Pre production Phantom II questions

Joined: February 27th, 2005, 12:24 am

October 11th, 2017, 2:01 pm #1

I am back dating a Hasegawa F-4B to a pre production F4H-1 using the Falcon vac conversion set. My question is what was in the back seat area of the early aircraft? Was it just empty or was there test equipment? Was there an instrument panel there? Also, what bang seat was used early on? Was it a McDonnell seat? If it was, would the Demon seat work as a sort of replacement? Did it look similar? Are there any photos of the front cockpit area of the early Phantoms around and how much it differed to the production one?

I understand Tommy Thomason is working on a book on the F4H-1. If you see this Tommy, how far off is publication? Thanks all.
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Joined: October 22nd, 2009, 11:44 pm

Hello, Jon -- Very first F4H-1

October 12th, 2017, 12:08 am #2

flew without a back seat for a bit, at least.

Seat was an MK-5 (or MB-5) as I recall.

Tommy's book will be a terrific addition to my library !!!

I will be following this thread so Thanks for asking these questions.

Happy modeling, George

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Joined: February 27th, 2005, 12:24 am

F4H-1

October 12th, 2017, 12:50 pm #3

Hi George. I was hoping there would be a few more responses to my questions. I think the Jet forum is less traveled on HS compared to Plane Talking.

I know the later Navy Phantoms had the MB Mk5 but I think the very early pre production airframes did not. I don't think the Mk5 was available yet in the late 50's. In some photos of the very early Phantoms that are close enough to see the top of the seat I am sure the seat was not a Mk5 but something else and I'm guessing a McDonnell designed seat. Prior to the Navy choosing MB for all their fighter aircraft seats they were pretty much designed by the parent company. I'm sure no one makes a resin seat that specific so I would think the early Demon seat would be an adequate replacement in 1/48 scale.

So I'm looking for photos of the back seat area and the front cockpit instrument panels and consoles. Google was not much help. Lots of cockpit stuff for later marks and nothing for what I'm looking for.
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Joined: April 3rd, 2005, 11:12 pm

Go to the ejection site

October 12th, 2017, 5:49 pm #4

I am back dating a Hasegawa F-4B to a pre production F4H-1 using the Falcon vac conversion set. My question is what was in the back seat area of the early aircraft? Was it just empty or was there test equipment? Was there an instrument panel there? Also, what bang seat was used early on? Was it a McDonnell seat? If it was, would the Demon seat work as a sort of replacement? Did it look similar? Are there any photos of the front cockpit area of the early Phantoms around and how much it differed to the production one?

I understand Tommy Thomason is working on a book on the F4H-1. If you see this Tommy, how far off is publication? Thanks all.
http://www.ejectionsite.com

They have a diagram of the early McDonnell seat (or at least they did).

Sven
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Joined: March 19th, 2005, 9:12 pm

F4H Seat

October 12th, 2017, 5:59 pm #5

Hi George. I was hoping there would be a few more responses to my questions. I think the Jet forum is less traveled on HS compared to Plane Talking.

I know the later Navy Phantoms had the MB Mk5 but I think the very early pre production airframes did not. I don't think the Mk5 was available yet in the late 50's. In some photos of the very early Phantoms that are close enough to see the top of the seat I am sure the seat was not a Mk5 but something else and I'm guessing a McDonnell designed seat. Prior to the Navy choosing MB for all their fighter aircraft seats they were pretty much designed by the parent company. I'm sure no one makes a resin seat that specific so I would think the early Demon seat would be an adequate replacement in 1/48 scale.

So I'm looking for photos of the back seat area and the front cockpit instrument panels and consoles. Google was not much help. Lots of cockpit stuff for later marks and nothing for what I'm looking for.
Jon,
You are correct. Early Phantoms did not have MB-5 seats.Those early birds had seats designed by McDonnell.
http://www.ejectionsite.com/frame_sg.htm
Early flight test birds with the flat rear canopy also flew without a rear seat installed. I suspect, but have no evidence that the rest of the rear cockpit was probably intact. The seat area might have been used for flight test instrumentation, but since it does not appear to be high enough to been seen in the various photos that is pure speculation for me.
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Joined: May 10th, 2005, 10:47 pm

How Far off is publication?

October 12th, 2017, 7:51 pm #6

I am back dating a Hasegawa F-4B to a pre production F4H-1 using the Falcon vac conversion set. My question is what was in the back seat area of the early aircraft? Was it just empty or was there test equipment? Was there an instrument panel there? Also, what bang seat was used early on? Was it a McDonnell seat? If it was, would the Demon seat work as a sort of replacement? Did it look similar? Are there any photos of the front cockpit area of the early Phantoms around and how much it differed to the production one?

