The "Black Tail" Phenomenon

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The "Black Tail" Phenomenon

Post by Razgriz » Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:53 pm

I was looking through some old photos of the Thunderbirds, and I discovered this "Black Tail." To shorten the story, it turns out that the exhaust from the old jet engines would get all over #4's tail. People seem to have thought that the tails were painted black, but they just weren't cleaned and polished after every show. That stopped when the team transferred to the more efficient T-38 Talon, after the oil crisis.

A photo of the "Black Tail" Phenomenon can be seen here while the Thunderbirds were using the F-4 Phantom.

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Post by Lawndart » Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:16 pm

Keeping with tradition the Thunderbirds let the tail of No. 4 become blackened once in the nineties and once more recently (a few seasons ago) in the F-16's as well. On the Falcon it doesn't get quite as blackened as it did back in the day with the J79 turbojets on the Phantoms, but still noticable during the second half of the season. The anti-collision strobe light on top of No. 4's tail can sometimes be seen missing too (after several sorties in the slot position).

Here are a few OLD forum threads discussing the blackened tail of No. 4:
F-4 Phantom
Thunderbird history
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