Wednesday, July 24, 2013

McDonnell F4H Phantom II World Speed Records

Speed Record_1 Speed Record 1_1 In September of 1960, the new Phantom II set several world speed records. McDonnell Aircraft issued pamphlets after each run and here are two of them.

Info from Wikipedia:

To show off their new fighter, the Navy led a series of record-breaking flights early in Phantom development:

* Operation Top Flight: On 6 December 1959, the second XF4H-1 performed a zoom climb to a world record 98,557 ft (30,040 m). The previous record of 94,658 ft (28,852 m) was set by a Soviet Sukhoi T-43-1 prototype. Commander Lawrence E. Flint, Jr., USN accelerated his aircraft to Mach 2.5 at 47,000 ft (14,330 m) and climbed to 90,000 ft (27,430 m) at a 45 degree angle. He then shut down the engines and glided to the peak altitude. As the aircraft fell through 70,000 ft (21,300 m), Flint restarted the engines and resumed normal flight.

* On 5 September 1960, an F4H-1 averaged 1,216.78 mph (1,958.16 km/h) over a 500 kilometer (311 mi) closed-circuit course.
* On 25 September 1960, an F4H-1 averaged 1,390.21 mph (2,237.26 km/h) over a 100 kilometer (62 mi) closed-circuit course.

* Operation LANA: To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Naval aviation (L is the Roman numeral for 50 and ANA stood for Anniversary of Naval Aviation) on 24 May 1961, Phantoms flew across the continental United States in under three hours and included several tanker refuelings. The fastest of the aircraft averaged 869.74 mph (1,400.28 km/h) and completed the trip in 2 hours 47 minutes, earning the pilot (and future NASA Astronaut), Lieutenant Richard Gordon, USN and RIO, Lieutenant Bobbie Long, USN, the 1961 Bendix trophy.

* Operation Sageburner: On 28 August 1961, a Phantom averaged 902.769 mph (1,452.826 km/h) over a three-mile (4.82 km) course flying below 125 ft (40 m) at all times. Commander J.L. Felsman, USN was killed during the first attempt at this record on 18 May 1961 when his aircraft disintegrated in the air after pitch damper failure.

* Operation Skyburner: On 22 December 1961, a modified Phantom with water injection set an absolute world record speed of 1,606.342 mph (2,585.086 km/h).

* On 5 December 1961, another Phantom set a sustained altitude record of 66,443.8 ft (20,252.1 m).

* Operation High Jump: A series of time-to-altitude records was set in early 1962; 34.523 seconds to 3,000 m (9,840 ft), 48.787 seconds to 6,000 m (19,680 ft), 61.629 seconds to 9,000 m (29,530 ft), 77.156 seconds to 12,000 m (39,370 ft), 114.548 seconds to 15,000 m (49,210 ft), 178.5 seconds to 20,000 m (65,600 ft), 230.44 seconds to 25,000 m (82,000 ft), and 371.43 seconds to 30,000 m (98,400 ft). Although not officially recognized, the Phantom zoom-climbed to over 100,000 ft (30,480 m) during the last attempt.

All in all, the Phantom set 16 world records. With the exception of Skyburner, all records were achieved in unmodified production aircraft. Five of the speed records remained unbeaten until the F-15 Eagle appeared in 1975.


Download the Speed Record pamphlet in a PDF here

Download the Speed Record Again pamphlet in a PDF here

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