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American postwar aircraft


Lockheed F-104 Starfighter

      In 1952, C.L. "Kelly" Johnson designed the F-104. This aircraft was among the most successful ever produced. It was the first aircraft to fly at twice the speed of sound and held numerous airspeed and altitude records. Our F-104 served at Edwards flight test center from June 1957 until October 1967. Because of its physical appearance and performance, the F-104 has often been called the "missile with a man in it."
      Like the F-84F Thunderstreak before it and the F-16 Fighting Falcon of today, the F-104 was selected for use by the NATO allies. The design was a product of the Korean War. Intended as a point defense interceptor, range was sacrificed for rate of climb. Range, however, can be extended using external tanks and in-flight refueling.
      Several F-104 squadrons are still flying today with the air forces of Italy, Germany and Japan. Some F-104s have been modified to include a second cockpit for transition training and some weapons delivery. A reconnaissance version also exists although it never served with the USAF.
      Using an accelerated loft technique, some F-104s have been flown to higher than 90,000 feet.
      This F-104 was delivered to the Air Force June 29, 1957 and spent its entire service life assigned to the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB, California. It retired from service in December 1972.
General characteristics F-104A
Primary function Fighter
Contractor Lockheed Aircraft Corporation
Power plant One General Electric J79-GE-3A/3B turbojet engine with afterburner
Speed max. 1,047 mph 1,669 km/h
min. 195 mph 314 km/h
Initial climb rate 1,006 ft/s 307 m/s
Ceiling 64,830 ft 19,760 m
Range normal 730 miles 1,174 km
maximum 1,400 miles 2,250 km
Wingspan 21 ft 9 in 6.6 m
Length 54 ft 8 in 16.7 m
Height 13 ft 5 in 4 m
Weight empty 13,184 lb 5,980 kg
max. takeoff 25,840 lb 11,720 kg
Crew One
Armament One 20mm M61A1 cannon (725 rounds); 2x AIM-9B Sidewinder on wingtips; 4,000 lb of bombs under the wings.

Short history of F-104

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Jirka Wagner


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