Our week of black aircraft on GAR continues, with another bona fide classic – the mighty Grumman F-14 Tomcat.
US Navy Test and Evaluation unit VX-4 started the trend with a black schemed jet, its ‘Black Bunny’ F-4 Phantom which sported the unit’s Playboy Rabbit insignia so distinctly, and was famously captured in this image:
When ‘The Evaluators’ retired the F-4 they replaced their Black Bunny with an F-14 Tomcat and when VX-4 merged with VX-5 to form one single operational test and evaluation squadron, VX-9 ‘The Vampires’, the trend continued.
Photographed by GAR’s Chris Wood at Naval Air Station South Weymouth (near Boston) in June 1996, at the base’s last show prior to closure, this might just be one of the most distinctive specially painted black aircraft of all time.
VX-9 stood-up with a permanent F-14 detachment at NAS Point Mugu and at the time of the type’s retirement in 2006, the unit operated four F-14As, three F-14Bs and four F-14Ds.
Black Aircraft Week will continue on GAR…..
Two fascinating shots, one for the luck and skill (surely it was both) needed to capture that Phantom going partly supersonic, and the second for what I think is just a beautiful machine, looking extremely smart as a Black Bunny.
This week-long “set” is a great idea. Thanks very much.