Model Airplane News
April, 1963

Model Airplane News Cover for April, 1963

Model Airplane News Cover for April, 1963
Well Dressed Fighter Pilot
Click to Enlarge

Here is what the blurb about the cover has to say:

"...What the well-dressed Naval Aviation test pilot is wearing this year - Lt Walter S. Smith of the Weapons Systems Test, NATC, stationed at Patuxent River, Maryland, adjusts his flight gear just prior to testing McDonnell's latest carrier fighter the F4H, holder of the present world speed record..."

About the F4H

The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom is a tandem two-seat, twin-engined, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor fighter/fighter-bomber originally developed for the U.S. Navy by McDonnell Aircraft. Proving highly adaptable, it became a major part of the air wings of the United States Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. It was used extensively by all three of these services during the Vietnam War.

First entering service in 1960, it served until the 1980s. The Phantom was also operated by the armed forces of 11 other nations. Israeli Phantoms saw extensive combat in several Arab–Israeli conflicts, while Iran used its large fleet of Phantoms in the Iran–Iraq War. Phantoms remain in front line service with seven countries, and in use as an unmanned target in the U.S. Air Force.

 McDonnell F4H Phantom Fighter     McDonnell F4H Phantom Fighter     McDonnell F4H Phantom Fighter

McDonnell F4 "Phantom"
Flown by the famous Blue Angels Click to Enlarge

Besides putting it on the cover of Model Airplane News, the Navy showed off their new fighter with a series of record-breaking flights:

  • Operation Top Flight: On 6 December 1959, the second XF4H-1 performed a zoom climb to a world record 98,557 ft
  • On 5 September 1960, an F4H-1 averaged 1,216.78 mph over a 311 mi closed-circuit course.
  • On 25 September 1960, an F4H-1 averaged 1,390.21 mph over a 62 mi closed-circuit course.
  • Operation LANA: To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Naval aviation (L is the Roman numeral for 50 and ANA stood for Anniversary of Naval Aviation) on 24 May 1961, Phantoms flew across the continental United States in under three hours and included several tanker refuelings. The fastest of the aircraft averaged 869.74 mph and completed the trip in 2 hours 47 minutes, winning the 1961 Bendix trophy.
  • Operation Sageburner: On 28 August 1961, a Phantom averaged 902.769 mph over a 3 mi course flying below 125 ft at all times
  • Operation Skyburner: On 22 December 1961, a modified Phantom with water injection set an absolute world record speed of 1,606 mph
  • On 5 December 1961, another Phantom set a sustained altitude record of 66,443.8 ft
  • Operation High Jump: A series of time-to-altitude records was set in early 1962 at 371.43 seconds to 100,000 feet.

All in all, the Phantom set 16 world records. With the exception of Skyburner, all records were achieved in unmodified production aircraft. Five of the speed records remained unbeaten until 1975.

Here is a video showing flight operations with the F4:

Click here for more information about the McDonnell F4 "Phantom"

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