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Birth of a Legend, McDonnell F4H-1 Phantom II by Tommy Thomason

overscan

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https://thanlont.blogspot.com/2018/11/birth-of-legend-mcdonnell-f4h-1-phantom.html

Volume 108 in the Naval Fighters series is going to be great...

I've been perfecting my latest and very likely last monograph/book for almost as long as my first, U.S. Naval Air Superiority. At some point, however, you have to either declare victory or surrender if the material is to be shared with those of a similar interest. That time has come for me. Birth of a Legend will be published by Ginter Books (http://www.ginterbooks.com/NAVAL/NAVAL.htm) and should be shipping in mid-December, just in time for Christmas.

It isn't listed on the Ginter web site yet, but I recommend that you keep checking it and order directly from him. It isn't much of any extra cost to you but benefits him significantly, enabling him to stay in business, releasing excellent monographs on subjects that the big publishers won't take a chance on. (If you like this one, order my XFL-1 monograph (http://www.ginterbooks.com/NAVAL/NF81.htm); it's pretty good if I do say so myself and he still has lots.)

As the title suggests, Legend is limited, so to speak, to a detailed history of the genesis, design, development, and initial training squadron use of the F4H-1. It is soft-cover, 8 1/2 by 11 inch, and 184 pages (more than 20 in color). It includes at least one picture of each of the first 47 F4H-1s, at least two of which were very hard to come by, as well as a summary history of each one from its first flight to the circumstances of its withdrawal from service. A description of each of the flights that resulted in records and two that tragically didn't is included.

Some of the content is fairly well known but some significant events, like the desk-top evaluation of competing designs at the Bureau of Aeronautics in mid-1954, the redirection of the program from a general-purpose fighter to a fleet-air-defense fighter, the incorporation of boundary-layer control, and the Navy's evaluation/acceptance tests are described in far more depth (and more accurately) than previously. (The fly-off against the Vought F8U-3 was previously covered in detail in Ginter's Naval Fighters No. 87 but is summarized here.)

As is customary in aircraft development programs, changes had to be made as a result of both problem resolution and mission "creep". This is described with numerous illustrations and a configuration summary. A summary of the differences between the 47th F-4A (the redesignation of the first 47 F4H-1/F4H-1Fs) and the 1st F-4B is also provided, with two, the engine inlet and the inflight refueling probe, covered in detail.

As is customary with Ginter monographs, there is a short modelers section that lists the few kits and conversions that are available for the early Phantom IIs. However, the detail provided in this one will be essential to creating an accurate model of one of the first 47.

However well you know the F-4, I'm sure that you will find information within these pages that you did not know or were misinformed about and pictures that you have not seen before.
 

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Sundog

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Oooooh, I definitely did not see this coming. Oh, Santa, I have something else for that list...
 

bercr

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FANTASTIC! I can't wait. Many thanks Tommy.
 

phil gollin

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.

Never understood why it wasn't called a Demon II rather than a Phantom II, as it is obviously derived from the Demon.

.
 

fightingirish

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IMHO, when the F4H-1 Phantom II was introduced , the F3H Demon was still in service or being phased out. So the Navy didn't want to mix the two aircraft up, especially during carrier operations and to prevent confusion in radio calls.
That is also a reason why today the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet has the nickname "Rhino".
 

Dynoman

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It was originally considered as the Super Demon at McDonnell Douglas during the F-4's design development. The F-4's design role was changed from an attack-fighter to a fighter-bomber and then an all-weather fleet defense interceptor with a second crew member to operate the AI radar.
The Demon also had some very bad characteristics. Moving away from the Demon moniker was probably a better PR message to send to the Navy.
 

Tailspin Turtle

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Dynoman said:
It was originally considered as the Super Demon at McDonnell Douglas during the F-4's design development. The F-4's design role was changed from an attack-fighter to a fighter-bomber and then an all-weather fleet defense interceptor with a second crew member to operate the AI radar.
The Demon also had some very bad characteristics. Moving away from the Demon moniker was probably a better PR message to send to the Navy.
What were those "very bad characteristics" relative to other fighters of its generation?
 

overscan

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Its bad characteristics? Demon was underpowered with an unreliable engine and it only had 1 of them. These shortcomings were mostly shared by other contemporary aircraft. The F4D was able to accept the J57, which just didn't fit in the Demon.
 

gatoraptor

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PaulMM (Overscan) said:
Its bad characteristics? Demon was underpowered with an unreliable engine and it only had 1 of them. These shortcomings were mostly shared by other contemporary aircraft. The F4D was able to accept the J57, which just didn't fit in the Demon.
The F3H-1 with an 11,000 lb thrust Westinghouse J40 engine was dangerously underpowered and all examples were eventually grounded. The F3H-2 had the 14,000 lb thrust Allison J71, which was an improvement, but the aircraft was still underpowered, though Demons did serve until 1964. These engines were a reason why both Westinghouse and Allison left the pure-jet market, though Allison did all right with turboprops.
 

