Original 1966 McDonnell Douglas Press Kit.

An unusual and rare recent donation to the British Phantom Aviation Group was a stack of photos that originally made up part of an official McDonnell Douglas press kit from 1966, featuring shots from the rollout ceremony of the F-4K at Lambert Field in St. Louis, USA. Supporter Andy Morris told us-

“I obtained them around 1967 from my neighbour who was a freelance technical journalist and knew that I was mad about planes. I was 12 years old at that time”.

The pics are all dated 28th June 1966 and the two aircraft featured are XT595 and presumably XT596, the latter only appearing in the ground shots as it didn’t make its maiden flight until August 1966. Many thanks to Andy for donating these historically important pics to us.

Above left- Crowds at the F-4K roll out ceremony at Lambert Field. Above right-  David S. Lewis, President of McDonnell Aircraft. Rear Admiral Allan M. Shinn (USN), Commander Naval Air Systems Command. J.S. McDonnell, Chairman of Board, McDonnell Aircraft. Sir Patrick Dean, British Ambassador to the United States. Rear Admiral P.C. Gibson (RN), Deputy Controller of Aircraft, Ministry of Aviation. Dr William B. Littler, Head of Defence Research Staff, British Embassy. 

Above- Flanked by crowds and surrounded by other marks of US Air Force, Navy and Marines Phantoms, the UK F-4Ks make their debut.

Below- Obviously aware of the controversial nature of the UK government’s decision to purchase aircraft from abroad, a concious effort seems to have been made to emphasise the role that British engineering firms were playing in the aircraft’s development. Rolls Royce, Martin Baker, Short Bros, British Aircraft Corporation and Ferranti were among many UK companies involved in the project, with the aft fuselage, outer wing and ejection seats being some the components made in the UK.