Planes of Fame Air Museum
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Home »  Collection »  Flying & Static Aircraft »  Lockheed F-104G 'Starfighter'


  • The F-104 Starfighter sprang from conversations between Lockheed's chief designer, Kelly Johnson, and fighter pilots who'd fought in Korea. They wanted a small, fast, "no frills" fighter. Johnson and his team produced a truly revolutionary aircraft.
  • The most striking feature of the F-104 was, of course, its wing. It spanned less than 22 feet, was only four inches thick at the root and had an area of less than 200 square feet. The leading and trailing edges were so sharp that special coverings were used to prevent injury to maintenance personnel. Air from the engine was blown across the flaps to increase lift at low speeds. Another unusual feature was the downward firing ejection seat. It was also the first to use the Vulcan cannon.
  • The first F-104s were delivered to the Air Defense Command in 1958. Their short range and light armament handicapped them in the interceptor role and their ADC service was short. Tactical Air Command flew Starfighters until 1969. Air National Guard units operated them until 1975.
  • In 1959 several NATO countries and Japan selected the Starfighter as their new, multi-role combat aircraft. The German Luftwaffe and Marineflieger suffered a very high accident rate with the F-104 (292 of 916 aircraft lost, 115 pilots killed), earning the aircraft nicknames like "the flying coffin" and "widow maker." Improved pilot training and maintenance procedures cut the losses. The Starfighter served into the 21st century with the Italian Air Force before its retirement in 2004. The museum's F-104 was license-built in Belgium and flew with Belgian Air Force from 1964 to 1980.



Status: Unrestored
Manufacturer: SABCA (Sociétés Anonyme Belge de Constructions Aéronautiques)
Year: 1963
Model: F-104G Starfighter
Registration Number:
Serial Number:
Crew: 1
Max T/O Weight: 29,027 lb.
Span: 21 ft. 9 in.
Length: 54 ft. 8 in.
Height: 13 ft. 5 in.
Maximum Speed: 1,146 mph
Cruise Speed: 510 mph
Rate of Climb: 48,000 ft/min
Power Plant: 1 x General Electric J-79, 10,000 lbs. thrust dry and 15,800 lbs. with afterburner
Range: 1,080 miles
Service Ceiling: 50,000 ft.
Armament: One 20-mm Vulcan cannon and  provisions for external stores


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