|The McDonnell F4H-1 Phantom II
| It all started in 1954 when the US Navy asked McDonnell Aircraft to design an aircraft to fill their needs for a twin engine attack fighter. What they got turned into one of the greatest air weapons the Navy had ever used.
Originally the aircraft was in the attack category and was referred to as the "AH-1". Later after some changes in specifications, its primary role became a long-range, all-weather fleet defense interceptor, and so its designation became F4H-1.
The first test flight was on 27 May 1958 in YF4H-1 BUNO 142259 and was a resounding success. The F4H-1 aircraft family quickly made several speed and altitude records, sealing its future as a superior fighter destined to make history. The next 16 aircraft built were referred to as pre-production aircraft, and in 1961 the Navy re-designated them as F4H-1F's.
Later, they were again re-designated as F-4A's.
The Phantom II demonstrated its abilities in speed, agility, weapons variations, mission changes, and the pilots loved to fly the massive, smoking beast. It was one of the only aircraft that three services flew at the same time. The Navy, Marines and Air Force all purchased the Phantoms, and proved their outstanding performance time and time again.
In its long history, over 50 countries also flew the Phantom, and some still fly them today.
The first use of the Phantom in combat was in Vietnam. Replacing the older F-100's and F-105's, the F-4 became the workhorse fighter-bomber of the air war. The first Phantoms arrived in 1965 and by the wars end in 1973, they accounted for 141 kills out of 197 Migs destroyed. The F-4 was robust and could take a beating and still make it home. Its familiar sound thundering overhead singled it out of all other aircraft.
In 1991, Desert Storm saw the Phantom in what would be its last war, as it was being replaced by the F-15, F-16 and F-18. This would bring to an end its carreer as one of the geatest fighters ever built.
The "Rhino" found its way into the heart and soul of its pilots and maintenance crews, and some would say you either loved it or hated it. But most, loved it, and to this day, "Phantom Phans" can be found all around the world.
Over 5,000 Phantoms were built, and it would be impossible to describe in one page, all the milestones and achievements this aircraft and her crews accomplished.
In the U.S. after over 30 years of meritorious service, the Phantoms now fly only as pilotless drones, dancing in the skies over deserts and oceans to train new pilots in their new jets, to give them a run for their money, until they are shot out of sky forever.
Of those few that are left, they now rest in the Arizona dessert, under the hot sun and their smoky ear breaking roar is only a memory,,,
except for this one............
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Spook to see a Phantom coming back to life..