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#1 Bob Williamson  2005-06-27 00:00
66-0377 was a Thunderbird. No radar package, no gun, VHF radio and smoke pod plumbing/contro ls and hard chrome stab teardrops. The gun cavity was used as a travel pod and the radome had lead the same weight as a radar package. There was also 2 spots in the radome for start carts. When I crewed her at Seymour Johnson, she was a hard wing trainer. Pilots used it and a one of her sister ships, 66-0319 I think, to stay proficient on the BLC version of the F-4E. All of the other F-4Es at SJ, at that time, were soft wings, meaning they had leading edge slats, with TISEO. She was easy to hear. Configured with no weapons pylons and clean as a whistle, she made a distinctive sound when she was in the local flying pattern. I would go to lunch after I launched her, then waited at the chow hall until I heard her make her first low approach over the runway. I'd leave the chow hall and make it back to the ramp before she landed. She held the record for total FMC flights at SJ, 37 straight. I only had to change tires on her every 15 flights. That was because she carried no weight. The last time I saw her was at McGuire AFB in '82. She made a short stop over en-route to some where. She was camo with the Edwards designator on the tail.

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