(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)

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Where? Manching, Germany
When? 07/2013

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.

ETSI 3813 2948 Zeitler 700 470 90
ETSI 3813 2948 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI 3813 3129 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI 3813 3998 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI 3813 4028 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI 3813 4074 Zeitler 100 67 85

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.

ETSI 3715 2967 Zeitler 700 470 90
ETSI 3715 2967 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI 3813 7882 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI 3813 7975 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI 3813 8930 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI 3813 8946 Zeitler 100 67 85

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.

1ETSI 3813 2989 Zeitler 700 470 90
1ETSI 3813 2989 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI 3813 2900 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI 3813 2983 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI 3813 2987 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI 3813 3046 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI 3813 3120 Zeitler 100 67 85
1ETSI 3813 3104 Zeitler 700 470 90
1ETSI 3813 3104 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI 3813 3096 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI 3813 3850 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI 3813 3902 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI 3813 3981 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI 3813 4113 Zeitler 100 67 85

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...

 

1ETSN 3813 2898 Zeitler 700 470 90
1ETSN 3813 2898 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSN 3813 2855 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSN 3813 2927 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSN WTD61 2589 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSN WTD61 2703 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSN WTD61 2840 Zeitler 100 67 85

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.

1ETSI Phlyout 4193 Zeitler 700 470 90
1ETSI Phlyout 4193 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI Phlyout 2956 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI Phlyout 4213 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI Phlyout 4218 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI Phlyout 4229 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI Phlyout 4250 Zeitler 100 67 85

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.

1 Manching ETSI 6305 Zeitler 700 470 90
1 Manching ETSI 6305 Zeitler 100 67 85
 Manching ETSI 6271 Zeitler 100 67 85
 Manching ETSI 6600 Zeitler 100 67 85
 Manching ETSI 6611 Zeitler 100 67 85
 Manching ETSI 6681 Zeitler 100 67 85

Pharewell Phantom, it was a great time!

1ETSI 3715 8855 Zeitler 700 470 90
1ETSI 3715 8855 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI 3715 8834 Zeitler 100 67 85
ETSI 3813 8531 Zeitler 100 67 85

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