F-4 Phantom Weasels Hunting
Flying in Germany in the Late 70s
Reversed our route and still had a headwind! Flight home was ~13 hours as I recall…
Ever heard of the technique where you sit on your g-suit and hit the “G” button once in a while to stretch your cheeks? It works.
I was in the lead aircraft of our 4 ship home and glad the autopilot worked. Remember that the F-4 autopilot was not supposed to be used to fly formation….ya right.
Our 4 jets worked almost perfectly the whole time. Had an INS dump once on me at night (that’s another story). But otherwise, the whole deployment was a blast and the jets were Code 1.
On the other hand, the 4 F-4D’s from the our sister squadron (23rd TFS) had issues from the git go. One jet flamed out on landing (they tried to make it that first day without enough fuel when we diverted). That jet left the runway and went into a ditch, and sat there for 6 months. I think it was eventually class 26’d. They sent some folks to fix it later, but gave up as it was too damaged. Another aircraft jettisoned his fuel tanks in some town trying to make it. He did, but with no tanks for the exercise. So they were down 2 of 4 jets from the git go.
BTW: One day, the exercise took us to Pakistan and back to be air defense targets. As we approached a large city, were were jumped by a MiG-19. I don’t have pictures of that flight. But we did try to turn with him and all I could think was: “It looks just like the pictures; and damn, that thing can turn!”
Four F-4C WWs from the 81st TFS from Spangdahlem AB, GE, deployed to Shiraz, Iran in April 1977 for an exercise called Shabaz ‘77. We had three bags of fuel, travel pod, captive Shrike and an ALQ-119 ECM pod.
It was a one hop 12+ hour sortie from Spang, over France, through the Med, over Turkey, into Iran. Several inflight refuelings.
This first set of pix are cycling through on a USAF tanker enroute. They took us to the east end of the Med where we met up with an Iranian Tanker. We met the Iranian tankers (second set of pix) and topped off before feet dry over Turkey. No refueling allowed over Turkey, then refueled again with Iranian tankers in Iran. However, we ended up with a significant headwind nearly the whole route (counter to the plan) and the Iranian tankers could not give us enough fuel to make it to Shiraz AB. So we diverted to Sharoki AB for the first night. Then on to Shiraz the next day.
Note the Iranian tanker is a converted B-707 airliner with wingtip baskets and full set of windows: