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Wings Over The Pacific
McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II
If there ever was a great aircraft design, the fabulous Phantom would have to be right up near the top of the list.
The Phantom was conceived as a private venture by McDonnell Douglas between 1954 and 1957. Initially disinterested, the F-4 went through two major phases before an initial order was placed. The prototype first flew May 27th, 1958. Powered by two General Electric J79 afterburning turbofans, augmented by adjustable engine air intakes and exhaust nozzles, the Phantom proved it was ready for the high Mach 2+ numbers it was designed for.
For more of the Phantom click on the gallery.
In 1962 the USAF recognized the qualities demonstrated by the F-4 in Navy/Marine service. BY March of 1962 the Air Force had begun to receive the Phantom with relatively small changes from the Naval version. Added were an in flight refueling boom, a reconfigured rear cockpit, larger wheels, brakes, and different avionics.
By 1964 permission was granted to build an Air Force specific model. This version had a number of significant improvements including radar and avionics. There were a number of difficulties with the handling of the F-4 under the USAF heavy ordinance load, which the plane was never initially designed for.
The new wing design came into place in 1972 and many of the existing Phantoms were retrofitted with the updated wing. Some of the changes to the wing were to delete the droops, increase in skin thickness and adding torsional fatigue straps and slats which extended automatically.
Production of this fine plane ended in mid 1979. By that time over 5,000 planes had been built.
Specifications (F-4E);Engines; (two) General Electric J79-GE-17 79.6 kN. (17,900 lbs. st.) afterburning turbojets, Wing Span 11.77 m. (38' 7 1/2"), Length; 19.2 m. (63' 0"), Maximum take off weight; 28,030 kg. (61,795 lbs.), Maximum level speed; 2,414 km/h (1,500 mph.), Combat radius; 1,266 km. (786 miles.)
It is notable to look at such aircraft as the Sepecat Jaguar. The tailplane assembly has a familiar look, doesn't it?