Friday, November 18, 2016

F-4K First Flight Markings

I'm pretty sure (although I was there, I didn't notice it at the time) that the F-4K first-flight markings were not the same on the left and right sides.

The right side of XT-595 was marked "McDonnell" in red outlined with white and a big " NO. 1 F-4K" underneath that.

This was subsequently painted over.

I'm pretty sure that the left side did not have the markings on the mid fuselage. Instead, a small "McDonnell" and "No.1 F-4K" were marked on the nose, I believe using temporary paint that was subsequently washed off.

 RAM Decals 72-001 includes the markings for XT-595 (; note that they have assumed that the markings were symmetric and therefore present during two different time periods, which I think is incorrect.

There were at least two small difference between XT-595 and production F-4Ks: the rear cockpit had throttles (but not stick or rudder pedals) and the fuel vent aft of the rudder was 'flat" rather than the V configuration (see and scroll way down). It also had the Mk 5 M-B ejection seats with the metal sugar-scoop parachute containers; I'm not sure when the Mk 7 was introduced.

The flight test team included me, easily identifiable as the youngest member, only a month or so out of college.
Joe Dobronski, newly promoted to be Chief Test Pilot, is in the sport coat on the far left; Bud Murray, who was the F-4K project pilot, is in the flight suit.

Joe's book, A Sky Full of Challenges, is only available from Amazon as an expensive used book.

It used to be available directly from him (see but Joe died last year and the link to order doesn't work. However, it appears to be available as an ebook: see

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