Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Got Speed?

No way...
Yes, yes Juvat. I know that photo had to have been Photoshopped. Either that or the photo was taken in that split second just prior to the photographer's death.

Still looks cool though.

So it's a Tuesday after a long weekend. A long, rather melancholy weekend. I am not feeling all that creative today. So today is all about aircraft which I saw on another blog and which provides me with a reason to link to a post by someone else.

Saving me the need to be creative today and giving you, the Reader, with something interesting to look at.

I hope.

The following is from Wikipedia (surprise, surprise, surprise) with my commentary in red italics. Unlike a Blue Ray disc, you can't turn off the commentary. Sorry.
The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter is a single-engine, high-performance, supersonic interceptor aircraft originally developed for the United States Air Force (USAF) by Lockheed. (It's more of a manned missile than an aircraft. I mean seriously, the AMRAAM has more wing area!) One of the Century Series of aircraft, it was operated by the air forces of more than a dozen nations from 1958 to 2004. (Century Series: F-100, F-101, F-102, etc. Note that the F-117 is not part of the Century Series. The Air Force is not very good at sticking to numbering or naming conventions of any kind.)

The F-104 served with the USAF from 1958 until 1969, and continued with Air National Guard units until 1975. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) flew a small mixed fleet of F-104 types in supersonic flight tests and spaceflight programs until 1994. (NASA was somewhat taken aback when they learned that the cockpit did not go into orbit all by itself. I mean c'mon, it looks like a rocket. Am I right?) USAF F-104Cs saw service during the Vietnam War, and F-104A aircraft were deployed by Pakistan briefly during the Indo-Pakistani wars. Republic of China Air Force (Taiwan) F-104s also engaged the People's Liberation Army Air Force (China) over the disputed island of Quemoy. The operational service of the Starfighter ended with its retirement by the Italian Air Force in May 2004. (Though very fast and sexy looking, even the Italians got tired of the poor safety record of this bird.)

A total of 2,578 Starfighters were eventually produced, mostly by NATO members. A set of modifications produced the F-104G model, which won a NATO competition for a new fighter-bomber. (Seriously, a fighter bomber? Where does one hang the bombs?) Several two-seat trainer versions were also produced, the most numerous being the TF-104G. The ultimate production version of the basic fighter model F-104 was the F-104S all-weather interceptor designed by Aeritalia for the Italian Air Force and equipped with radar-guided AIM-7 Sparrow missiles. (A missile carrying missiles. Neat.) An advanced F-104 with a high-mounted wing, known as the CL-1200 Lancer, did not proceed past the mock-up stage.

The poor safety record of the Starfighter brought the aircraft into the public eye, especially in German Air Force service. The subsequent Lockheed bribery scandals surrounding the original purchase contracts caused considerable political controversy in Europe and Japan. (OMG. Bribery? Involving a defense contractor and a foreign nation? Joe, say it ain't so!)

Still and all, it was a cool looking aircraft. I had a model of one when I was a kid. All shiny and silvery it was.

USAF F-104s

German F-104

Japanese F-104

Italian F-104

If you simply must have one (Murph) they have them for sale in various parts of the world. You can go here to see what's available and for how much. But this one in Denison, TX looked enticing. (Looks to be in reasonable shape too!)

For Sale, Seriously...

Oh yes, what sparked this sudden interest in the venerable F-104 Starfighter?

I don't know; ask the skipper

Um, yeah. That last caption was a link.


  1. I looks to me as if they put those stubby little wings on them so they could call it an airplane.
    ...just sayin'

    I do remember, as a kid, thinking it looked real fast.

    About that first pic:
    Sometime you're the bug.

    1. You have a point there. Well, multiple points actually. All good.

      And yes, sometimes you're the bug.


  2. I have a friend who was involved with a civilian organization which operates several of these. The maintenance is expensive. The parts are hard to find. And you really don't want to know the fuel burn combined with the cost of fuel.
    Still, put one on the ramp at any USAF base and you're likely either the fastest or second fastest jet present. And they have an AWESOME howl as presented here - http://youtu.be/cayblOY0h00 ;-)

    1. Nice!

      Given that it's an engine with wings and a cockpit, I can imagine the fuel burn!

  3. Since the 104 was my favorite century fighter when I was kid (built a lot of models of them), you can imagine how excited I was when I arrived at Luke AFB and saw
    acres of 104's parked on the ramp. But it was a little disconcerting to see them all with Maltese crosses on them! Still think they're one of the prettiest fighters the
    US built.

  4. My dad worked on the 104 when he was in the AF.@ George AFB back in the day.

    1. Sweet! Didn't realize your Dad was Air Force Rob. Pretty cool.

  5. Could've been a long lens. The 104 was probably the reason I was a fighter pilot. We had just moved to Webb in the mid-60s and the base had a squadron (maybe just a detachment) of them. The pitchout from initial took them over our base housing. Me and my best friend used to sit in our cedar tree "Fort" with our BB guns and talk about how cool it would be to fly them. Next time I saw one after leaving Webb, he was flying formation with me after chasing me down on a Red Flag mission. And I was supersonic!

    1. "He" the 104, not my best friend. I'm working on my writing skills.

    2. You're right. It could have been a long lens. (Geez, can't a guy exercise a little artistic license now and then?)

      That's most awesome.

      (As to the writing skills thing, I thought you were okay when you said "the next time I saw one", the one being the F-104 you were talking about. So the "he was flying formation" would be understood to be the F-104 and not your best friend of the BB gun days. But what do I know? I only recently learned proper quote mark / period / comma placement. Grammatically I have just started walking upright. In other words, what does Buck think?)

    3. P.S. Can we infer anything from you "working on my writing skills"?


    4. Used to watch them takeoff from Sig... Rotate at 170kts, liftoff at 190kts... Cold day in hell getting it stopped if they were at Vr and had a problem...

    5. Especially in the early models where the ejection seat fired down through the floor. Not a good thing to do when just above the runway. I've heard the technique if you lost the engine during takeoff was to try to roll the aircraft inverted and then punch out. Doesn't sound like much fun.

    6. Yeah, brilliant. Wrestling with snakes on take-off, so let's just roll the plane inverted and punch out!

      (I'm sure the engineer who came up with that design won some sort of "innovation" award. Dang!)

  6. Was the Lockheed `deal`, living proof that those who would have to fly and operate it in the role and environment designated, had no real say in the purchase? I can't remember what else was on offer at that time, apart from the English Electric Lightning - and we were lousy at selling aircraft, as good as they might have been.

    1. If bribes were involved, chances are that the folks who were going to fly and maintain it were NOT consulted.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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