Greetings from The Aero Experience Team


The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Monday, September 19, 2016

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016: The Mighty Phantoms Arrive on Monday Evening

Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo AirVenture Oshkosh 2016 provided the last opportunity for many attendees to see, hear and FEEL the power of the mighty McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II during the appearance of two of the remaining manned QF-4E jets. Two QF-4Es arrived on Monday evening just after 7pm following formal flying activities of the day.  Lt.Col. Ron King and Jim Harkins lined up their Phantoms for approach, then promptly poured on the power and retracted the landing gear as they climbed away for an overhead pass.  What a great way to start the week!

These manned QF-4Es were used in Heritage Flight performances in recent years, so they were clad in the more attractive Vietnam-era and "Hill Gray" paint schemes.  The aircraft are from the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, Detachment 1, based at Holloman AFB, NM.  The last unmanned QF-4E operational target mission was flown on August 17 when several missiles from an F-35 failed to actually hit the aircraft, which later landed.  These aircraft were scheduled to make appearances at several other events following EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016, and all QF-4E operations will cease by the end of 2016.  The QF-16 will take over the aerial target mission, and in fact some have been flying for several years out of Tyndall AFB, FL.

The Aero Experience Team was privileged to meet Lt.Col. King at the Spirit of St. Louis Airshow in May after he landed at Spirit of St. Louis Airport.  An historic moment occurred when he was met by Mr. Robert Little, retired McDonnell Aircraft test pilot who flew the Phantom II on its first flight in May of 1958.  The encounter, made possible through the Missouri Aviation Historical Society, was captured in an HEC-TV special about Mr. Little's life in aviation that aired this summer.     

The following sequence shows the arrival of both Phantoms - first approach, overhead break and rollout.  Check again soon for the next two stories featuring the QF-4Es on display in Boeing Centennial Plaza and the Warbirds Area and their departure later in the week.


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