F-4 Phantom recovery?

HomeBuiltAirplanes.com

Help Support HomeBuiltAirplanes.com:

halfscalemustang

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2010
Messages
52
Location
Osawatomie, KS United States
So here the story, when I was in eight grade a couple of my buddies told me that while deere hunting on their uncles property they found an airplane crash site. For whatever reason we could never get together to go check it out. Last week I was working away and for some reason I remembered that story and it so happen my buddy comes in the shop that same day. I asked him about it and if he could show it to me. He agreed and we set out Sunday afternoon into rural kansas on the hunt for what he said was a WWII fighter. When we got to the site and I started looking over the individual pieces I quickly realized this was no WWII plane. Everything was heavier and and in too good of condition. After looking a dozens of photos I am fairly confident that its an F-4 Phantom, due to the folding wing tips and a 1968 overhaul sticker. Is something like that worth recovering? Just thought I would throw that story out there. Its pretty well buried, apperently the military thought it wasn't worth recovering so they pushed dirt over the top of it and left it.
 

TFF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
13,013
Location
Memphis, TN
Would it be worth recovering? Yes. What you do with it afterwards is the hard question.
 

Norman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2003
Messages
2,966
Location
Grand Junction, Colorado
If you recover it the air force will probably take it away from you. I kid you not. The navy has done exactly that and threatened to prosecute the restorer for theft. Ask the branch that the aircraft came from if they still consider it theirs. If they do claim it then you'll lose any money you invest in the recovery and restoration.
 

Nickathome

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2009
Messages
758
Location
S.E. PA
If you recover it the air force will probably take it away from you. I kid you not. The navy has done exactly that and threatened to prosecute the restorer for theft. Ask the branch that the aircraft came from if they still consider it theirs. If they do claim it then you'll lose any money you invest in the recovery and restoration.
I would go another route and send the navy a bill for past rent owed on storing the aircraft on private property......Assuming of course its your land. I would think they'd be liable for a $ amount for leaving their property on someone else's without asking the owner? It would probably not go anywhere but you could try. That or dig it up, part it out to whoever will buy the parts and don't tell the navy squat. And if they ever come looking for their plane "doubt it", you simply say "what plane, no idea what you're talking about"......
 

Vigilant1

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
4,945
Location
US
It can't be worth the trouble. I'll bet there are lots of preserved F-4s at the boneyard so major airfame parts are available. Plus, depending on how well it was "cleaned up" you could have a bit of a toxic mess on your hands (hydraulic fluid--possibly with PCBs, fuel, all kinds of chromates and other stuff that have leached off the panels, etc). Hopefully there's nothing immediately dangerous (ejection seat rockets, ammunition, etc) as that would have been cleaned up before burying the jet. Anything really valuable would have been taken off before burial or has been ruined since by exposure to damp soil. There might be one or two "neat" things to get and put on a shelf (dataplates, control stick, parts of the instrument panel, etc), but nothing I'd find it worth digging for.
 

halfscalemustang

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2010
Messages
52
Location
Osawatomie, KS United States
I would be most interested in finding the engine. The pilot ejected and landed a couple miles away from the crash site uninjured. I just thought it would be totally awsome to excavate it and just see what all was left.
 

Toobuilder

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2010
Messages
4,758
Location
Mojave, Ca
I would be most interested in finding the engine...
...you mean engines...

I'm no expert on the legality of recovery, but I have heard that the Navy maintains a claim to all their equipment forever. There can be no salvage, only a surplus sale.. The other branches are less concerned about their stuff getting out. That said, if this is an F-4, there are lots of airframes in much better shape available. If you are looking for a display, it does not take much to simply ask for one. It does remain the property of the government though, and even the long standing "gate guards" are inspected once in a while to make sure that they remain intact. If you are looking to fly it, then you have way too much money on your hands.

Would be cool to dig up some stuf and keep it around as a keepsake though. Got any pictures?
 
Top