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One of the most significant combat aircraft in history.

The F-4 Phantom II was originally created for the U.S. Navy as a carrier-based interceptor.  Its versatility and performance made it the perfect choice for use by the Air Force, Marine Corps and 11 other countries.  The F-4 was a true multirole aircraft serving as a fighter, bomber, interceptor, photo-reconnaissance and air defense suppression aircraft before ending its career as a target drone.  It is most remembered for its extensive use in the air war over Vietnam from 1965 to the end of the conflict in 1973.

First flown in 1958, early variants of the Phantom II were equipped with an all-missile armament; however, combat experience over Vietnam showed that many dogfights occurred at close range where missiles were ineffective.  Later models of the F-4 carried an internal 20mm rotary cannon for air-to-air combat.  All of the aircrew (Air Force and Navy) who achieved ace status during Vietnam flew the F-4 Phantom II.  Additionally, a number of Israeli pilots became aces flying the F-4 in combat while defending their country.

Despite its large size, the F-4 was a powerful aircraft and set 15 world records for speed and altitude.  It was also the only aircraft used by both U.S. precision flight demonstration teams, the Navy’s Blue Angels and Air Force’s Thunderbirds.

About this Aircraft

This F-4D Phantom II, which is on loan from the Collings Foundation, was acquired in the 1990s.  It required thousands of hours of restoration and maintenance before it returned to flight in 1999.  Today, it is the only civilian-owned F-4 flying in the United States.  It is painted in the markings of an F-4 flown by Col. Robin Olds during the Vietnam War.

Texas Connection

The F-4 Phantom II flew with both the Air Force and Navy from a number of bases in Texas including, Bergstrom AFB, Carswell AFB, NAS Dallas, Lackland AFB and right here at Ellington Field.  From 1982 to 1989, the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the Texas Air National Guard operated the F-4C/D model Phantom to protect the airspace over the Gulf of Mexico and the southern United States.

Quick facts

  • Type: Fighter
  • Engine: Two 17,900 lb. thrust General Electric J-79-GE-15 turbojet
  • Maximum speed: 1,485 mph
  • Armamament: Four AIM-7 Sparrow missiles, 4 AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles and up to 18,650 lbs. of bombs, rockets, air-to-ground missiles and gun pods
  • Ceiling: 62,250 ft
  • Range: 1,100 miles
  • Crew: 2.00
  • Length: 63 ft
  • Wingspan: 38 ft 5 in
  • Number built: 5,195

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