Tuesday (13 September) was the first day of PhanCon 2016 at Holloman AFB. We took the bus from the hotel in Alamogordo to the air base. Here, obviously, we went through the security checks and then continued toward the end of the runway to capture the take-off of QF-4Es. A number of Holloman based German Tornado’s and 311th FS/56th FW F-16CM/DMs took off before the Phantoms. Luckily many of the aircraft kept pretty low after take-off and pulled up above us. Only afterwards it became clear that many of the pilots didn’t even know that there would be photographers near the runway. The take-off by the two QF-4Es was spectacular then stayed very low. When the second one took off, the first one was back for a low pass already. Awesome wall of sound. The sonic booms were very impressive as well. It is still allowed to fly supersonic in the area above Holloman AFB and White Sands, and therefore it happens quite a lot as well. After the landing of the two QF-4Es the bus took us to the area of the MQ-1/MQ-9s. The unit had prepared three aircraft inside the hangar for us. These could be photographed and all questions were answered. Unfortunately there was no permission to take photos of the A-4s, L-39s and F-5 of Draken International (just the three UAVs). After lunch we paid a visit to the QF-4Es. Twelve were parked outside and one was inside a hangar for maintenance. Of the twelve that were outside at least three had been withdrawn from use (obvious damage and/or in use for spares recovery). The Phantoms were parked nicely for photography. Among the aircraft was 72-0166. This is the aircraft that performed the last unmanned QF-4 flight. An F-35 fired two AIM-120s at this QF-4E but the aircraft managed to return to Holloman AFB anyway. Strange feeling to ‘hug’ this aircraft. Let’s be honest, it’s a shame to shoot down such an awesome aircraft and let it end up at a pile of scrap… After this highlight (this was what the tour was about) we visited a hangar of the White Sands Missile Range; inside were some UH-1s, a UH-60A and a C-12R. The visiting aircraft on the platform were off-limits (for photography). The ramp contained quite some Army Blackhawks and several fighters of test units (F-15, F-16 and A-10s). After this visit back in the bus again and we then went to the other side of the base to visit the heritage park. Here, various interesting aircraft are parked in the sun, waiting to have their picture taken. By now it was also time to take the group picture, in front of an… F-4D. The F-4D was marked as a MiG-21(D) killer. The pilot of the kill was also present during this PhanCon and was willing to sign several posters for us. After this visit we went back to the hotel. In the evening we attended a buffer of the Society. During the evening there was time and opportunity in the hotel to have posters signed and to buy T-shirts and patches. The end of a great day with lots of cool Phantoms!