Tillamook Air Museum Adds “Sully’s” F-4 Phantom II

Actor Tom Hanks in the cockpit of the F-4 Phantom. (Photo Scroggins Aviation)

The Tillamook Air Museum is excited to announce the most recent addition to its growing collection of aircraft and exhibits, the forward fuselage of a McDonnell F-4N Phantom II. This cockpit section’s more recent claim to fame involves its featuring in an extensive Vietnam War flashback scene with the actor, Tom Hanks in the 2016 motion picture, Sully. In this film, Hanks played Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the heroic pilot who safely landed the Airbus A320 of US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River following a double engine failure due to multiple bird strikes over New York City on January 15th, 2009. The Phantom II’s cockpit is owned by Doug Scroggins of Scroggins Aviation Mockup & Effects, and will be on longterm loan at the Tillamook. The museum’s team recently picked it up from its long-time home in Mojave, California and expects to have it ready for display on site sometime in October.

The Phantom II in question is Bu.150452. The U.S. Navy originally ordered the aircraft as an F4H-1, but by the time she rolled off the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation’s factory line in St.Louis, Missouri during the fall of 1962, the U.S. military’s aircraft designation system had just unified. The Navy renamed their F4H-1’s as F-4Bs under this new scheme. Bu.150452’s first flight took place on October 25, 1962, with her customer delivery occurring on November 29th that same year. In 1972, the aircraft transferred to NAS North Island in San Diego, California for processing through the Bee Line program, a significant overhaul and modernization upgrade to F-4N status. She successfully transitioned through this upgrade on March 22nd, 1973, joining VF-151 aboard USS Midway. But the end of the Vietnam War brought a reduction to the U.S. military’s arsenal. And so it was that on October 21st, 1977, the F-4N Bu.150452 made her way into retirement at the Military Aircraft Storage and Disposal Center (now known as AMARG) beside Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona. She lingered here until June 13th, 1990, when AMCEP Metals in Tucson, Arizona scrapped most of the airframe. Fortunately, the scrappers saved her forward fuselage selling it to the Aviation Warehouse in El Mirage, California. In October 2015, Doug Scroggins of Scroggins Aviation Mockup and Effects purchased the cockpit for use as a movie prop.

The Tillamook Air Museum is grateful to have the aircraft for display. Christian Gurling, the museum’s curator stated: “This piece is going to make a wonderful addition to the museum’s growing collection of aircraft and exhibits. Because of its Hollywood connection, this piece has that “wow factor” that we are looking for at the museum, and will work to both edify AND entertain our visitors.” 

For more information visit www.tillamookair.com

The Cockpit section in long-term storage at Mojave. (Photo Scroggins Aviation)
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