1986 Image Shows Crashed F-4 Phantom at Gulfport, Mississippi

crashed f 4 phantom gulfport  1986 Image Shows Crashed F-4 Phantom at Gulfport, Mississippi(Image: US Air Force, public domain)

This black and white photo shows the aftermath of an incident that took place on March 14, 1986 at Gulfport, Mississippi, in which an F-4 Phantom sustained damage during an emergency landing and ended up in a field not far from the main runway.

The jet, serial number 66-7675, which belonged to the 170th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the Illinois Air National Guard, was returning from a training mission at the time.  The Phantom remained largely intact and, although the crew was forced to eject, nobody was injured during the incident.

Keep reading – dive the submerged F-4 Phantom of Subic Bay and visit the crashed Phantom at the Hanoi Aviation Museum.

US Set to Lose Hundreds of Planes in Pentagon Budget Cuts

a 10 amarc  US Set to Lose Hundreds of Planes in Pentagon Budget Cuts(Image: Ed Siasoco, cc-3.0)

The mighty US Air Force is set to lose around 200 aircraft from its 4,000-strong fleet, in the latest round of Obama administration budget cuts. It’s unclear which planes will be axed but they’re likely to be mainly older models (some active jets – although heavily upgraded – have been flying since the 1980s).

amarc  US Set to Lose Hundreds of Planes in Pentagon Budget Cuts(Image: Tom Brandt, cc-sa-3.0)

Meanwhile, the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), also known as the most expensive defense programme ever, is still some way from active deployment, and the Air Force’s efforts to replace the B-2 Spirit with a Next Generation Bomber (NGB) remains on the cards.

amarc mothballed aircraft  US Set to Lose Hundreds of Planes in Pentagon Budget Cuts(Images: Alaskan Dude, cc-3.0)

Find out more at Danger Room. Since Wired used an image of a banged-out MiG-21 to illustrate the coming cuts to US military aircraft, we thought we’d leave you with these images of defunct American jets. Last year we reported that the number of aircraft stored at Davis-Monthan AFB, also known as AMARG or the Boneyard, had diminished. Now, it seems, the number is set to once again increase.

Nottinghamshire’s Infamous A1 Lightning Finally Scrapped

lightning xn728  Nottinghamshire’s Infamous A1 Lightning Finally Scrapped(Image: Bob Danylec, cc-sa-2.0)

In what has been hailed by many as the end of an era, a derelict English Electric Lightning fighter that had become a landmark to travellers along the A1 road near Balderton in England has finally been scrapped. One of the last remaining Lightning F.2As, the retired jet left RAF Coningsby in 1983 bound for the former haulage yard that was destined to be its home for the next 28 years.

lightning xn728 1983  Nottinghamshire’s Infamous A1 Lightning Finally Scrapped(Image: David Cowling, cc-sa-2.0)

The retired decoy aircraft, serial number XN728, which served in Germany at the height of the Cold War, was purchased from the British government by A1 Commercial Sales in a bid to attract business to the yard. But it wasn’t long before the site was derelict and a campaign of vandalism and theft ensued, which was to be the story of the Lightning’s existence for almost three decades.

lightning xn728 2000s  Nottinghamshire’s Infamous A1 Lightning Finally Scrapped(Image: John Goldsmith, cc-sa-2.0)

The Balderton yard was occupied and abandoned on multiple occasions over the years, but the Lightning somehow remained on site despite efforts by the local council to have it removed. Numerous efforts were made to save the ailing fighter – some of them reportedly by film companies – but all offers were rejected and enquiries – including one by the author – hit a brick wall.

lightning xn728 graffiti  Nottinghamshire’s Infamous A1 Lightning Finally Scrapped(Image: Andrew Barclay, cc-nc-nd-2.0)

Meanwhile, XN728, which came complete with two engines, was slowly and systematically reduced to a gutted hulk. In addition to vandalism and theft of major components, the wings – which were cut off for transport – had warped, and a metal framework intended to stabilise the aircraft had cut through the ventral tank.

lightning xn728 vandalised  Nottinghamshire’s Infamous A1 Lightning Finally Scrapped(Image: John Goldsmith, cc-sa-2.0)

