Thunder & Lightnings

McDonnell-Douglas/BAC F-4K/M Phantom II - Survivor XT864

FG.1 XT864 - Ulster Aviation Society, Long Kesh, Lisburn, Northern Ireland

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Phantom FG.1 XT864 at Ulster Aviation Society, 5th March 2022; Jake Wallace

XT864 first flew in April 1968 and was delivered to the RN later that year. Serving with 700(P), 767 and 892 NAS. On retirement from the navy in 1978 she spent a few months stored at RAF St. Athan before re-entering service, now with 111 Squadron, in 1979. In December 1988, a year before 111 were due to re-equip with the Tornado F.3, a refuelling bowser caused some damage to the tailplane and she was retired once it was realised how much work would be involved in a full repair.

She ended up as the gate guard at RAF Leuchars, replacing the Lightning that used to be on display, and becoming the first RAF Phantom to be put on display like this. With RAF Leuchars slated to close, the fears were that she would be scrapped like so many other Phantoms. Happily though, the Ulster Aviation Society managed to acquire her and in January 2015 when they began the enormous task of dismantling her for transport to Northern Ireland, and she hit the road in mid-June.

Despite some years on the gate at Leuchars, XT864 was in pretty good condition. Lots of seized bolts and screws of course, gutted cockpit with no seats, but cosmetically she looked pretty good. However, UAS wasn't satisfied with that - and began a full restoration including a repaint into her 892 NAS colours from 1977, being unveiled as such in 2018. Work continues and they have even got the flaps and folding wingtips operating since then!

There's a superb video on YouTube showing the work they put in to dismantle, transport, and restore XT864.

Information on this page current as of 06/03/2022, last updated by Jake

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