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Curator's Choice Video Collection

Cradle of Aviation Museum Historian and Curator, Josh Stoff, curates interesting short YouTube videos and provides commentary.

Virtual Museum Home > Curator's Choice > ‘The Phantom’s’ Plane

‘The Phantom’s’ Plane

YouTube Channel: SaneelGB, posted Jan 28, 2017

The Phantom was a 1996 action film starring Billy Zane as a superhero-like crime fighter. Loosely based on an earlier comic strip, the film opened to mixed reviews and generally did not fare well. In spite of its weak performance at the box office, ‘The Phantom’ has since gained somewhat of a cult following as the film is a nostalgic throwback to an earlier style of simple, fun, pulp adventure film making. If you’re looking for a good family-friendly film to watch with the kids these days, this movie is for you. In this thrilling scene, the Phantom and his girl make their escape from the bad guys – in a Grumman Agcat!

The Grumman G-164 Agcat is a biplane agricultural aircraft first produced by Grumman in Bethpage in 1957. It was, in fact, the first ‘crop duster’ produced by a major aircraft company specifically for agricultural aviation. Seeking to diversify their product line, Grumman developed the cropduster as they also correctly sensed the need for a new purpose-built agricultural aircraft. The Agcat quickly gained a reputation for being simple, solid, and remarkably safe. However, due to a large number of military orders on hand, Grumman subcontracted the bulk of Agcat production to Schweizer Aircraft of Elmira, New York. By the time production ended in the early 1980s, almost 2500 Agcats had been built and well over half remain in use today. The Agcat remains the only agricultural aircraft ever built on Long Island. Although designed as a cropduster, Agcats have also gained some popularity among aerobatic pilots on the airshow circuit, such as Gene Soucy, due to their strength, great maneuverability, and ability to mount a powerful engine.

The Cradle of Aviation has recently completed a lengthy restoration of an Agcat, returning it to its original appearance complete with spray booms on the lower wing. The Agcat in ‘The Phantom’ was highly modified with the addition of seaplane floats and the removal of the chemical hopper tank and the installation of a second cockpit in front.

So does the Phantom have a cool plane or what?