Tag Archives: Area 51


F-4 Phantom Predators Searching For Prey

Before you read this posting, be sure and whet your fighter pilot appetite by watching this You Tube Video: http://military.discovery.com/videos/top-ten-fighters-f4-phantom.html

The fabulous McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom, the stalwart, mainline fighting air machine of the US military, could possibly return to haunt us! On Friday evening, January 13, the NBC evening news showed a film clip from the area of the Straits of Hormuz that revealed F-4 Phantoms operated by the Iranian Air Force that were patrolling the area. As the saber-rattling intensifies the possibility of NATO or US military forces incurring battle with American-made F-4 Phantoms increases. Perhaps as the old saying goes, “what goes around comes around.”

The more interesting question regarding this issue that we shall now ask is, “How did the Iranian Air Force acquire American-made F-4 Phantoms?” For that answer, I will send you rummaging through my previous blogs.  The first bit of research will require a review of the January 3rd posting (John Lear), Refer to the brief passage regarding “October Surprise” (A little known but powerful incident in international geopolitics). As you will soon discover the high speed spy plane a “Blackbird” or SR 71, (see January 11, of posting regarding Area 51) and connect the dots. The conclusion will reconfirm that President “Ike” Eisenhower was very prescient in his statement, “beware of the military industrial complex.”

And now back to the primary theme, “the fabulous F4 Phantom aircraft,” that was first flown on May 27, 1954.  It was the workhorse in the air war over North Vietnam, and saved thousands of American GIs, in its ground support mission in South Vietnam. McDonnell-Douglas built 5057 F-4 Phantoms and in Japan, Mitsubishi built 138 F-4 Phantoms.  Approximately 275 F-4 Phantoms were lost in the Southeast Asian conflict.  In 1966 and 1967 McDonnell-Douglas was producing 63 Phantoms per month. Even as late as 1991 the F-4 Phantom was used by US military forces in the Desert Storm invasion of Iraq.

Currently there are eight nations that are still using the F-4 Phantom as a military tool.  At one time nearly every country in Europe and the Middle East and Southeast Asia had F-4 Phantoms in their aviation inventory. Additionally there are nearly 100 F-4 Phantoms in aviation museums in the U. S. A lengthy litany of this aircraft’s accomplishments, along with its speed and altitude records, places it very clearly as the greatest fighter jet ever built. The cover of my book The Rogue Aviator has a picture of an F-4 Phantom. During book events and presentations, and particularly at air shows, nearly everyone immediately identifies the F-4 Phantom.

Off all the good fortune that has been bestowed upon myself, flying this amazing aircraft rates at the very top. Two years ago at the Oshkosh air show, as I was signing books at Author’s Corner when I heard the loud high-pitched squeal of J-79 engines that powered the F4 Phantom. It immediately got my juices flowing, and I soon discovered there was an F-4 Phantom at Oshkosh. Unfortunately, it was grounded for the duration of the show with a freak mechanical problem. The rookie GIB (guy-in-the-back) was told by the Aircraft Commander to close the canopy. Murphy’s Law intervened and the GIB pulled the canopy jettison lever rather than the canopy close lever.

A bit of a follow-up to this story is that I discovered that it is possible for a civilian to get a back-seat ride in the F-4 Phantom. A group called the Collings Foundation, operates an F-4 Phantom that is located in Houston, Texas at Ellington Air Force Base. For information regarding a back seat F-4 Phantom ride.  You can call the Collings Foundation at 978-562-9182. It will require a large bite out of the platinum American Express card. In lieu of that, you can read, The Rogue Aviator and watch F-4 You Tube videos. Be sure to fasten your seatbelt, cinch down your shoulder harness and keep your air speed up in the turns.

This blog is prepared by Ace Abbott, author of The Rogue Aviator, (www.therogueaviator.com).



http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=SDbQ5xvsrIU   Enter this address in your browser  and view this youtube video; it complements the verbiage  below about the SR-71 aircraft

Area 51 has been an area of concern and controversy for more than a half of a century. A very diligent author named Annie Jacobsen has completed her extensive research and it is nicely bound into a book with the title of, what else, AREA 51. For those that may not be familiar with Area 51 I will suggest that it holds more mysteries than all of the Agatha Christies in the world.

It all began with the landing of the alien people (Martian-like) according to the press in 1947 in Roswell, New Mexico. The remnants of this crash were supposedly taken to Area 51, a large area of several thousand acres of barren wasteland located about 150 miles north of Las Vegas. The “Roswell Incident” has created an untold number of discussions regarding the concept of alien invaders visiting our planet. Perhaps it is a leading catalyst for the burgeoning civilian space programs.

