A man sent me the following query in an email message:

“Just re-looking at your F-4 specs; realize my Navy Phantom (it was a B with J79-GE-8) was in some ways different; as example I’m sure it was 60 feet in length, rather that the 58 you list in your AF.   But it’s weight that confuses me a bit.  You list max take-off weight as 55,000. My admittedly lousy memory is that internal tanks were 2,000 gals., the center external was 600 gals and the 2 wing tanks were 370 each; making fuel at 3,300 gals. 23,400 lbs.  The 4 Sparrows were 1,000 pounds each and the 4 Sidewinders were 250 each making take-off 61,312 pounds about 6,000 pounds heavier tan you list for max take-off.  Are my numbers off? Just wondering what you think?”

I sent him this reply:

I’ve attached some pages from my F-4E and F-4C/D dash 1 for your info.  Note the following:

1.  Length of the C/D model is 58’3”

2.  Length of the E model is 63’

3.  Block 50 E model GW clean with full internal fuel and Aero-27A rack = 33,000 lbs.

4.  Block 50 E model full load of internal + external fuel = 3,402 gallons = 22,113 lbs

5.  Block 50 E model GW with full internal fuel, two full wing tanks, one full centerline tank and Aero-27A rack = 55,000 lbs

6.  Block 50 E model GW with full internal fuel, two full wing tanks, one full centerline tank, four AIM-7s (435 lbs/missile – in 1972 we only carried 3 AIM-7s and a jamming pod in the 4th station), four AIM-9s (164 lbs/missile), and Aero-27A rack = 57,396 lbs

7.  Block 50 E model GW with full internal fuel, two full wing tanks, 12 mark 82 snake eye 500 pound bombs (560 lbs/bomb) (typical close air support load in 1972) = 57,220 lbs

Note the minimum go speed charts (shows max weight = 57,000 lbs) and the max abort speed charts (shows max weight 60,000 lbs).  In looking at the inflight checklists for the F-4E that I saved, I note that the checklist did not require us to compute the maximum weight.  We had to compute the min go speed and max abort speed.

 I found a question in my master question file that asked what is the max recommended takeoff weight.  The multiple choice answers are:  62,000, 60,000, 46,000 & 58,000.  The question wasn’t answered, but my guess today is 60,000 because that is the heaviest weight contemplated on the max abort speed charts.

 If you are into F-4 trivia, answer these questions:

 1.  How many concentric circles on the trim button?

2.  How many steps on the removable ladder?

3.  How many safety pins were in the Martin Baker ejection seat?

4.  How many holes in the variable inlet ramp?

Click to see the answers.

Keep your mach up.