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As a RIO in VF-33, CVW7, aboard the USS Independence, I had many a thrill...and many a chill while flying the marvelous F-4J. Among the fondest, performance wise, was flying from the carrier to NAAS Suda Bay, Crete to pick up parts in 1971. A fighter jock's dream flight, we had a lot of spare fuel...so once off the catapult, we left the aircraft in full afterburner, with about a 40 degree climb angle. We passed Mach 1.0 about 9000 feet, and continued accelerating until we reached 30k and maintained speed to fly the 200 miles. It didn't take long. That was impressive to us; but, on the return trip, we executed a high performance takeoff from the underused air station. Again, staying in afterburner, we took off, maintained about 20 feet off the ground until the end of the runway. We had gone 8000 feet horizontally and our speed was more than 500 knots. Pulling up hard, we climbed almost straight up. A short time after clearance to take off, the controller told us to call passing 2500 feet. My answer: "You're a little late. We just passed 22000 feet." He asked "What kind of aircraft?" My answer "a 'Foxtrot 4'". His answer came back "WOW". It truly was a ball to fly.


Al Lehman


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Hehehehe, a little giddyup and go eh? :D When I was a sailor on the Independance in 1977-79, I LOVED watchin our hotshot VF-33 and VF-102 pilots put the Phantom thru its paces. That bird always impressed me as something I would NOT want on my six... :shock:


...and the pilots impressed us all as the best there was... <S Boys>

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I was stationed at Pax River from '73 to '76. We had an F-4 transfered to us at the Test Pilot School, BUNO 153839, that had been with the Blue Angels. They maintained the color scheme, and it was one beautiful aircraft to see. Anyway, I was fortunate to have gotten a ride in it to Nas Jax, and back to Pax River. Throughout the years I spent at Pax, I was lucky enough to have ridden in many of their jets: TA-4, T-38, T-2, and lastly a 3.5 hr hop in an F-14. But the Phantom was my all time favorite, and still is. I still remember the kick of the afterburners in my back. Some of the pilots would try to get enlisted guys like myself sick, but never worked on me. I just asked for more!!! Anyway, I am new to flight sims, and I look forward to "flying" F-4s again. I will never forget the thrill of actually riding in them, though. They were, and still are, in my opinion, the baddest of the bad when it comes to fighters....PCW

AMEC(AW) Retired


Pax River 73-76

VA-15 NAS Cecil Field 81-84

VFA-106 NAS Cecil Field 84-87

VA, VFA-83 NAS Cecil Field 87-90

NETPMSA Test Writer, P'cola 90-93

VQ-1 (Guam & NAS Whibey Island) 93-96

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