BETHALTO, Ill. – A familiar aviation landmark in the Metro East has received a facelift.
The “phantom of Bethalto” has returned. It never really left from when it was first placed on its perch here at St. Louis Regional Airport. But that was in 2002. Time and Mother Nature have taken their toll on this flying bird.
In fact, birds have built nests in the engines and a renovation was in store for this F-4 Phantom II.
This jet, built by the McDonnell Douglas Aircraft in 1964, was the workhorse of the Vietnam era. And it’s one of the only one of its kind on display in the St. Louis region.
Two US Air Force veterans, Jack Beetz and Joe Steimannn, donated their labor, some local aviation companies performed bodywork repair, and the airport kicked in about $25,000 to repair, paint, and restore the F-4 Phantom II fighter jet.
They’re going to have a formal dedication ceremony on Veterans Day with some of the people who worked on this jet fighter.
For airport director David Miller, it’s kind of a personal story as he once flew the plane that refueled this very F-4 Phantom II.