When the F-4 ruled the skies…

The Air Force’s Thunderbirds have been flying the F-16 for a long time now, since their tragic 1982 crash in which all four planes in a diamond formation crashed together during a training session. For their part, the Navy’s Blue Angels have been flying F-18s since 1986. Both teams put on terrific shows in their current planes. Still, I have always looked back at the days when they flew the F-4, which was such a big, smoky plane – what a show they must have put on in their Rhinos.

Those days may be gone – the Thunderbirds halted F-4 flights in 1973 and the Blue Angels in 1974 – but the world of Flickr captures the old and the new, so today I wanted to pass along two old shots of both of these teams when they were driving F-4s through the sky. Not as nimble as their new jets, but mighty planes. I’ll never see them in person, but Flickr’s a great place to peer into history.

Thunderbirds

Scanned by D18.

Blue Angels

By the father of mvonraesfeld.

If you like this, I encourage you to check out this summary of all of the aviation photography I have featured here.

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