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
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.
Short history of F-104
||Lockheed Aircraft Corporation
||One General Electric J79-GE-3A/3B turbojet engine with
|Initial climb rate
||21 ft 9 in
||54 ft 8 in
||13 ft 5 in
||One 20mm M61A1 cannon
(725 rounds); 2x AIM-9B
Sidewinder on wingtips; 4,000 lb of bombs under the wings.