The USAF Thunderbirds converted from the F-100 Super Sabre to the F-4E Phantom in 1969 and at the time, it was the most extensive conversion carried out by the demonstration team. Because of the numerous metal alloys used in the Phantom's construction, instead of a baremetal base used previously, a special gloss white polyurethane paint was used as the base color that is still the base color used to this day.
With the 1973 oil crisis, the more economical aircraft was needed and the team transitioned to the Northrop T-38 Talon. The amount of fuel that a single F-4E used in a single air show could fuel five T-38 Talons doing the same show routine.
Source: The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II- A Comprehensive Guide for the Modeller, Part 1: USAF Variants (Modellers Datafile 12) by Andy Evans. SAM Publications, 2007, p104.
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