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|Just a couple of Darts left on the ramp as we started the transition to the F-4D Phantom. There is one other F-106 just behind. The clouds reflected my mood about the change.||Our first F-4 off to the left by the radar docks. I couldn't believe we were going to change airplanes until the first one actually showed up on the ramp.||More and more Phantoms showing up. The first thing we did with a "new" F-4 was to tow it into the hanger, tear it down to the studs and rebuild it to Guard standards.|
|That Dart sure looks lonely.||Here's our first F-4. I think that the only time we ever saw them with the wings folded was when they went into the hanger for some work. Here you can see how un-aerodynamic this monster was. When you were flying you could actually feel the resistance as it plowed through the air. I always said the the F-4 was proof positive that if you put enough thrust on a brick you could make it fly.||This actually a pretty cool shot of one our first Phantoms. These jets were very maintenance intensive. In order to work on the air conditioner system they had to remove an engine which was a 3-day ordeal. One day to take it out and two to get it back in.|
|On Alert and standing guard at George AFB down at Victorville.||This was a fun picture to take. I was out on Perimeter Road and on the 29R centerline. I used a 300mm telephoto lens. I was trying to get a shot of the burners. It turned out nicely with one in burner and the other just about ready to release brakes. The Sun setting just over to the left side.||Radar trail departue. This was about a 60sec. exposure - just long enough to get both jets coming out of burner. A 20sec. delay gets you 3nm in trail. Come out of burner, 94% and climb at 280kts.|
Our maintenance troops really had their hands full with the F-4. For about the first two years that we had them we all got
about 4 sorties/month - if you were lucky. A really good month was 10.0 hrs. Hard to really get to know and feel
comfortable in the jet. There's Snowcone and the SOF truck.
I remember one of my first sorties back at FAT - the engines were running and I was heads-down doing checklist stuff. One of the crew chiefs pulled the chocks without me knowing and we rolled about halfway into the taxiway before I looked up and saw that we were rolling along. No damage :)
|I think that the guys that got weened in the F-4 had it a little easier than the guys that had a lot of time in single-seaters. We had to learn how to communicate with the GIB (Guy-In-Back) to get his eyes on the target during a fight. In the F-106 you didn't really have to talk - just do your switchology and talk to your wingman and controller. The Phantom was waaaaay different. Sometimes you just felt like baggage - fly where the GIB tells you and pull the trigger.||Nice shot of a landing. Check out the old Army Guard hanger and Ops building. They did PDM for all the Army Guard planes west of the Mississippi. This is before they moved to their new digs at the NW corner of the airport.|
|Coming in for a landing. You can definitely see the exhaust here. When we first got the F-4 all of them had the smokey engines. Half the time you didn't even need the radar - just look out and see your target coming at 30 nm. Later on we got a modification that made them smokeless. That helped a bit, but no matter what you did the F-4 still had a huge radar cross-section.||
Clovis Avenue and the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Anyone remember the "Stick Wrestling Contest" between Spanky and Tim Ryan over at Lemoore.
|The F-4 cockpit. Note the reticle up in the HUD. One night as #2 of a two-ship we were coming back from R-2508. As we got close to Mitel we heard a flight of two A-7s check in. We'd heard rumors abouth the F-117 and heard that it was basically an A-7 program. We asked them if we could run a stern on them and they said O.K. As we rolled in behind at about 3mn there was only one set of lights. My lead asked them if they were really a two-ship. Just then another set of lights came on 3mn right in front of me. There was never anything at all on my radar and it had been working just fine all evening. With that powerful, raw data radar to not see something at 3 miles in the stern is really something! Don't let anyone tell you that stealth technology doesn't work :)|
|Another cockpit picture... On both this picture and the previous one you can see the leg straps for the ejection seat.||This was the 4-ship fly-by at Modesto for Wes Deane and John Jordan on June 22, 1987. Sad day.||
The place where I got my pictures developed lent me a nice camera and wide-angle lens. I was out cruising one day waiting
for another airplane that had been delayed. I was flying with Carl Piccotto and let him take the stick for a while as I
took some pictures. This is the one that turned out the best.
The following shots are just the rest of the ones I took that day.
|This is a nice shot of Mark Taylor coming into a tanker for some gas out over R-2508.||Here's Mark again up close and personal. Mork, thanks for sending the pictures.||A KC-10 and an F-4 on the wing. we were having some sort of public function at the base. I think it was an Employer Appreciation Day. They're just over Clovis Ave.|
|Out over the Pacific.||Danny Cerna RTB and heading for BSR. Nice view of the Monterey Bay in the background.||Nice view of the coast south of Monterey. Two-Dogs again.|
|I was getting checked out for LOWAT with Bill Lucido out over R-2508. Ray Bluhm was with us as well. It was my turn to be target running between Panamint and Owens Valleys. As I came over a hill the highway crossed under me and of course I passed right over a white van at 100' and 400kts. When I looked back it was pulling off the road in a cloud of dust. Two weeks later I was home visiting my folks and my dad told me about getting run off the road by an F-4 in the desert. He was a science teacher and was taking some students out to Death Valley for a weekend field trip. We compared notes and checked a map and I had to fess up - I ran my dad off the road with an F-4. The other teacher he was with was driving and was seriously pissed so dad never did tell him it was me :) Mark Taylor flying.||Cruising. Mork again.||Danny Cerna on the way out to W-285. Just over the coastal mountains and the Pacific just under the canopy.|
|A couple of our jets on a tanker's wing.||Taking some gas. The F-4 was a serious gas guzzler. In the winter your alternate was VCV as any airport in the valley could go down at any time. If you were in a clean F-4 it had enough gas to get to Kite and if the tanker wasn't there you had enough gas for about 10 minutes of work before you had to RTB to Fresno and then VCV. Short legs when clean. Even with tanks there never seemed to be enough gas.||This one and the previous picture look like Mork. The helmet is pretty distinctive.|
|More AAR on the KC-135.||Refueling with a KC-10.||I like this one.|
|Back down at George AFB with an F-4 on Alert at sunset.||If you look closely you can see the AIM-7 tucked up under the intake.||Mark Taylor and Harlan Winslow. Harlan was a DJ at KKDJ FM 106.1. He and Mork were good buddies and Harlan put out a ton of free public service announcements for the Air Guard. A good friend of the base, Mark got to take him for an F-4 ride. Picture from Mark.|
|Mork sent this one for me to include. The title he gave it is "When We Were Studs." Very appropiate. We were all slimmer and trimmer back then. No grey at all :) I remember Mongo pulling into the Chow Hall parking lot in the 80s in a very cool Stingray! Who woodda thought Mongo would end up as Wing Commander :) Mark "Dr. Mork" Taylor on the left and Gary "Mongo" Taylor on the right.||Smoking is very bad for you.||There's our favorite B.O.B. taxiing back in after a hard day of flying. With that big grin - looks like he had a good day! Photo credit: Jim McNab.|
|Watching the F-4s taking off. Standing right next to the pad where Snowcone usually sat.||WSO Gary Leeder and I doing an Open House at Fresno. Gary later went on to work as a police officer up in Boise, Idaho. Gary was an excellent GIB and I was disappointed that he took off after just a couple years with us.|