I’ve always loved the F-4 Phantom.
The F-4 was a “do-it-all” interceptor jet. It was adopted by the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. It was used by the Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy Blue Angels. It entered service in 1961 and flew extensively in Vietnam and was a major part of US military air power through the 70s and 80s. I built quite a few F-4 models when I was a kid and saw the Blue Angels fly quite a few times.
The F-4 was known for the acceleration and thrust and was a huge advantage in air-to-air combat. It had advanced radar systems and used a lot of titanium (and we know that all divers love titanium)!
Bottom line: The F-4 is sexy as hell.
So, without a doubt, I was looking forward to diving the F-4 in San Diego. The aircraft has not been positively identified but there is enough information about the crash site that people have been able to cross reference military records to identify the likely crash. The excellent UB88.org site has a great writeup at http://www.ub88.org/researchprojects/f4phantom/f-4-phantom.html.
This specific Phantom is not very easy to photograph.
It is about 150 feet deep so it can be relatively dark. The wreck itself is upside down and the debris field is pretty spread out. The “main” part of the wreck is the jet engines and then about 200 feet away is a debris field with a bunch of “odd and ends.”
To me, the most iconic part of the F-4 is the jet turbines and the exhaust “cone.” Luckily, those are “front and center” on the main part of the wreck. Remember that this jet is upside when looking at the photos!
The other interesting feature is the jet engine intake:
The body of the jet is gone and you can get a good side view of the length of the jet engine:
You can still see the “red, white, and blue” on some parts of the main wreck
Finally, out in the debris field, you never know what you are going to find. I’ve heard that the nose landing gear is at the end of the debris field but I didn’t see it. Just and I did some digging around just to see what we could find: