The famous ‘black jet’ arrived at its new home on July 28…
After some seven years of negotiations, fundraising and planning, California’s Castle Air Museum took delivery of former US Navy (USN) McDonnell Douglas F-4S Phantom II 155539. Arriving at the museum’s restoration hangar on July 28, the jet left the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group’s ‘boneyard’ at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona four days before where it had spent nearly four decades in storage.
Entering USN service in early 1968, the jet went on to become second of the famous ‘Black Bunny’ Phantoms to serve with the USN’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Four ‘Evaluators’ – better known as VX-4. Joining the unit in May 1981, 155539 was giving it the now-famous distinctive all-black livery and Playboy Bunny motif and assigned its now legendary ‘Vandy 1’ callsign. Withdrawn from use, the ‘Black Bunny’ was flown to what was the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center at Davis-Monthan on May 2, 1986, after just 17 years of service.
On January 26, 2022 was removed from ‘boneyard’ and moved across the road to the nearby Pima Air & Space Museum, where it was prepared for transport to its new home. The famous jet will now undergo preparation for static display.