Originally designed to a U.S. Navy specification calling for a twin engine all weather fighter, the Phantom took five years to design. The prototype first flew on 27 May 1958. The F-4 crew sits with the pilot in the front of the tandem cockpit, and the radar intercept officer (RIO) in the rear. The RIO manages the radar and the electronic counter measures equipment.
In November of 1961, the second prototype F-4 set some impressive performance records, including a 1,606 m.p.h. speed record, and a time to climb record to 49,212 feet in one minute, 54 seconds.
The F-4C has the General Electric J79-15 engine rated at 17,900 lbs. thrust and the APQ-100 radar system. The first F-4C flew on 27 May 1963. By mid 1966, 10 squadrons of F-4Cs were in service in Vietnam. In 1967, the F-4C was returned stateside and replaced by the F-4D in Vietnam. The war record of the F-4C is impressive. From 1965 to 1967, they accounted for 42 kills over enemy "MIGs".
Our F-4 is a "C'' model designed specifically for U.S. Air Force use, and was last operated by the California Air National Guard, based at Fresno, CA. The "Phantom 11" arrived at the museum in June of 1987. The Travis Air Museum’s F-4C is located on Parker Road, near the hospital.
Captain Steve Ritchie was the first U.S. Air Force ace in Vietnam. His first and fifth kills were in an F-4D, while his third and fourth kills were in an F-4E. The leading ace in Vietnam was Capt. Chuck DeBellevue, who destroyed six enemy aircraft.
5,057 F-4 "Phantom IIs" of all models were built between 1958 and 1979.
Wing Span: 38'5"
Maximum Speed: 1433 M.P.H. at 40,000 Ft.
Service Ceiling: 56,100 Ft.
Range: 900 Miles
Crew/Passengers: 2 crew
Armament: 16,000 Lbs. of bombs or 8 air-to-air, or surface to air missiles, Vulcan 20 mm gun pod
Engines: 2 x General Electric J79-GE-15 turbojet engines rated at 17,900 lbs. thrust each.
Information derived from “Travis Heritage Center” by Nick Veronico copyright Travis AFB Historical Society/Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum Foundation. This book is available from the Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum GIFT SHOP located in the Travis Heritage Center.