Amongst the many “goings on” that have occurred at Area 51 is the development and use of the CIA/ Air force spy plane, the U-2 and its successor, the SR-71 “Blackbird.” In 1968 while passing through Kadena Air Force Base one of my Phantom pilot colleagues took a photo of a taxiing SR-71 and within minutes large numbers of Air Police had surrounded his airplane and he was whisked away. He joined us a few hours later after an interrogation and the confiscation of his camera. A few months later as I was sitting at the mobile control tower at Kunsan AFB in Korea, a SR-71 showed up on short final and the imposing looking “Blackbird” created quite a furor amongst the security folks as the aircraft was immediately cordoned off and surrounded by Air Police. Within two hours a C-130 and KC-135 tanker aircraft landed to provide the needed support to get this big black spy back in the air. It had been headed over Russia to take a few photos when an emergency resulted in a diversion to Kunsan.

On its final flight, the Blackbird, destined for The Air and Space Museum sped from Los Angeles to Washington, DC in 64 minutes at an average speed of 2,145 miles per hour, setting four speed records.

This blog is prepared by Ace Abbott, author of The Rogue Aviator


Since 2012 is going to be a lot of fun, let’s start it off with a few laughs. Some of these jokes have been around for quite a while but most of them will at least create a chuckle. The first one regarding the SR-71 is on the tip of my brain as I am now in the SR-71 phase of a great book, Area 51.   In 1968 when I was a transient F-4 Phantom crewmember at Kadena AFB my pilot colleague was arrested for taking a picture of a taxiing SR-71

  *A PSALM SIGN FOR FLIERS: “Yea,Though I Fly Through the Valley of Death …I Shall Fear No Evil …For I am at 80,000 Feet and Climbing. (sign over the entrance to the SR-71 operating location Kadena, Japan).
*You’ve never been lost until you’ve been lost at Mach 3. (Paul F. Crickmore test pilot)
*From an old carrier sailor – Blue water Navy truism; There are more planes in the ocean than submarines in the sky.
If the wings are travelling faster than the fuselage, it’s probably a helicopter — and therefore, unsafe.
*Navy carrier pilots to Air Force pilots: Flaring is like squatting to pee.
*When one engine fails on a twin-engine airplane you always have enough power left to get you to the scene of the crash.
*Without ammunition, the USAF would be just another expensive flying club.
*What is the similarity between air traffic controllers and pilots? If a pilot screws up, the pilot dies; If ATC screws up, the pilot dies.
*Never trade luck for skill.
*The three most common expressions (or famous last words) in aviation are: “Why is it doing that?”, “Where are we?” And “Oh S#!+!”
*Weather forecasts are horoscopes with numbers.
*Progress in airline flying; now a flight attendant can get a pilot pregnant.
*Airspeed, altitude, and brains. Two are always needed to successfully complete the flight.
*A smooth landing is mostly luck; two in a row is all luck; three in a row is prevarication.
*Mankind has a perfect record in aviation; we never left one up there!
*Flashlights are tubular metal containers kept in a flight bag for the purpose of storing dead batteries.
*Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding or doing anything about it.
*When a flight is proceeding incredibly well, something was forgotten.
*Just remember, if you crash because of weather, your funeral will be held on a sunny day.
*Advice given to RAF pilots during W. W. II.: When a prang (crash) seems inevitable, endeavour to strike the softest, cheapest object in the vicinity as slowly and gently as possible.
*The Piper Cub is the safest airplane in the world; it can just barely kill you. (Attributed to Max Stanley, Northrop test pilot)
*A pilot who doesn’t have any fear probably isn’t flying his plane to its maximum. (Jon McBride, astronaut)
*If you’re faced with a forced landing, fly the thing as far into the crash as possible. (Bob Hoover – renowned aerobatic and test pilot)
*If an airplane is still in one piece, don’t cheat on it; ride the bastard down. (Ernest K. Gann, author &aviator)
*Never fly in the same cockpit with someone braver than you.
*There is no reason to fly through a thunderstorm in peacetime. (Sign over squadron ops desk at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 1970).
*The three best things in life are a good landing, a good orgasm, and, a good bowel movement. 
The night carrier landing is one of the few opportunities in life where you get to experience all three at the same time. (Author unknown, but someone who’s been there)
*”Now I know what a dog feels like watching TV.” (A DC-9 captain trainee attempting to check out on the ‘glass cockpit’ of an A-320).
*If something hasn’t broken on your helicopter, it’s about to.
*Basic Flying Rules: Try to stay in the middle of the air. Do not go near the edges of it. The edges of the air can be recognized by the appearance of ground, buildings, sea, trees and interstellar space. It is much more difficult to fly there.
*You know that your landing gear is up and locked when it takes full power to taxi to the terminal.

The only time you have too much fuel is when you are on fire.