Tailspin Turtle

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PaulMM (Overscan) said:
Its bad characteristics? Demon was underpowered with an unreliable engine and it only had 1 of them. These shortcomings were mostly shared by other contemporary aircraft. The F4D was able to accept the J57, which just didn't fit in the Demon.
I'm pretty sure that the Demon got the Allison J71 because J57 production was all but oversubscribed, not because it wouldn't fit. Even the Air Force had to settle for the J71 in its B-66 (e.g. Douglas got to the trough first with the F4D and A3D). There was an early engine problem with flight in heavy rain (flame out and sometimes unable to restart) but that was quickly fixed albeit with a small reduction in thrust. There was also an occasional problem with the afterburner not lighting off after the nozzle opened, which meant that not only did the desired increase in thrust not occur, thrust was actually decreased; that was more of a nuisance since the pilots didn't have to count on it for a wave off. The Wright J65 in the FJ-3 and A4D was very unreliable by comparison early on, primarily because of fuel control failures (at least one FJ-3 squadron was unable to deploy on schedule) but you don't read about those types being dinged for having an unreliable engine.

The F3H was not as underpowered as the F7U-3. It was relatively easy to make a carrier landing in it as opposed to the F4D (dutch roll, among other things), F8U (poor speed stability), or F7U-3 (underpowered and unusual handling qualities in pitch at approach speed). It was big enough to lug around four Sparrows IIIs so it was a true all-weather fighter, which the F4D was not (the Skyray could fly in cloud but didn't have an effective capability to shoot down anything that was in one). The F3H didn't have the huge pitch-change problem when passing through transonic speed like the F4D (and nephews, the F4D was not supersonic in level flight; furthermore, the F3H was probably faster in a dive). The F3H had excellent endurance (2+ hours loaded with four Sparrows), unlike the F4D, which almost never was without its performance-degrading pair of 300-gallon fuel tanks and still needed to be back aboard in less than two hours. One CAG thought so little of the F4D that he asked to deploy with an F2H-3/4 squadron instead.

Note that the Navy replaced its F4Ds as fast as it could with F4Hs when they became available and then replaced the F3Hs. The Marines didn't get any F3Hs, probably because the Navy preferred them to the F4D.

So again, Dynoman, what were the F3H's "very bad characteristics"?
 

Sundog

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Santa dropped this off and it's an amazing piece of work. I was hoping for more about the plug nozzle, but I guess that's more of an engine reference than an airplane reference and you told me more about it one picture caption than I've found anywhere else.

I'll be reading it from cover to cover within the next month, but this book delves much deeper into its development than I was expecting and I'm very happy about that, as I love that kind of reference material.

Just based on my cursory initial run through of this book, all I can say is great work Tommy. ;D
 

Dynoman

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I've not had a chance to pick up Tommy's book, but from the reviews I've read here it sounds like a winner.

The comment on the Demon's 'very bad characteristics' were aimed at the propulsion system problems beginning with the under-powered J40 and then the reliability issues and the under-powered performance of the J71 replacement engine (i.e. compressor stalls, flameouts, flights in to rain and icing conditions). Power for go-arounds on approach to the carrier were often unavailable when needed so pilots would fly the approach with the speed brake deployed in order to have adequate power available when needed (i.e. close the speed brake). Not uncommon to aircraft of the era as spool-up times and compressor stalls required such techniques. Also, compressor stalls were commonly mistaken as flameouts from cockpit indications in the Demon, which had some pilots ejecting from the aircraft when it was still operable. On the other end of the envelope, high speed flight (in the transonic speed range) also resulted in a 'wing warp' that would induce a roll. An inboard spoiler was later included to prevent this from happening.

A good account of the Demon's problems are are recounted by Demon Driver Bob Jellison. His website and memories of the Demon can be found below:

http://www.bobjellison.com/index.htm


All in all, I personally liked the design of the F3H (i.e. planform and configuration, cockpit visibility, weapons load, etc.). I think Demon, like other aircraft of the era, suffered developmental problems, which the Demon was able to overcome. In fact many of the pilots that flew it liked the aircraft once the J71 was installed. It got a bad-rap from the number of early crashes that the program had.
How can you not like a fighter whose bloodline resulted in the Phantom II. (One of my favorites!)
 
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