Phinal Trap, 35 years ago

Official caption: A U.S. Naval Air Reserve McDonnell Douglas F-4S Phantom II aircraft from fighter squadron VF-202 “Superheats” lands aboard the aircraft carrier USS America (CV-66) on 18 October 1986.

This was the last operational landing by a U.S. Navy F-4 aboard a U.S. aircraft carrier, piloted by CDR George “Black George” Kraus. VF-202, the last U.S. Navy unit to fly the F-4, then transitioned to the Grumman F-14A Tomcat.

DN-SN-87-02837 Photo by AE3 Jeff Miller, USN

While the Phantom continued to serve around the globe with allies for decades after the above image was snapped, this was its last carrier landing. The only other flattop Phantom drivers were in the Royal Navy, who retired their F4s when HMS Ark Royal (R09) left the fleet in 1978.

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