Phantom 550

A plane with local historical significance, the Phantom II is the actual plane (#550) that Brig. Gen. Dan Cherry flew in the Vietnam War when he shot down a MiG-21. Follow the amazing story of the plane’s recovery, restoration and reuniting of pilots.

McDonnell Douglas F-4D Phantom II – SN 66-7550

McDonnell-Douglas F-4D Phantom II on loan from the National Museum of the United States Air Force McDonnell-Douglas F-4D Phantom II on loan from the National Museum of the United States Air Force

On April 16, 1972 General Cherry and his Weapons Systems Officer (WSO) Jeff Feinstein were flying this aircraft, F-4D #66-7550, as number three in a flight of four F-4Ds on a combat air patrol mission over North Vietnam. After an intense five minute dogfight, Cherry and Feinstein score their first kill. It was a camouflaged MiG-21 flown by Lieutenant Nguyen Hong My, who survived the crash and the war, and was later the guest of honor on April 16, 2009 when Aviation Heritage Park was formally opened to the public. This incredible story is chronicled in Cherry’s book, My Enemy – My Friend. Phantom 550 was manufactured in 1967 and completed her service in 1989 after accumulating over 6,000 flying hours. She was acquired by Aviation Heritage Park in December 2005, restored to her original colors and put on display in October 2008.

The USAF credited F-4 crews with 44 MiG kills over Southeast Asia, more than any other type of aircraft. Phantom II production ended in 1979 after more than 5,000 had been built.

Crew: 2 (pilot and weapons system officer)
Length: 58 feet, 2 inches
Wingspan: 38 feet, 5 inches
Height: 16 feet, 6 inches
Powerplant: 2x General Electric J79 turbojets
Weight: Empty – 30,328 lbs. Loaded – 41,500 lbs. Max take-off weight – 61,795 lbs.
Max Speed: Mach 2.23 at altitude. Cruise Speed: 585 mph.
Range: 1,615 miles with 3 external fuel tanks
Armament: Air-to-Air missles. AIM 7 Sparrow. AIM 9 Sidewinder. Air-to-Ground Missiles. General Purpose Bombs. Nuclear Weapons