Thunder & Lightnings

McDonnell-Douglas/BAC F-4K/M Phantom II

Survivor XT597

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XT597 - Mark Abbott, Wymeswold, Leicestershire

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Phantom FG.1 XT597 at Bentwaters, 31st August 2019; author

XT597 first flew on the 1st of November 1966 and spent her entire life on various trials work, including the initial carrier suitability trials on USS Coral Sea. Moving from the MoD(PE) to the A&AEE, she became a laboratory aircraft from 1974 onwards and had the long nose probe fitted then. She was used as a high-speed chase and calibration aircraft and on retirement (as the last Spey-powered F-4) was earmarked for lightning strike trials before finally being donated to the Boscombe Down museum where she was one of the star exhibits. Sadly the museum's plans to open to the public on a regular basis were stymied by the MoD bureaucracy and with a massive increase in rent the Collection moved out and had to leave the F-4 behind. Efforts to get her to Bruntingthorpe and return her to ground running condition were sabotaged and she became one of the first F-4s to be disposed of to Everett Aero (in November 2012), who then moved her to storage at Bentwaters. Mark acquired her in late 2019 and had her moved to Wymeswold where she is to form the centerpiece of a new museum.

Information on this page current as of 16/06/2020

Find other photos of XT597 on the following sites:

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