Photography Magazine

McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom II

By Htam
McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom II

@ Atwater, CA

April 2021

Made a visit to the Castle Air Museum, on the grounds of the former Castle AFB. One of the many aircraft on display is this F-4E Phantom II wearing USAF Thunderbirds livery. The Thunderbirds transitioned to the much larger F-4 in 1969, also marking the first time their paint scheme used a white background. From 1969-1973, the Thunderbirds would perform 518 aerial demonstrations with the Phantom. The 1973 oil crisis drove the decision to look for a more fuel efficient aircraft, with five T-38s using the same amount of fuel as one F-4. This aircraft was actually a Thunderbird, wearing team numbers 8, 7, 3, 5, and 6. Post-Thunderbirds, this aircraft spent time at Edwards AFB as a chase aircraft before being added to the Museum collection in 1995. Designed by McDonnell Aircraft and first flown in 1958, the classic F-4 Phantom II served with all three US services and air forces around the world. December 21, 2016 would mark the phinal retirement of the Phantom from US service.  Nikon D500 w/Tokina 10-17mm.

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