The scientific tourist #35 — F-104

Today’s picture comes from the Flugwerft Schleißheim branch of the Deutsches Museum in Munich, Germany:

F-104

The image is of an F-104 “Starfighter” — the first combat aircraft to be able to fly at a sustained speed of twice the speed of sound. But the craft’s “race car” performance came at a price in the form of limited range and poor maneuverability. Still, with good training, and tactics suited to the aircraft’s strengths (speed and climb performance), the F-104 could perform admirably. But woe be to the F-104 pilot who allowed himself to be lured into a dogfight with a slower, more maneuverable aircraft…

Nearly 2600 F-104s in a variety of configurations were produced over the course of the late 1950’s and beyond. The last operational ones were finally retired in Italy in 2004.

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