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What Made The Phabulous F-4 Phantom So Special to Phantom Phanatics All Over The World?

McDonnell Douglas Partied Things Up In Style When F-4 Number 5000 Rolled Out.

Photograph courtesy Boeing

The philm “The Fabulous Phantom” was made by McDonnell Douglas to commemorate the manufacture of the 5000th Phabulous Phantom II (F-4E-65-MC serial 77-0290) which rolled out on May 24th 1978. The company would only build another 195 F-4s before shutting down production in 1981. Whether you called it Old Smokey, Double Ugly, Rhino, Snoopy, Phlying Anvil, Phlying Phootlocker, Phlying Brick, Lead Sled, Big Iron Sled, St. Louis Slugger, or World’s Leading Distributor of MiG Parts, the F-4 is one of the most highly regarded military aircraft ever built. Thanks to YouTuber PeriscopeFilm II for uploading this retro shot of Phab Phour goodness.

Photograph courtesy Boeing

Over its years in service with the United States Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, the Phantom spawned an entirely new classification of crew members and maintainers. Phantom Phlyers, Phantom Pherrets, and Phantom Phixers wore the patches and proudly misspelled words beginning with F. They were no doubt envied by many a Phantom Phanatic. Why is the Phantom II so warmly remembered today? You could get a plethora of answers to that question. Which is why we’re asking. What was it about the Phabulous Phantom that made it such a highly-regarded aircraft? Let us hear from you Ageekery Nation!

James S. McDonnell stands in front of F-4 Phantom number 5000. Photograph courtesy Boeing

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Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.

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