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F-22 Pilot's comments after flying the F-4

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A colleague who is F22 pilot for the Virginia ANG had honor of flying a Phantom at Eglin. He flew the aircraft we had at the reunion. Here is the F-22 pilot’s thoughts on flying the F-4:

I flew your jet a couple days ago (see attached). I had a little trouble getting the engines started, so I climbed out and shoveled some more coal in the back; after that she fired right up. Ground ops were uneventful, although I couldn’t figure out why the cockpit smelled like body odor, Jack Daniels and cigars…and that was BEFORE I got in it! By the way, what’s with the no slip crap on top of the intakes, it’s like you have permanent icing conditions due to that spray on rhino truck bed liner on top of the aircraft. It’s no wonder you needed so much coal (I mean thrust) to get airborne.

Take off scared the sh*t out of me. I lit the burners at brick one and 2 miles and 45 minutes later we were ready to rotate. After barely clearing the tree tops, the gear came up and I climbed away at a VERY impressive 2 degrees nose high. In case you don’t remember, “Trim” is your friend in the F-4 (pretty sure it’s also a good friend on the ground too). Once I got her up to speed and a moderate altitude, we were ready for the G-Ex. Two G-turn’s later and I’m sinking like a rock…the F-4’s energy seems to bleed like Holyfield’s ear in the Tyson fight! After the G-Ex it was time to do a little Advanced Handling Characteristics (AHC) and by “advanced handling” I mean the same crap the Wright Brothers were doing back in 1903…just trying to keep it airborne.

The jet flies much like my old man’s station wagon used to drive…You turn the wheel (push the stick) a few inches and nothing happens, then all of a sudden the steering kicks in, inertia takes over, and all HELL breaks loose! You’re pretty much along for the ride at that point and only gravity has a real say in your lift vector placement. “Checking 6” was really quite easy…. because you CAN’T! Scratch that off the list of “Sh*t I need to do to keep myself alive in combat today”. Breathing, however, was surprisingly easy in the F-4 when compared to that of the F-22 (thank you Lockheed)…LOX works, who knew!

I think I may have burned my legs a bit from the steam pouring out from behind the gauges. Where are my 6 mini-flat screen TV’s, I’m lost without my HD jet displays (editors note: actually, I’m an analog guy stuck in a digital world too…I really do like the “steam driven” gauges). After the AHC, I decided to take her up high and do a supersonic MACH run, and by “high” I mean “where never lark nor even eagle flew”; but not much higher, a foot or two maybe. I mean, we weren’t up there high-fiving Jesus like we do in the Raptor, but it was respectable. It only took me the width of the Gulf of Mexico to get the thing turned around while above the Mach. After the Mach run we dropped to the deck and did 600 kts at 500’; a ratllin’ and shakin’ we will go…. I though all the rivets were going to pop out. Reference previous station wagon analogy! Very quickly we were out of gas and headed home.

As I brought the jet up initial, I couldn’t help but think that the boys who took this thing into combat had to have some pretty big brass you know whats!

My first F-4 landing was a little rough; sub-standard really by Air Force measure… but apparently “best seen to date” according to the Navy guys. Did you know that there’s no such thing as an aerobrake in the F-4? As soon as the main gear touches down, the nose comes slamming down to the runway with all the force of a meteor hitting the earth….I guess the F-4 aerobrake technique is to dissipate energy via denting the runway.

Despite an apparently “decent” landing, stopping was a whole different problem. I reached down and pulled the handle to deploy the drogue chute…at which point a large solid mass of canvas, 550 cord, metal weights and cables fell out and began bouncing down the runway; chasing me like a lost puppy and FOD’ing out the whole runway. Perfect. I mashed down on the breaks and I’m pretty sure at this point the jet just started laughing at me. Why didn’t you warn me that I needed a shuttle landing strip to get this damn thing stopped?

All kidding aside, VERY COOL jet! Must have been a kick to fly back when you were in Vietnam! Just kidding!

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Would've killed to have flown fighters at any point from the '50s through the '80s.

 

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On 12/3/2017 at 1:47 AM, VMFA187 said:

Would've killed to have flown fighters at any point from the '50s through the '80s.

