrical component piece parts) have to be maintained per the design and certification. It’s a lot easier to substitute screws, bolts, washers and fittings than it is to replace obsolete out of production digital electronc components.

  3. Tim Talbert

    Wish they would let the CAF have a couple of F4s to fly at airshows after they leave Air force service.

  4. Chris

    I too wish they don’t stop flying the F-4. My dad was a pilot of them. They are the best fighter we ever produced.

  5. Sean

    So why don’t they swap the broken Collins Phantom with a working one before they finally decommision the remaining airworthy Phantoms? Even better, let the foundation have them all for spares to keep the last one flying for as long as possible?

  6. Doug Crann

    When I lived in Jersey I would go to Warren Grove and watch the F-4’s and A-10’s using the target range…was very impressive to watch

  7. Raymond unger

    Truly a sad time for a superior plane. Ask any pilot or gib who flew them in Vietnam how many times it brought them back to base, where a different plane wouldn’t! End of an era

  8. James Kassela

    Never got a chance to fly in one, but was a maintainer. 67th TRW at Bergstrom 83-89. When F-4’s no longer fly, it will be a sad day indeed.

    • Lorri Halliday

      I was in the 924th at Bergstrom from ’85 to ’91. I miss working on these magnificent birds!

  9. Efrain (Evil Genius) Hernandez

    One of my favorite planes of all time, Such a beautiful design. Sad to see the news that it will no longer be in the air.

  10. Edward M Pate

    I would like to see these aircraft preserved and continue to fly in air shows. The ONLY aircraft used by the Navy, AF and USMC at the same time!

  11. Coyote

    For Brandon and his wise-ass comment on the drag chute – yes, that was what it was. Trust me, I have over 1,600 hours in Phantoms.

  12. RRogers

    As an Phantom Phixer, Electronic Warfare, I have to wonder why is the Air Force so set on destroying every last F4? They boast that they will all be destroyed as drones by the end of the year (next year?). It saddens me deeply.

  13. Big Block Al

    I seen many a Phantom F4 launch off the big E during my tour on her in 68. Beautiful bird and a great fighter jet. They need to be retired to a great Air Museum, my grand kids need to be able to see this bird.

    • michael

      Since when? Everytime I click on the link it show it. In fact I have been in contact with a rep from that airshow and it’s confirmed through them.

  14. Clint Moses

    The Phantom was the best fighter that would fly during my 20 year USAF career….1953-73….I flew 134 Combat Missions out of,
    Da Nang in 1967-68; 366 TFW/480th TFS…I was Steve Richie’s flight Commander; good guy, great pilot! My three months addi-
    tional duty at the Command Post was a fantastic experience….

    • joe clements

      Thanks for your service Clint. I am sure that during your time in Vietnam, it was the hardest time of your life, but you probably look back on it with great fondness now. My father spent the Vietnam years as an F-4 crew chief with USAFE, and at Hill, so I know the sound of the J-79 well!

    • Larry Warren

      Thank you for your service Clint, 432nd FMS, sheetmetal here. Just after I arrived at Udorn,Thailand, ’72,’73 , Capt. Richie shot down his fifth mig, what a day.

    • RyanS

      They are back on. Someone from the show contacted us asking to be removed but they later talked things over with the squadron and worked it out. Two F-4s will be in Fort Worth for the show!

  15. Ken Dent

    Great aircraft worked as a crew chief for 8 years at McConnell in the ANG. We had at one time over 57 Phantoms on the ramp in the middle 80’s. Lots of pilots with Vietnam experience. Sorry to see them go.

  16. Les Bartlett

    I flew the F-4 out of Danang in 70-71. Was the high lite of my flying career. As one sage pilot quipped, it was a trill just taxing.
    Will they be Vegas??

  17. Mike Brown

    Loved watching the pre-dawn four ship takeoff at Anderson AFB Guam back in the 70’s.
    A pretty sight!

  18. Bruce Smith

    I have just returned from a full day at the Reno National Championship Air Races. Not a sign of any F-4’s and no one on the show site knew anything. Any ideas on your end as to what happened?

  19. Ms. Trish

    Hello, I would like to know about all the information on the Airshow at MCAS Miramar, California on Sept 24, and Sept 25, 2016. The times and the prices for a Senior disabled person comming to this event and i need up close handicapped parking areas too. me email is (deleted)

  20. MIke Tetlow USAF Ret.

    I worked on RF-4C Phantoms at the Reno based ANG for 19 years. Love that aircraft. I was an Instrument troop and had 73 systems to maintain. Kept me busy and got to go to many areas of the worls. We took our planes to Desert Storm where we were the Eye of the Storm. It was our job to discover Saddam’s war machine and let the bombers destroy what we found. Never was a better Fighter.

