2013 Phantom Pharewell, Wittmund AB
Updated: Jan 28, 2018
On June 29th 2013 the German Luftwaffe bad farewell to one of its most favourite birds of all time, the F-4F Phantom II. After 40 years in service with several units, Jagdgeschwader 71 "Richthofen" at Wittmund had the honours of flying the very last operational mission during a well organised open house with many aviation and Phantom lovers from all over the world present (actually WTD 61 flew the last mission on 24 July of the same year).
Prior to this event the unit organised a day for photographers on Friday June 28th, which was attended by NSA.
Despite the well organised event, the weather decided not to cooperate resulting in a very rainy day, appropriate to this sad occasion.
The JG71 wing commander Oberst Roubal came up with the idea to paint four aircraft in different colour schemes paying a tribute to the F-4F in German service.
Two aircraft flew in retro schemes, the 38+10 received the original Norm 72 green and grey camouflage, the 38+33 the 'toned-down' Norm 81 scheme.
F-4F 38+33 in the Norm 81 scheme
F-4F 38+10 in the Norm 72 scheme
The 37+22 was painted in a fresh Norm 90 scheme, the standard camouflage for the last 23 years.
The very first F-4F in German service 37+01 received a stunning electric blue and gold Phantom pharewell scheme with the inscription 'first in and last out', becoming the new gate guard after its final flight.
The first F-4F 37+01 taken at Volkel AB during the Klu Open Days on June 14th
Also two Phantoms from the testunit WTD 61 at Manching-Ingolstadt were present during the pharewell party. One aircraft received a striking black and yellow scheme with a pharewell badge of WTD 61 and the inscription 'don't let me die, I want to fly"
F-4F 38+13 in it's black and yellow scheme
Panhtom Pharewell badge of WTD 61
The second aircraft flew in the regular Norm 90 scheme, but had some interesting equipment under its wings and fusulage, amongst two different sensor pods.
F-4F 37+15 of WTD 61 with a large Mess System Sensor Pod (MSSP)
Beside the static display of the special aircraft the start-up procedure of a F-4F Phantom was also demonstrated several times during the day. The well known sound and smoke will sadly be missed!