‘I assured him that I know his official green Chevy pickup very well and would certainly avoid him,’ David Storm, USAF F-4 Phantom II pilot.
McDonnell initially created the F-4 Phantom II for the US Navy in 1958 to provide defensive “top cover” for the fleet, however, the F-4 went on to serve with the Air Force, Marines, and 15 other nations around the world. It has served as an interceptor, a fighter, a bomber, a close-support attack aircraft, a reconnaissance aircraft, an air defense suppression platform, and as a target drone. As of 2022, four air forces are still flying the Phantom, 64 years after the first F-4 flew.
When the F-4 was used in the fighter-bomber role, its pilots were trained to fly the Phantom II at very low level.
David Storm, former USAF F-4 Phantom II pilot, told to The Aviation Geek Club;
‘In the late ’70’s I was in Stan/Eval (Flight Evaluation) in the F-4 wing at Nellis. When giving crews their Tactical Flight Eval, they would plan a low-level mission to the range. I would take off early and hide out in the mountains and desert and try to attack them to check their visual lookout.
‘As happens with any fighter, they occasionally were late or had to abort which left poor me with an F-4 full of gas and 3/4 of the state of Nevada to play. It was a good chance to practice ridge crossings, “ultra” low level flying, and such. There were wild horses to chase and an occasional RV to avoid. One day doing a “snake check” down a jeep trail as low as I could go, I came over a little rise and was eyeball to eyeball with a pickup truck. 6-G pullup and hope he made it home with clean underwear!
‘Second half of the story – I came home one day and my neighbor was outside to meet me. He was the State Brand Inspector for Nevada – yes, they had one. Most of his duties were up on the BLM land / Nellis ranges investigating cattle rustling. He accused me of running him off the road in my F-4, which happened quite often to him.’
‘I assured him that I know his official green Chevy pickup very well and would certainly avoid him.’
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