  21. Dave O.

    Watching video while at Cracker Barrell with my wife. She says “Please don’t do that disgusting gesture shaking your wrist when you see pics of the F-4”. She must know I have more class than that. But cripes, it’s the F-4. What does a person do?

  22. Joe griffith

    Fine airplane. Flew 3500 hours and 285 combat missions in her. brought me home every time. Flew every model except the “G” including the Navy models. I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

  23. Stu Mosbey

    got 4200 hrs in every model built in the US(except RF4E), F4B,C,D, E,F,G,J,N,S, RF4B&C. over 1100 combat hours out of CRB and Ubon, About 5 bouts of battle damage, but never had to jump out. One rugged A/C! I’ll miss seeing (and Hearing) her.

  24. Mike Mcfadden

    I was stationed in Korea 72-73 Kun san AFB, F4 base. didn’t get to fly them but worked at base ops as air ops spec, new many of the pilots and air crews, what a great bird, enjoyed watching them take off at night looked like a rocket to the moon.

  25. Rick Bates

    I have flown lot’s of fighters but as the saying goes if you lose your virginity to a great machine there your heart will ever be. I have about 2500 hours in Ole Double Ugly, C’s, D’s, hard wing E’s, soft wing E’s,F’s, RF’s and Thunderbird E’s. Also in the YF-4E(the prototype E). Got about 400 hours of combat time in NVN. Have one more takeoff than landing…Thank you Martin Baker! I plan on seeing them at Ft Worth next month and hopefully at Holloman as well.

  26. RonM

    I will NEVER forget my almost 8 years being a Phantom Phixer. Some of the highlights included launching Chappie James several times while at Eglin, FL. But my best memory has to be my back seat ride while stationed at Elmendorf. It was July 4th 1975 and we were a 4-ship, we flew over 2 town parades at low level then we broke away from the formation and went out to the range to “play”. My pilot was an Australian exchange pilot and his attitude was “F**K IT, IT AIN’T MY AIRPLANE”. One of the best things we did was a max climb. We were at @ 25K AGL and I asked if we could do a max climb, he said we were to high for that but it was an easy fix. He pushed the nose over and we headed straight for the ground. We leveled off at around 5K AGL and he asked if I was ready. I was of course so he lit the burners and pulled back on the stick and straight up we went to about 30K AGL. I pulled 5+ G’s that day without a G-suit, I got disoriented but never passed out or got sick. I wish these old girls could continue to Phly Phorever.

  27. Nina E Newberry

    If I could have anything for Christmas I would ask to go to the Phantom Finale. I live in Kansas City, Missouri. MY Dad used to take me to Airshows when I was a very young girl. This was in France and Germany. I was hooked from the start. I am now 69 years old. The last show I went to was in July at Offutt AFB in Omaha, Nebraska. My youngest son who is 35 caught the bug from me. In August we went to the Air Force Museum in Ohio. Amazing!!! Would love to go back. In the meantime I must find a way to go to New Mexico. The f-4 has always been my favorite. Perhaps I’ll find a way.

  28. Rocco

    Being a Phantom guy since the 60’s & 70’s I had to be around them ! Well I got my wish aboard CV-59!!⚓️ An F-4 taking off in tandom on the ground is one thing! But seeing 2 side by side on the bow cats in Full burner is nothing short of spectacular !! Only the space shuttle tops that in my book lol! Nothing like the sound of a J-79!!! Long live the Phantom⚓️

    • Doc Ward

      You are right. The mcdonnell douglas f-4 phantom was definitely a pioneer of the Vietnam war, and in the times that we are living in, especially with the rarity of the airworthy phantom, it is merely not low of spectacular. I myself personally saw two of them in Little Rock AFB in 2012, and I too will never forget it, especially their heritage flight with a P-47.

      (Whisper) if you ever want to see my photos or witness report of the Airpower Arkansas LRAFB air show, email me.

  29. Roger

    Anybody know if spectators will be allowed on base, or is it over the fence viewing?

  30. Doc Ward

    Sad times for all Phantom lovers. I myself have the F-4 as my favorite fighter of Vietnam. We’ll miss it.

    (Whisper) Love the photo. Wonder when you’ll post the EAA Airventure Oshkosh 2016 Photo Album

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