May 27th, 1958, A legend was born. The Double Ugly, Lead Sled, Flying Anvil, St. Louis Slugger, Flying Brick, Snoopy, Rhino, Old Smokey, the triumph of thrust over aerodynamics, and "World's Leading Distributor of MiG Parts" more simply known as the Phantom; made its maiden flight on 27 May 1958 with Robert C. Little at the controls. There were proposals to name the F4H "Satan" and "Mithras", the Persian god of light. In the end, the aircraft was given the less controversial name "Phantom II"
Soon afterwards, the Double Ugly squared off against the XF8U-3 Crusader III, and on 17 December 1958 the F4H was declared a winner.
During her service, the Phantom served many countries, including Australia, Egypt, Germany, United Kingdom, Greece, Iran, Israel, Japan, Spain, South Korea and Turkey, and is the only aircraft to have flown the colours of both the USAF Thunderbirds as well as the USN Blue Angels.
Pictured: Operation Top Flight: On 6 December 1959, the second XF4H-1 performed a zoom climb to a world record 98,557 ft. Commander Lawrence E. Flint, Jr., USN accelerated his aircraft to Mach 2.5, 1,650 mph; at 47,000 ft and climbed to 90,000 ft at a 45° angle. He then shut down the engines and glided to the peak altitude. As the aircraft fell through 70,000 ft, Flint restarted the engines and resumed normal flight.