Tag Archives: Phantom

Phantom Phorever!!! Wittmund hosts last F-4 Spotter Day. For real Phantom Phreaks.

On Jun. 5, Wittmund airbase, home of Germany’s last operational F-4 Phantoms the Jadgdeschwader (JG) 71 “Richthofen”, hosted a Spotter Day. Possibly the last one before the entire fleet is eventually retired next year.

Unfortunately, the Spotter Day didn’t feature any flying activity, and the venerable “Rhinos” were only in static display.

In spite of the completely static event, The Aviationist’s photographer Giovanni Maduli, a real “Phantom Phreak” flew to Germany to attend the “open house” and take (among the others) the following interesting panorama images.

The following aircraft were spotted on static display:

37+01 38+24 38+42
37+92 38+28* 38+48
38+01 38+29 38+50
38+10 38+33 38+53

Whilst the German Phantoms are retired and replaced by the Eurofighter Typhoons, in the U.S., according to the Air Force Magazine, the final F-4 Phantom destined for conversion to a QF-4 aerial target drone, has entered the 309th Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Group’s refurbishment line at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona.

Destined to be delivered to the Air Force in January 2013, the final Phantom, serial number 68-0609, will become the 318th QF-4 drone supplied to the USAF.

Impressive footage of U.S. F-4s dropping Napalm in Vietnam

Update Apr. 15, 2012 14.00 GMT

The video mentioned in this article was made private by the user who uploaded it. Most probably, the fact that many people had complained for the music he had chosen persuaded him to make it private.

The following video contains some of the clearer shots from USAF extensive high speed footage (more then 2 hours of film) of Napalm strikes primarily performed by F-4C Phantoms in Vietnam.

According to , the user that uploaded it to Youtube, the original video was silent gun camera footage to which he added some music.

However, the soundrack he chose did not meet everyone’s taste (read the comments on YT).

“On The Beautiful Blue Danube” (English title of An der schönen blauen Donau, Op. 314), the waltz by the Austrian composer Johann Strauss II and made famous by Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” makes the scenes even more violent.

Especially, considering the effect of those incendiary canisters on some villages and their inhabitants.

Anyway, take this as a video documenting usage of an anti-personnel weapon, famous to leave tangible psychological effects on the enemy.

And if you find the soundrack inappropriate, turn off volume.

Italian Air Force secret involvement in Vietnam war?

In the last week I had the opportunity to discuss about his researches with Mr. Diego Verdegiglio who is currently writing a book about the Italian involvement in the Vietnam war. During his studies on the topic he has heard of an unofficial (covert) employment, between 1963 and 1975, of some Italian Élite corps and of the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force, ItAF) in Vietnam, as a consequence of a secret agreement between the Italian secret service and the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). Something similar had been asked weeks earlier by another reader, who had sent me an email to know my opinion about the possibility that Italian pilots had flown as backseaters inside the RF-4C Phantoms in recce missions about North Vietnam (NVN) to evalutate the weapons system because of the possible Italian interest in that type of aircraft and that others were sent as observers and advisors in the USAF squadrons equipped with the F-104C. I replied to both that I think that, although intriguing, the involvement of Italian pilots as Wizzos (WSOs, Weapons Systems Officers) on board US aircraft was nothing more than an urban legend: in those years, the ItAF had no WSOs (that arrived at the beginning of the ’80s with the Tornado, with the name of “navigatori”, Italian for navigators). Where and when these flying crews had gained their qualification and combat readiness to be employed in a fierce air war? What about the possibility that, being shot down in a Phantom over NVN (quite probable looking at the number of aircraft downed during the war) , the Italian pilot was killed or taken by the enemy? The secret would be unveiled with a violent reaction by the Italian public opinion.
However, Mr. Verdegiglio sent me the scan of an article written by Umberto Postiglioni and Nico Sgarlato and published in 1988 by RID, the most important and authoritative Italian Defence magazine, according to which, an inquiry, made in 1969, after a letter received by a journalist disclosed the involvement of Italian pilots in SE Asia, had discovered that 5 Italian F-104 pilots, possibly belonging to the Rimini based 5° Stormo, were deployed in Vietnam, under a fake US identity, as either advisors for the 435th TFS flying the F-104, or as backseaters on the RF-4 to evaluate the aircraft with a view to a possible provision of this type of aircraft to the ItAF. Even if I still believe that the partecipation of the ItAF crews to the Vietnam war is an urban legend, I thought it could be interesting to write this post and to hear from readers from all around the world that have might have some detail about this story.

Ciao German Phantoms!

Even if it was initially expected to come to an end on Sept. 16, the German F-4 Phantoms of the JG71 detached to Decimomannu airbase, home of the ItAF AWTI (Air Weapons Training Installation) since Aug.2 headed back to Wittmund earlier, in the morning of Sept. 15 (although four examples remained in Sardinia for a few more days along with 2 A-4s of the BAe Systems). Giovanni Maduli was there once again on Sept. 15 to witness the departure of the (maybe) last German Phantoms deployment in Deci. Noteworthy, among the departing F-4s, the 38+46, wearing the special “swallows” markings on both sides of the fuselage (to “celebrate” the successful survival of the mighty “Rhino” to multiple bird strikes during a recent exercise) returned to landing for an unknown emergency shortly after departure.

German Phantoms (and Italian Typhoons) in Decimomannu

A few weeks ago, in a previous post I reported about the last GAF F-4s detachment in Decimomannu airbase, Italy. Between Aug. 31 and Sept. 2, the photoreporter Giovanni Maduli went again
in Sardinia, to take some pictures of both the JG71 Phantoms and ItAF Eurofighter Typhoon deployed over there to undertake air-to-air training activities.
Noteworthy, among the Italian F-2000s there were also some examples sporting the new 10° Gruppo markings. On Jul. 1, the 10° Gruppo, equipped with the leased F-16 ADF, moved from the Trapani-based 37° Stormo, to Gioia del Colle, joining the 12° Gruppo, within the 36° Stormo.
Below, just a small selection of pictures taken in Decimomannu by Giovanni Maduli. The full selection is available at the following address: http://lowpassage.com/2010/09/07/german-phantoms-and-italian-typhoons-in-decimo/