On May 4, Larissa airbase, Greece, hosted the spotter day for the final flight of the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) RF-4E, the last “recce” Phantoms in Europe. With the phase out of the last Greek RF-4E, Iran and Japan remain the last operators of the reconnaissance variant of the “Rhino” (how the Phantom is dubbed in the aviation community).
Indeed, the 348 MTA (Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron), one of the oldest and most historic Hellenic Air Force squadrons, was disbanded on May 5, after 64 years of operations, with its last three RF-4s finally retired from active service: the example serialled 7499, that sported a brand new special livery; the old special colored 7450, and the 71765, an RF-4E still wearing the Southeast Asia camouflage color scheme.
A static and flying display were arranged to celebrate the event.
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(The last RF-4E in Greek service still sporting the Vietnam-era color scheme)
(The old special color of the 348 Mira: the 7450)
(The 7450 was prepared in 2013 to celebrate the 60 years of 348 TRS and 40 years of Phantom operations)
(The new “End of the Film” special color lands during the Spotter Day on May 4, 2017)
(The RF-4E 7450 takes off in front of the photographers to take part in the Spotters Day’s flying display)
(The last three Recce Rhinos perform a flypast in formation with HAF Mirage 2000 and F-16C)
(The final trio overflying Larissa in formation)
(The Mirage 2000EG 239 of the 332 Mira that took part in the flypast along the RF-4Es)
(F-16C “508” departs to rejoin with the RF-4Es and Mirage 2000)
(The accompanying Mirage 2000 and F-16C break the formation)
(The last Greek RF-4E special color taxing after landing)
(M2000-5BG Mark II “505” performing a low passage. Several HAF aircraft flew their training sorties during the retirement celebrations)
(F-16D “600” of the 337 Mira)
(Among the aircraft in static display there was also this preserved RF-84F Thunderflash in silver color scheme “37683” formerly belonging to 337 Mira)