Where? Manching, Germany
After the show of Jagdgeschwader 71 (JG71) at Wittmund to honour the end of the F-4F Phantom II service for the Luftwaffe at the end of June 2013, the two remaining Phantoms of WTD61 soldiered on for one more month. End of July was the offical end for all German Phantoms due to legal reasons, and the German Flight Test Center used the remaining time to fly their F-4s until the very end.
These photos are a review of the last months of WTD61 flying operations, with a special focus on the last 4 weeks with the special coloured F-4F 38+13.
Some months prior to the event both Phantoms were still in their usual gray camouflage doing their test flights. Even at the end of their career they were doing fine, as Phantom 37+15 was indeed amongst the longest serving German Phantoms, however it was also amongst those with the least flight hours due to non-operational (Luftwaffe) use throughout its career.
From the beginning of July on with one more month of operations photo possibilities were numerous and used well to enjoy the howling sound of the J79 engines and see the smoketrail in the sky.
Of course WTD61 did not fly to please the photographers and Phantom "phans" that gathered in great numbers during the last days of F-4F operations along the fence at Manching, but for their own operational reasons. Until the very last day these trustworthy aircraft were used for numerous flight test tasks. As there is now real replacement their sudden end will leave a serious gap that has to be filled in the years to come. With what platform remains to be seen...
On June, 24th WTD61 celebrated a Phantom Phlyout with some formation fly-bys performed be the last two WTD-pilots qualified on the F-4F Phantom II.
The final end followed the next week: F-4F 37+15 went to the scrapyard at Jever on Monday, July 29th, and the special coloured F-4F 38+13 made the last ever German F-4F Phantom II flight the following day, Tuesday 30th. It landed at Manching again and will serve there as a Gateguard in the future.
Shortly afterwards at the beginning of August 38+13 was placed together with the old "50 years Flugerprobung" scheme on the Northern runway to be photographed from the outside.
Pharewell Phantom, it was a great time!
- Category: Airbases
- Published: 06 August 2013
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