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The sky was crying tears for the Phantom Pharewell event at Wittmund airbase. With initially nearly winter weather the last week-end in June was the date for the officially last days of Luftwaffe F-4F Phantom operations and celebrated with an Open Doors day.

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Where? Wittmund, Germany
When? 28-29/06/2013

Several months of preparation showed well all the efforts that went into these celebrations: "Retro scheme" Phantoms in Norm 72 "38+10" and Norm 81 "38+33" camouflage were revealed in the months preceding this event, and the special coloured Phantom in blue/gold "37+01" - the first F-4F to join the first Luftwaffe wing and also the last one to land in Wittmund that day - was also ready early enough to be celebrated at some other events before the show at Wittmund.

Phlyout Details 2328 Zeitler 700 470 90
Phlyout Details 2328 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Phantom 2581 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Phantom 2610 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Phantom 2614 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Phantom 2616 Zeitler 100 67 85
APhlyout Take Off 2520 Zeitler 700 470 90
APhlyout Take Off 2520 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout 3701 2640 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout 3701 2646 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout 3701 2658 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Take Off 2502 Zeitler 100 67 85
Zhlyout 3701 2537 Zeitler 100 67 85

In a "Final Stampede" about two weeks the two Retro Scheme furthermore paid tribute to the former Luftwaffe airfields operating the F-4F Phantom by doing a round trip all around Germany.

For the Pharewell Event itself a Spotters Day was organized on Friday afternoon. Around 3000 enthusiasts clearly showed the huge interest and despite the awful weather the atmosphere was actually quite good. Many special schemes of the Luftwaffe and foreign nations were present as well as the main acts for the flying display the next day were well placed in front of the shelters without any barriers disturbing the view.

APhlyout So 2161 Zeitler 700 470 90
APhlyout So 2161 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Phantoms 2170 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Phantoms 2290 Zeitler 100 67 85
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Phlyout Phantoms 2341 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Phantoms 2372 Zeitler 100 67 85
APhlyout Luftwaffe 2251 Zeitler 700 470 90
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Despite the phour Phantoms of JG71 "Richthofen" the Phinal Phantom of WTD61 was the highlight on the ground, sporting an elegant scheme combining the "orange" test colour with black, the colour of mourning.

APhlyout So 2338 Zeitler 700 470 90
APhlyout So 2338 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Details 2253 Zeitler 100 67 85
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Phlyout Details 2360 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Details 2361 Zeitler 100 67 85
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Furthermore special tails on Belgian F-16s, a Spanish F/A-18, the Luftwaffe AG51 "Tiger" Tornado, JG73 "Steinhoff" Eurofighter and an A-4 Skyhawk along the shelter area were great to see. But what a shame the weather did not cooperate!

BPhlyout So 2280 Zeitler 700 470 90
BPhlyout So 2280 Zeitler 100 67 85
CPhlyout So 2201 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Phantoms 2284 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout So 2171 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout So 2282 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout So 2354 Zeitler 100 67 85

During the show day itself on June 29th it was more about the enjoy the atmosphere, to do some shopping and meet old friends of the Phantom community. The cloud layer was still hanging very low, all the aircraft were fenced of tightly, and strong winds prevented some of the older aircraft to even take-off. Apart from some biplanes only the BAe Systems A-4 Skyhawk – usually used as a target towing aircraft and somehow the biggest rarity in the air – made many people rush towards the fence.

APhlyout So 2420 Zeitler 700 470 90
APhlyout So 2420 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout So 2399 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout So 2417 Zeitler 100 67 85
ZPhlyout So 2363 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Static 2238 Zeitler 700 470 90
Phlyout Static 2238 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Static 2257 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Static 2275 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Static 2392 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Static 2413 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Static 2424 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout A 4 2418 Zeitler 700 470 90
Phlyout A 4 2418 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout A 4 2421 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout A 4 2433 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout A 4 2446 Zeitler 100 67 85

Fortunately around midday the weather gods finally sympathized with the crowd and it cleared up. Just in time for the final minutes of Luftwaffe Phantom action.

Phlyout Phantom 2593 Zeitler 700 470 90
Phlyout Phantom 2593 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Take Off 2488 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Taxi 2460 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Taxi 2478 Zeitler 100 67 85

 

APhlyout 3810 2604 Zeitler 700 470 90
APhlyout 3810 2604 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout 3810 2619 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Formation 2468 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Take Off 2529 Zeitler 100 67 85
ZPhlyout 3810 2506 Zeitler 100 67 85

The flying consisted of some formation fly-bys, a pass together with two Eurofighters of JaboG31 "Boelcke", which will join with JG71 "Richthofen" for the Eurofighter operations, and towards the end low passes and touch and goes thrilled the crowed.

APhlyout Eurofighter 2577 Zeitler 700 470 90
APhlyout Eurofighter 2577 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Eurofighter 2482 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Eurofighter 2485 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Eurofighter 2556 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Eurofighter 2573 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Eurofighter 2578 Zeitler 100 67 85

After the final landing of 37+01, which was the first Phantom of the Luftwaffe and the last to land at Wittmund, all aircraft taxied in front of the crowd to make sure that everyone on the airfield was able to hear and feel this charismatic aircraft for a last time.

What remains to say? Of course the variety of the flyinag display cannot be compared with other major airshows, but on the other side the event was centred on the Phantom and the final low passes will stay in the memories phorever. It was good to be there, thanks for all setting up this great show. It was a fitting tribute to the last smoker on the European sky,

APhlyout Formation 2492 Zeitler 700 470 90
APhlyout Formation 2492 Zeitler 100 67 85
BPhlyout Formation 2461 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout 3701 2631 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Formation 2487 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Formation 2538 Zeitler 100 67 85
Phlyout Formation 2551 Zeitler 100 67 85

Phantom ... Pharewell!!

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