F-4 Phantoms at play in the dusk

Some months ago I put up a video clip of Japanese Air Force F-4 Phantom aircraft, filmed in slow motion at and around the Hyakuri airfield.  Now a companion video has emerged of the last two squadrons of Japanese Phantoms, filmed at dusk and during the twilight hours, also in slow motion.

The Aviationist notes:

All the remaining F-4 Phantoms of the Japanese Air Self Defense Force are stationed at Hyakuri Base … a fighter squadron, the 301 Hikotai, and a reconnaissance squadron, the 501 Hikotai.

The 501 Reconnaissance squadron is scheduled to cease operations and become a fighter unit in March 2020 whereas the 301 Hikotai is slated to move to Misawa  to become the second F-35A unit later in 2020.

. . .

While they prepare to retire their current aircraft type, the two squadrons continue to fly the F-4Es round-the-clock.

The video below shows, in stunning slow motion, the 301 and 501 Squadron Phantoms during night operations, usually carried out at the beginning of the week, on Tuesday (this is why Hyakuri F-4s flying at dusk/night are dubbed “Tuesday Moon Ghosts”).

There’s some superb photography here.

Sadly, the days of the Phantom are numbered.  Only a few air forces still fly them, typically because they can’t afford to replace them or can’t obtain more modern aircraft for one reason or another.  Soon those, too, will be gone.  Still, the aircraft has had a great career, having first flown in 1958, 61 years ago.  Well over 5,000 were built.



  1. For the JMSDF pilots, getting a F-4 billet was the penultimate set of flight orders, regardless of what else they fly in their entire careers. A Phantom patch on their sleeve labeled them as the best of the best.

  2. Never saw a Phantom fly, but got to sit in the cockpit (partial) at the USAF museum in Dayton OH. It is a very cool design,and the anhedral tailplanes are so distinctive. I hope they keep them preserved at Davis-Monthan because they, like the A-6 Intruders may be needed again.

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