The Days of the Mighty Phantom is coming to a closure soon in the Land of the Rising Sun. All Japanese F-4 Phantom is currently base at Hyakuri Airbase ( RJAH) just 53 miles north of Tokyo. Currently only 2 of the active squadrons still flies the F-4. There are 2 parallel runway 21L 03R use by the Military while the other 21R 03L is run by the local civilian Ibrayaki Airport.
301 squadron 第301飛行隊 is task for the air defence role flying the F-4EJ Kai and T4 .
501 squadron 第501飛行隊 is task with tactical reconnaissance role flying the RF-4E’s and RF-4EJ (which is equipped with modified reconnaissance pods).
The Airshow in Hyakuri Airbase was a one day show held on a Sunday ( Nov 30th 2019) . I was surprise by the crowd of Japanese Aviation fans lining up the base gate by 0400 am in the morning.
The Airshow consists of 2 segments which is the morning flying and afternoon flying programs. Morning segment consists of :
- F-4 Formation flights
- F-15J demonstration
- Blue Impulse demonstration team
- JSDAF rescue team demo
Afternoon schedule consists of :
- 3x ship F-4EJ demonstration by 301st squadron
- 2x ship RF-4E demonstration by 501st squadron
The show starts with a 6 ship F-4 Phantom formation that was really impressive. These mixed formation of F-4EJ, RF-4EJ and RF-4E sure makes up the composite squadrons of active Phantom in this base.
Here are some of the F-4 taxi, launching and landing sequence for the formation flights in the morning. After the formation flight, each individual F-4 came back and did a few low level passes and banks.
The Mighty Eagle F-15J still pack a punch in 2020 and here we can see the raw power and the superiority of the F-15J. 2x F-15J came from 303 Squadron base out of Komatsu Airbase. Aircraft (32-8827) did a fantastic tactical demonstration of the F-15J. Just on the lighter side, this jet got a bird strike on the day before the airshow and landed safely after the incident.
The Japanese Self Defense Air Force’s ( JSDAF) jet demonstration team The Blue Impulse flies a 6 ship formation with the Kawasaki T4 trainer.
JSDAF Air search rescue Demonstration
301st Kokutai also known as ” Mothers squadron” did a 3 ship F-4EJ tactical demonstration
501 Kokutai ” Woodpecker” squadron doing a 2 ship RF-4E tactical demonstration.
The Airshow is uniquely Japanese since the food stands and stores are so different from a western Airshow. We get yakisoba , udon and other Japanese street food and a lot of good stores selling Air force patches and other military shwags!
Static Display for Hyakuri is quite good. We have rows of Phantoms and 2x F-15J, F-2A from Misawa, CH-47 , C2 transport, K1 ASW aircraft.
Article by Dave Chng
Photographs by Dave Chng and Chin Beng Lee
Video by Dave Chng