Rumours that the yard’s latest owner was planning a restoration effort never solidified into fact, and one week ago, on September 9, 2011, the Cold War warrior was torn apart for scrap. Despite it being a day long anticipated, aviation enthusiasts and Lightning fans in particular will scarcely believe that XN728’s days are finally over.

xn728 lightning  Nottinghamshire’s Infamous A1 Lightning Finally Scrapped(Image courtesy of Gary Parsons, Air-Scene UK)

While a good number of English Electric Lightnings have been preserved, XN728 was the only remaining F.2A in England and one of only two in the UK. An image of the jet was used several years ago on a T-shirt range by clothing designer Paul Smith, but the company could not produce any photos of the collection when asked by the author.

Photographer Discovers Plane that Once Ferried Him Across Atlantic in Tucson Scrap Yard

scrap plane  Photographer Discovers Plane that Once Ferried Him Across Atlantic in Tucson Scrap Yard(Image: Phillip Capper, cc-3.0)

Catching a flight is as mundane as taking a bus for most people.  But when aviation enthusiast Phillip Capper stumbled across this abandoned Boeing 707 in a plane graveyard in Tucson, Arizona, he recognised the derelict jet as one that had transported him across the Atlantic some 20 years earlier.  While many won’t feel any particular connection to the airliners that ferry them across the world, it must be an odd feeling to one day find the remains of one in a boneyard.

Out of the Wild: Consolidated Catalinas Salvaged in Alaska

catalina salvage  Out of the Wild: Consolidated Catalinas Salvaged in Alaska(Images: left, right by Sgt. Kevin L. Bishop, U.S. Army, public domain)

Two weeks ago we featured a Consolidated Catalina wreck (“Katie”) that survives on the island of Diego Garcia.  Here’s one that has endured in a far more arduous environment.  The aircraft, assigned to the 10th Rescue Squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska, was forced to make an emergency landing at Lake Dago in 1947 due to engine trouble.  Written-off, she was stripped for parts before eventual salvage in 1984.  The Catalina is now displayed at the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum at Anchorage.  (More photos here.)

catalina salvage 2  Out of the Wild: Consolidated Catalinas Salvaged in Alaska(Image: Capt. Lewis R. Devoe, USNR, public domain)

Unlike the Lake Dago aircraft above, this PBY-5 Catalina flying boat from Patrol Squadron VP-45 at Casco Cove, Alaska, waited less than a week to be salvaged.  On August, 23 1943, the aircraft sank to a depth of 30 metres during takeoff on particularly high seas.  She was salvaged on August 27 and was presumably either returned to flight or stripped for parts.  Explore the history of this aircraft type at The Catalina Society.

The Calatina “Katie” Wreck on Diego Garcia, Indian Ocean

catalina wreck  The Calatina “Katie” Wreck on Diego Garcia, Indian Ocean(Image: Steve Swayne, cc-sa-3.0)

This wrecked Consolidated PBY Catalina flying boat was torn from its moorings on September 16, 1944 when a cyclone struck the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.  Damaged beyond repair, the American-built Catalina, which was serving with the Royal Air Force, was stipped of useful parts and abandoned on the beach.  Named “Katie” by her pilot, 21-year-old Pilot Officer James Park, she is still visible today, more than 65 years after the storm, albeit sinking into the sand.  This excellent page details the full story and photos.

Second Chance for Neglected Saab 35 Draken Jet

saab 35 draken finland  Second Chance for Neglected Saab 35 Draken Jet(Image: All images by Sameli Kujala, all rights reserved)

While abandoned aircraft and plane graveyards can be fascinating sights and poignant reminders that yesterday’s cutting edge technology is tomorrow’s scrap metal, it’s always pleasing to see a neglected fighter plane restored to health. Photographer Sameli Kujala captured this Saab 35 Draken in the middle of a cosmetic rebuild, after the jet was moved from the Finnish municipality of Oulunsalo to its new location.

saab draken finland preserved  Second Chance for Neglected Saab 35 Draken Jet

All but abandoned prior to the move, with smashed canopy and signs of vandalism, the Draken looks much better with a newly installed canopy and a good clean. Now it just needs its wings back. Find out more about this aircraft, and other aviation abandonments, by visiting our companion site Urban Ghosts.