F-4N Phantom II Photo Walk Around
This is a photo walk around of the McDonnell Douglas 'F-4C' (F-4N) Phantom II on display at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ.
At first blush this appears to be Robin Olds' famous F-4C MiG killer, but the serial number on the aircraft (and identification stencil) are for an F-4D that was part of a group of aircraft assigned to the 50 TFW at Hahn AB. The aircraft that this Phantom portrays, SCAT XXVII, is actually an F-4C that is on dispay at the USAF Museum at Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio. Out in front of this aircraft is a plaque commemorating the River Rats and signed by Lou Drendel.
On closer look at the detail shots, it is clear that someone in AMARC shares my warped sense of humor. What someone did was pull a USN/USMC F-4N out of mothballs and paint it as a USAF F-4D. Of course I had to post this walk around to see who else was awake! Thanks to those of you who emailed proof of intelligent life out there.
While the aircraft has a convincing paint job, there are a few 'details' that give the aircraft away. The fairing under the radome is F-4B/C/N as the F-4D had a bulge under that fairing. The nose gear door has the carrier approach lights on it instead of the twin taxi/landing lights of the USAF versions. The main gear wheels are narrow as used by the F-4B/N. The dead giveaway for me was the top of the vertical stabilizer. The ECM fairing at the rear of the fin tip is standard to most Phantoms, but that antenna protrusion out the front of the fin tip is unique to the F-4N. F-4Ns with that antenna protrusion also had antenna fairings along the top sides of the intakes, but either this aircraft had no antennas or they were removed during its USAF 'cross-dressing'. The other missing details are the inboard pylons. Had the team that converted this aircraft 'borrowed' some USAF inboard pylons, that would have further confused some of the less experienced aircraft spotters. This is further proof that you shouldn't believe everything you see in official exhibits. Kudos to the DM/AMARC crew on this one!