Category Warbird

A Grand Phinale at Holloman AFB

By: Category: EventsMilitaryWarbird

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Lt. Col. Ron “Elvis” King taxies QF-4E 74-1638 back to the ramp

Photography by Scott Zeno and Alice Leong

The U.S. Air Force retired its final McDonnell Douglas/Boeing QF-4 Phantom IIs on December 21, 2016. The jets were the last of the line… more than four thousand airframes of various versions were manufactured for the Air Force. The first version flew in 1963, and for more than half a century, the jets and their crews performed air defense, attack, reconnaissance, Wild Weasel, and ultimately remote control drone service.

The final QF-4Es in service were operated by Detachment 1, 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, based at Holloman AFB in New Mexico. The 82 ATRS reports to the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group at Tyndall AFB, FL. Holloman AFB sits close to the White Sands Missile Range, where live fire exercises against unmanned drone aircraft are routinely accomplished. The final unmanned Full Scale Aerial Target (FSAT) mission was flown there on August 17, 2016, although manned missions, carrying various test payloads, lasted into December of that year.

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McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II Set to Retire From U.S. Military Service

By: Category: MilitaryWarbird

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The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is one of those rare breeds of aircraft design that has served with the U.S. military for over half a century. The first flight of a prototype occurred on May 27, 1958. In December of 2016, the final flights of U.S. military F-4s will occur, capped off with a final tribute event.

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Just A “Few” C-9s Remain in Military Service

By: Category: MilitaryWarbird

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The U.S. Marine Corps recruiting slogan: “The Few. The Proud. The Marines.” has a secondary meaning these days… the Marines operate the last pair of some 57 McDonnell Douglas/Boeing DC-9/C-9 military jet transports. The C-9/DC-9 family has been used by multiple U.S. military branches, as well as civilian agencies and a few foreign operators, since the U.S. Air Force put them into operation in the late 1960s.

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National Championship Air Races, 2016

By: Category: AirshowsEventsNational Championship Air RacesPlanes of Fame Air MuseumWarbird

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What makes a person want to fly? What makes a person want to race? Surely there must be something within the human genetic code that drives certain people to push the limits of man and machine in the sky. Like a persistent itch, there are those who constantly look to the sky, always, with an insatiable desire to return. It doesn’t much matter to these people how they get there, or if the machine that carries them is made from wood and fabric or the latest composite material. So long as it flies. In the case of a small group of pilots within the aviation community, it is preferable if that particular machine is capable of rather extreme performance.

Regardless of the source of that drive, every year in the middle of September, at a small, otherwise nondescript airport in the high desert of...

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