I understand Tommy Thomason is working on a book on the F4H-1. If you see this Tommy, how far off is publication? Thanks all.
You mean from when I thought I'd have it done or to when it will be done? As for the latter, it's dangerously close to not being available before the 60th anniversary of the F4H first flight, which is 27 May next year. It will cover the development of the first 47 Phantom IIs. For the time being, see:
http://tailspintopics.blogspot.com/2013 ... index.html


Which early F4H-1 and when determines whether it has an ejection seat and which one. The first Phantom IIs had a McDonnell-furnished seat (it bore a family resemblance to the F3H seat but the headrest in particular was notably different) See that first link. I'm pretty sure that the Martin-Baker H5 was introduced in production with the 12th F4H, BuNo 145311, which first flew in February 1960. However, at least some earlier airplanes were retrofitted, e.g. the second Sageburner, which was no.8. The first Phantom II flew with no seat in the rear cockpit but one was subsequently installed. Skyburner (no 2) set the speed record with what amounted to a 55-gallon drum of water and antifreeze in the rear cockpit but early on it had McDonnell seats in both the front and rear cockpits and I have a photo of it with a M-B seat in the front cockpit at least. On the other hand, the 6th Phantom II, which was used for the initial carrier suitability work, was retired with a McDonnell seat in the front cockpit and I'm not sure that one was ever installed in the rear cockpit (the black curtain in the canopy was usually pulled forward to cover it).
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Joined: February 27th, 2005, 12:24 am

F4H-1 Seat

October 12th, 2017, 7:58 pm #7

http://www.ejectionsite.com

They have a diagram of the early McDonnell seat (or at least they did).

Sven
Yes. Looking at the diagram the seat is similar to the stock Demon seat. Not exact but close enough for 1/48. It certainly isn't a Mk5.

There has to be some photos of the cockpits from those airframes just not on the net. I'm looking at doing Sageburner since there are some reasonably good photos online of that one. Not a lot but enough. I wanted to get the Cutting Edge set of F4H-1 decals but $40.00 plus postage is a bit much. Had to settle for the Tasman decals. Not the best quality but they will have to do. The were reasonable at $15.00.
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Joined: February 27th, 2005, 12:24 am

F4H-1

October 12th, 2017, 8:21 pm #8

You mean from when I thought I'd have it done or to when it will be done? As for the latter, it's dangerously close to not being available before the 60th anniversary of the F4H first flight, which is 27 May next year. It will cover the development of the first 47 Phantom IIs. For the time being, see:
http://tailspintopics.blogspot.com/2013 ... index.html


Which early F4H-1 and when determines whether it has an ejection seat and which one. The first Phantom IIs had a McDonnell-furnished seat (it bore a family resemblance to the F3H seat but the headrest in particular was notably different) See that first link. I'm pretty sure that the Martin-Baker H5 was introduced in production with the 12th F4H, BuNo 145311, which first flew in February 1960. However, at least some earlier airplanes were retrofitted, e.g. the second Sageburner, which was no.8. The first Phantom II flew with no seat in the rear cockpit but one was subsequently installed. Skyburner (no 2) set the speed record with what amounted to a 55-gallon drum of water and antifreeze in the rear cockpit but early on it had McDonnell seats in both the front and rear cockpits and I have a photo of it with a M-B seat in the front cockpit at least. On the other hand, the 6th Phantom II, which was used for the initial carrier suitability work, was retired with a McDonnell seat in the front cockpit and I'm not sure that one was ever installed in the rear cockpit (the black curtain in the canopy was usually pulled forward to cover it).
Thanks for the link Tommy. I'm looking at doing the Sageburner Phantom that is in storage at I believe Silver Hill. I don't know the airframe number. The reason I will be doing that one is I have the decals for it. Plus, there doesn't seem to be a lot to modify. The intakes look close to being in the final configuration so I thankfully won't need to use the Falcon vac parts. Pretty much add the nose, seeker head and the intakes on the lower nose, remove or fill in the stab leading edges or pick up a Hypersonic set. If I find it had the MB Mk5 installed then I will install that instead of the MAC seat.

As to when you may think you may have your book done, that's ok as I'm still collecting info and parts so probably won't start until next year anyway.

An additional question Tommy. Were the early F4H-1's later considered F-4A's or were the A's a separate series?
Last edited by jon2005 on October 12th, 2017, 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: May 10th, 2005, 10:47 pm

The Second Sageburner

October 12th, 2017, 10:07 pm #9

The 2nd Sageburner was number 8, BuNo 145307. It had the flush canopy and unfortunately was sort of a dog's breakfast from a configuration standpoint. I'm pretty sure that when it was used for the record it had McDonnell seats in both cockpits; when it was delivered to the Smithsonian, it had M-B seats. (It went back to McDonnell for upgrades after the record run.) The inlet was one of the interim early versions, with a cutback hood and a big upper discharge chute. Seehttp://tailspintopics.blogspot.com/2009 ... m-iis.html for a picture of it. I'm pretty sure that it had the cambered stabilator for the record run, certainly when it was delivered to the Smithsonian.

The first 47 Phantom IIs, the survivors anyway, were redesignated F-4A in 1962.
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Joined: October 22nd, 2009, 11:44 pm

RIO did sit in rear seat and that was one reason for the raised

October 13th, 2017, 12:39 am #10

Jon,
You are correct. Early Phantoms did not have MB-5 seats.Those early birds had seats designed by McDonnell.
http://www.ejectionsite.com/frame_sg.htm
Early flight test birds with the flat rear canopy also flew without a rear seat installed. I suspect, but have no evidence that the rest of the rear cockpit was probably intact. The seat area might have been used for flight test instrumentation, but since it does not appear to be high enough to been seen in the various photos that is pure speculation for me.
canopy and the window in the middle as they complained about the lack of vision and perhaps, claustrophobia. Also, the seat needed raising so the two-control version GIB could see in case he had to fly the plane !!
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