Final Flight for Tyndall QF-4

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  • By 53d Test Support Squadron
The final flight for QF-4 AF-194 at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. took a little less than five minutes and cap off its service to the Air Force as an aerial target Aug 3.

The final four minute "flight" was achieved with the assistance of a 15-ton crane that lifted the aircraft from its parking position and loaded it onto a commercial flatbed tractor trailer for transfer to Baker, Fla. where it will be dismantled for metal recycling 

The aircraft was one of three that had been heavily damaged during unmanned drone operations at Tyndall during the past several years. 

The aircraft, originally an F-4E with serial number 68-0246, was utilized by the Air Force in Vietnam and later converted to an F4-G and utilized during Desert Storm. The aircraft had sustained damage beyond economical repair and was stored north of the active runway in an area affectionately referred to as the "swamp." 

The serviceable components were removed from the aircraft and the remaining fuselage that had been on station for several years awaiting disposal, was quickly disassembled by the Hurlburt Field 1st Special Operations Equipment Maintenance Squadron Crash Recovery Team as a training exercise. 

The eight man Hurlburt Field team, led by Tech. Sgt. Mike Reuschel and Staff Sgt. Juan Llantin, performed the required demilitarization of the aircraft fuselages and prepped the aircraft pieces for over the road shipment to their final destination. 

"What was originally planned as a two-week endeavor was accomplished in just under five days," said Capt. William Cooke, 53d Test Support Squadron Aerial Targets Flight commander. "An astounding feat considering the team experienced several inclement weather delays and unavoidable equipment failures. Their vast knowledge of aircraft structures and design enabled them to overcome all obstacles and keep the project ahead of schedule and well under budget." 

In addition to the three QF-4s, one MIG 23 was also disposed of. The MIG was assigned to the 53d Weapons Evaluation Group in the mid '90s and had since been utilized primarily as a static display for the Tyndall airshow. Due to a lack of adequate safety/technical guidance, its deteriorating condition, and a lack of funding to establish it as a permanent static display, it along with the QF-4s was transferred to the Eglin Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service recycling center to be recycled as scrap.