The image above is one of the aircraft I flew for five years when I was in the Air Force. #231 was a great airplane, one I always found reliable and accurate. I generally was in the back seat and had the formal title of “weapon systems operator”(WSO pronounced Wis Zo) but informally known as “GIB” – girl in back. The F4E Phantom was the ultimate fighter of its time and was well known as a Mig-killer extraordinaire given it’s six-barreled Gatling gun in the nose and upgraded Aim 7 and Aim 9 air-to-air missles. The F4 was an all purpose fighter/ fighter-bomber that flew first in the Vietnam War but continued flying in the USAF until the 1990’s and is still flying with the air forces of many of our allies around the world. I will always remember the kick in the pants when the afterburners were ignited on takeoff or anytime in flight for that matter. And I loved four-ship formation flying with the wing-tips just a few feet apart. I have a number of photos somewhere that I will find and post here in a gallery when I can find them.
I did find them with the help of my son-in-law David. Here is one taken by my front-seater Mike Francisco while I was flying the plane waiting to refuel over the China Sea.
My wingmen Tedesco & Meadows preflight.
If you have ridden “Rocking Roller Coaster” at Disney World, then you know a little of the sensations of flying in the F4.