APRIL 2010 – Not a every day event you can acquire a USAF Mig Killer item and prove it is authentic.
I cleaned my F-4D PhantomII – Martin Baker H7 model ejection seat this weekend and learnt a few ALSE tricks with how to fit the Martin Baker parts onto the seat in reassembling.
I found out further history of the seat by examining some data plates in detail.
In researching the history of the seat i found the following data –
- the main frame of the seat, marked as FWD – ie the pilot – according to information available says it is from serial 66-7554.
According to my extensive F4 Phantom information research which has included former USAF F-4 Phantom crews who i have got in touch with, the seat main frame if going by the markings, potentially comes from – MIG KILLER – F-4D Phantom II – Block 30 – MC- USAF serial 66-7554.
This aircraft is now is on display at the USAF Warner Robbins Air base, Georgia, USA.
This F-4D Phantom airframe is known to served in the Vietnam War – flying with the 8th TFW which was famously lead by Robin Olds in 1967-1968.
The Mig Kill data indicates a Mig Kill took place on:
|14th February 1968 – Mig17 – Maj R D Howerton / 1st L Voigt II 555th / 8th TFW|
The 7554 crew scored the USAF last ever Mig kill in Operation Rolling Thunder in 1968. This kill over the Mig -17 was done using a gun pod which was slung under the belly of the F4 Phantom. It housed a SUU-23 20mm minigun.
The aircraft was later seen in July 1971 as assigned to 555th TFS, 42nd TFW, Thailand on with Oyster tail code markings “OY” (66-7554). The 555th TFS – was a very famous unit – full of Mig Killers at this time and the airframe acquired a 2nd Mig Kill painted onto it.
This second kill came from another pilot it seems. The aircraft at this time carried nose or rather – intake art – with Snoppy in a helmet.
Photos of 66-7554 can be seen here –
So how did this seat frame came from the Mig Killing airframe leaves a few questions for me to try and find out.
- The seat pan is marked AFT seat – ie the rear seater or WSO / navigator – from another Phantom and the packing case for the drogue chute comes from another AFT seat in another F-4 Phantom. The seat pan was made in 1974.
EJECTION SEAT SERIAL No.
- The seat survival kit pan came off with some work and revealed the serial number of the seat.The serial is sadly missing a date of issue. Neverless we can see it is seat N0. 1862 and is a USAF H7 version – 2.
EJECTION MAINTENANCE BOOKLET RECORD
- The parachute main housing packing data booklet says this seat- marked as #81 on the main parachute pack housing unit – comes from USAF F-4D Phantom serial 66-7539. This airframe was recorded as ending service in 1989 which ties in with its parachute log history down to the day:
Researching 66-7539 history finds it was : wfu 13oct89 AMARC AA FP0344
Here is the booklet. See right hand corner for serial#.
Here is a photo of 66-7539 in USAF service:
Other main usable components were found such as various strap material and important parts with limited life time or yearly replacement dates were found to range from 1981 thru to 1988 on the seat.
With the various seat parts with different traceable history, it leads me to ask did the USAF swap seat parts around – possibly so – or either the previous owner rebuilt the seat out parts when he found then.
Here are some better views of my nearly complete F-4D Phantom seat.
To full restore the seat i am still needing the right shoulder strap harness, a parachute C-9 type, a catapult frame core and a rocket pack frame. Otherwise all the parts are there to show off a rare item.