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  Mercury - Gemini - Apollo
  Gemini 2: F-4 Phantom II chase footage

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Author Topic:   Gemini 2: F-4 Phantom II chase footage
micropooz
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Posts: 1532
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 01-25-2015 07:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The February/March 2015 issue of "Air & Space" magazine has an article about the McDonnell F-4 Phantom II fighter plane, emphasizing how versatile it was. The article mentions how a Phantom was used in a zoom-climb to chase and photograph the Gemini 2 (unmanned) ascent up to 68,000 feet altitude, 18,000 feet over the Phantom's service ceiling.
For a fleeting moment, his altimeter eclipsed 68,000 feet. "We had virtually no energy left," says Petry. "We weren't flying anymore at that point — just riding. But the F-4 stayed quite stable."

The Titan leaned into its trajectory and barreled downrange. Petry broke away inverted and maneuvered to restore airflow over the wings. He and his backseater kept Gemini II in the F-4's camera sights, he says, "until we fell out of the sky."

Has anyone seen this chase footage? I'd love to see that...

heng44
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Posts: 3413
From: Netherlands
Registered: Nov 2001

posted 02-01-2015 02:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is this a Phantom chasing the Gemini 4 launch?

Jurg Bolli
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Posts: 994
From: Albuquerque, NM
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 02-01-2015 03:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jurg Bolli   Click Here to Email Jurg Bolli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This looks like a Phantom to me.

micropooz
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Posts: 1532
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 02-01-2015 06:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It most certainly is a Phantom! Good find, Ed!

heng44
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Posts: 3413
From: Netherlands
Registered: Nov 2001

posted 04-07-2015 03:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yesterday I happened to find this in my library, exactly half a century after the fact. The April 12, 1965, issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology has a cover of the Gemini 3 launch on March 23, 1965, photographed by the crew of a McDonnell F-4C as it passed through 35,000 ft. altitude. The F-4C carried a wing-mounted 35mm Northridge camera with a 32 inch Jonel lens. The aircraft was flown by 1st Lt. Jack Petry, aircraft commander, and Capt. Ray Seal, pilot, both assigned to the USAF's 836th Tactical Air Division.

You can see why I can't scan the cover, so I snapped a photo.

Space Cadet Carl
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Posts: 225
From: Lake Orion, Michigan
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 04-09-2015 07:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Space Cadet Carl   Click Here to Email Space Cadet Carl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Call me crazy... but I remember watching a Gemini launch live on either CBS, NBC or ABC and seeing just a couple seconds of live television from a chase plane as the Gemini-Titan rose through the sky. It was only like a three second shot and I honestly couldn't believe my eyes as I was watching it.

I watched the launch on a color TV and the video quality from the chase plane was excellent! I realize everyone is going to have a hard time believing that I actually saw this and I can't recall which launch or network it was.

LM-12
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Posts: 3324
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 04-09-2015 12:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You can see what looks like the contrails of three jets chasing the Gemini 5 launch vehicle near the end of this British Pathe newsreel footage.

mach3valkyrie
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Posts: 719
From: Albany, Oregon
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 04-09-2015 03:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mach3valkyrie   Click Here to Email mach3valkyrie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You're not crazy, Carl. I remember seeing the same camera shot on a Gemini launch, although the exact mission escapes me. Gemini 5 had three photo planes and Gemini 6 had two. From what I can gather, each 1965 Gemini mission had at least one. Don't know about 1966.

The April 1966 National Geographic Magazine has a photo of the Gemini 6 launch showing it's contrail and the two smaller ones.

During Project Mercury, Convair F-106 Delta Darts were used as chase planes.

All times are CT (US)

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