The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a two-seat, supersonic long-range all-weather
fighter-bomber. The aircraft was designed as a USN Fleet defense aircraft and entered
service in 1961. The F-4 soon became one of the few aircraft to be utilized by the USN,
USAF and USMC. The Phantom could carry a varied payload and armament so it was
well suited to do just about any job. Because of its large nose and ruggedness the F-4
earned the nickname “Rhino”, along with others that were less flattering. The F-4 went
on to serve in no less than 11 other countries. Production ended in 1979 with 5,201
aircraft manufactured in 14 different versions.
In 1957 WDT 61 (Wehrtechnische Dienststelle 61) was formed as an Aircraft Technical
and Airworthiness Center. Based in Manching Air Base, Germany the center is the main
facility for testing and evaluating military aircraft and weapons. To mark the WDT 61 50th
Anniversary McDonnell Douglas F-4F 37+16 was given a special orange paint scheme
that included “50 Jahre Flugerprobung” (50 Years Flight Testing) plus written
aerodynamic and flight formulas on various locations on the aircraft as well as the famous
Phantom SPOOKY on the belly.