On 21 Dec 2016, the United States Air Force officially retired their McDonnell Douglas QF-4E Phantom IIs from active duty service. During the morning activities for that day, four of the Phantoms were flown for the crowd that attended the ceremony. Prior to the launch of these 4 phantoms, attendees had the chance to see the aircraft up close along with 9 other QF-4E drones that were on display. Along with that there were 3 QF-16s for people to take a look at. The flying activities started off with a 2-ship formation takeoff followed by 2 individual aircraft making afterburner turns over the crowd as they left the area. All 4 of the aircraft soon climbed up to altitude and performed a mach over the base in order to break the sound barrier. The first 2 sonic booms caught the crowd by surprise, but every one was soon waiting and watching for the last 2 aircraft to produce their sonic booms. The 4-ship eventually came down from above and made a few passes in formation before separating and executing numerous low approaches and performing for the crowd. Numbers 3 & 4 landed first and were greeted in front of the crowd with a water shower from the base fire department. These 2 pilots were also having their final flights with the 82nd Aerial Target Squadron (ATRS). Lt Col Ron "Elvis" King (82nd ATRS Commander) and his wingman continued to perform a few low approaches before coming in to land. Both of these pilots and aircraft were also greeted with a water shower as they taxied in to parking. Lt Col King did however taxi in and park his aircraft away from the others and in front of the hangar and stage where the retirement ceremony would take place. The aircraft that performed the fly-overs and low approaches were the following serial numbers: 74-1638, 74-1645, 74-0643 & 74-1043. There were 2 spare aircraft on standby in case one of the primary jets was not able to make the flight and their serial numbers were: 73-1167 & 74-1625. The static drones on the ramp were the following serial numbers: 68-0450, 68-0452, 68-0464, 72-0162, 72-0166, 73-1181 & 74-0648.
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