HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE N.M. --
The F-4 Phantom II Society toured Holloman Air Force Base N.M. from Sept. 13-15th.
This year’s tour was the largest tour for this society to date. Holloman is the only base left that still has working, flying F-4s and this was their last flight. The F-4 officially retired in 1996 and now all operational Air Force F-4s have been converted to QF-4 Drones, which serve solely as remotely controlled unmanned targets for air-to-air and ground-to-air weapons systems evaluations, development and testing.
“Our whole mission is to preserve the heritage of the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II.” said Jim Thompson, the president of the F-4 Phantom II Society. “The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is one of the most fantastic fighter aircraft that has ever been produced.”
The love for this aircraft is echoed by the 160 front-seat and back-seat aircrew, maintenance, weapons technicians, contractors with Phantom experience, aircraft photographers, and enthusiasts as well as veterans and non-veterans with aviation backgrounds attending this tour.
The group saw an F-16 Fighting Falcon static display and briefing, traveled to Holloman’s High Speed Test Track, viewed QF-4 Phantoms II and F-16s in flight, and a visited to Heritage Park to view static displays of various aircraft historically stationed at Holloman.
“This visit was very sentimental to us.” Said Helen Thompson, “bus mom” of the F-4 Phantom II Society. “It’s just bittersweet this time because it’s the last flight.”
The F-4 Phantom II first began flying in 1958 and is well known for its performance in the Vietnam War. The F-4 officially retired in 1996 and now all operational Air Force F-4s have been converted to QF-4 drones, which serve solely as remotely controlled, unmanned targets for air-to-air and ground-to-air weapons systems evaluations, development and testing. QF-4s can also be flown as a conventionally manned fighter.
The F-4 Phantom II Last flight will take place here at Holloman in December 2016.