 

And with any luck, those jets wouldn't kill you.

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Flying an F-4 felt like driving a dualie that had been in a wreck. I cannot imagine taking that thing downtown; those guys had huge brass balls. One of the best 1.0s of my life. 

Edited by brabus
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2 hours ago, Seriously said:

And with any luck, those jets wouldn't kill you.

I'd take the chance.

... Or were you referring to OBOGS issues?

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And with any luck, those jets wouldn't kill you.


Crazier than the pilots of those jets.... the test pilots for them...

“Hey Dave your flying this plane we built in 9 months... take it up and see how many was it tries to kill you, then report back so we can tweek it.”

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6 hours ago, Lawman said:

 


Crazier than the pilots of those jets.... the test pilots for them...

“Hey Dave your flying this plane we built in 9 months... take it up and see how many was it tries to kill you, then report back so we can tweek it.”

... As long as the ejection seat works.

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On 12/2/2017 at 10:47 AM, VMFA187 said:

Would've killed to have flown fighters at any point from the '50s through the '80s.

 

I think one of the best periods would have been Korean War - F-86.  Gun only jets with a willing adversary who came up and tangled on a pretty regular basis and lots of Aces.  Fighter pilot heaven.

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30 minutes ago, JeremiahWeed said:

I think one of the best periods would have been Korean War - F-86.  Gun only jets with a willing adversary who came up and tangled on a pretty regular basis and lots of Aces.  Fighter pilot heaven.

I always thought it would be cool to fly a P-51 in WW2

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On 12/2/2017 at 9:47 AM, VMFA187 said:

Would've killed to have flown fighters at any point from the '50s through the '80s.

 

I thought the F-4 was pretty cool when I flew it in the Seventies.

Baumholder AAR track in Germany at 230 kts:

4uufky.jpg

Edited by Springer
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Springer, she sure is cocked up at that speed. Can’t imagine she liked a 1C fight very much, but I bet it was a hell of a lot of fun.

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19 minutes ago, VMFA187 said:

Springer, she sure is cocked up at that speed. Can’t imagine she liked a 1C fight very much, but I bet it was a hell of a lot of fun.

And those are RFs.  Can you imagine a C or E model with 18 mark-82s and some missiles?  Min-burner on one engine just to stay on the boom!!

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16 minutes ago, JeremiahWeed said:

And those are RFs.  Can you imagine a C or E model with 18 mark-82s and some missiles?  Min-burner on one engine just to stay on the boom!!

Rad.

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Took a little skill to add min AB while on the boom rather than dropping off selecting min AB then getting back on the boom (F-4G w/ 3 tanks, 2 harms, 2 AIM-7Es, ECM pod, full fuel = about 63k lbs)

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On 12/4/2017 at 9:31 PM, JeremiahWeed said:

And those are RFs.  Can you imagine a C or E model with 18 mark-82s and some missiles?  Min-burner on one engine just to stay on the boom!!

Even in the RF we would tap burner especially when carrying 3 bags.  The KC-97's were being phased out when that pic was taken.  

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11 hours ago, matmacwc said:

Block 42 F-16 with the pratt 220 would have to tap burner with a TGP/NAV pod and 2 tanks, what a pig.

"Oh I had to tap min burner."..boo hoo.  Brother try a gunpig in AFG during the summer, hookup at 10K AGL and Toboggan down to 2K to get your gas.

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Or helos. Limited power, wobbly probe, and knowing that the loadmasters are making fun of your misses.

 

Its not just the loads making fun of you...

 

That said I am sure the KC-10/135 crews make fun of us for falling off the boom at 200KCAS while we are at or near max continuous and they have their flaps hanging. (HC-130J guy)

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On 12/4/2017 at 10:35 PM, Springer said:

I thought the F-4 was pretty cool when I flew it in the Seventies.

Baumholder AAR track in Germany at 230 kts:

4uufky.jpg

My G-dad flew the RF-4C at Shaw, though he retired in '70.  Funny - he always talked about how much power the F4 had.. I guess coming from the planes he flew from '43 to '70, they did.

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