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Homestead’s Phantom returned

10 June 2013

Homestead’s Phantom returned

25º 28′ 57″ N / 80º 27′ 47″ W

— photo by Joseph May

Homestead FL’s McDonnell-Douglas F-4D Phantom II — photo by Joseph May

Through the 1980s the F-4 Phantom II, based at what was then Homestead Air Force Base,  was the front line aircraft for the U.S. Air Force tasked with countering Soviet or Cuban Air Force aircraft threats originating from Cuban air space — which is less than 100 miles (160km) away, knife fighting range with regard to jet combat. Recognizing the importance, as well as their service, the City of Homestead funded a tribute to the F-4 and the personnel responsible for keeping the Phantoms flying by prominently placing a McDonnell-Douglas F-4D Phantom II on a pedestal at the northern entrance to the city nearly which at the southern tip of Florida and gateway to the Florida Keys. The Phantom was dedicated in November 1989 and stood well at the apex intersection of South Dixie Highway (US Hwy 1, or Route 1) and North Flagler Avenue, until 4 August 2012 when it was removed for repair and repainting.

Once again at its former base, now named Homestead Air Reserve Base and equipped with F-16 Fighting Falcons, for the makeover where disassembly, repair, maintenance and repairs were accomplished over a course of several months. The two dozen service members assigned to the 482nd Maintenance Squadron worked 100o hours to bring the aircraft up to specifications (and no less than three coats of paint) with Homestead’s Phantom returned to its pedestal on 12 April 2013. Its orientation directly faces Cuba — coincidence?

— photo by Joseph May

A more dramatic viewing angle of this F-4D — photo by Joseph May

— photo by Joseph May

The tandem seating of the Phantom’s cockpit, pilot up front and Weapons System Operator (“wizzo”) in the rear — photo by Joseph May

— photo by Joseph May

The perspective most often presented by this Mach 2.2 fast mover — photo by Joseph May

blog Homestead F-4_MG_3156

The Phantom II is an aircraft of many and varied angles as well as compound curves — photo by Joseph May

— photo by Joseph May

A view desired by an engaging MiG, but a MiG of your tail is better than no MiG at all (if you are a fighter pilot) but not the tailplane’s 25 anhedral as well as the 12 wingtip dihedral — photo by Joseph May

— photo by Joseph May

Right aspect view of the Homestead F-4 — photo by Joseph May

— photo by Joseph May

Radome nose of the Phantom II as well as the underslung infrared detector — photo by Joseph May

— photo by Joseph May

Underside and just forward of the cockpit showing vents and the forward part of the forward left AIM-7 Sparrow air-to-air missile recess — photo by Joseph May

— photo by Joseph May

Looking to the front the forward pair of AIM-7 Sparrow missile recesses are shown as well as the location of the grounding plug — photo by Joseph May

— photo by Joseph May

The Phantom II’s underside is remarkably clean and the semi delta wing design is evident — photo by Joseph May

— photo by Joseph May

The movable air inlet ramps (the right side one shown here) controlled air flow at supersonic speeds preventing compressor stalls — photo by Joseph May


The USAF has this F-4 on an 8 year cycle for maintenance — 2021 will once again see Homestead’s F-4 making the five hour haul to the base for another makeover. Information for this post was largely derived from the this Homestead Air Reserve Base web page.

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