|First flight.||17 February 1956|
|Retired on.||Many civilian warbirds remain.|
|Dose it use nukes or cruse missiles.||No|
|Flight ceiling||50,000 ft (15,000 m)|
|Top speed at.||1,328 mph (Mach 2.01, 1,154 kn, 2,137 km/h)|
|Range||1,630 mi (1,420 nm, 2,623 km)|
|Class.||Interceptor aircraft and fighter-bomber|
|Rate of climb||48,000 ft/min (244 m/s)|
|Links||http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_F-104_Starfighter and http://www.aire.org/f104/Historia/SuHistoriaUsa.htm|
The engine made a unique howling sound at certain throttle settings which led to NASA F-104B Starfighter N819NA being named Howling Howland. In service, American pilots called it the "Zipper" or "Zip-104" because of its prodigious speed.
The term "Super Starfighter" was used by Lockheed to describe the F-104G in marketing campaigns, but fell into disuse. The Starfighter was also commonly called the "Missile with a man in it"; a name swiftly trademarked by Lockheed for marketing purposes.
The safety record of the F-104 Starfighter became high-profile news, especially in Germany, in the mid-1960s. In West Germany it came to be nicknamed Witwenmacher ("The Widowmaker"). Some operators lost a large proportion of their aircraft through accidents, although the accident rate varied widely depending on the user and operating conditions; the German Air Force lost about 30% of aircraft in accidents over its operating career, and Canada lost 46% of its F-104s (110 of 235). The Spanish Air Force, however, lost none.
The F-104 was the first aircraft to simultaneously hold the world speed and altitude records. On 7 May 1958 U.S. Air Force Major Howard C. Johnson, flying YF-104A 55-2957, broke the world altitude record by flying to 91,243 feet (27,811 m) at Edwards AFB. On 16 May 1958, U.S. Air Force Capt Walter W. Irwin flying YF-104A 55-2969 set a world speed record of 1,404.19 miles per hour (2,259.82 km/h) over a course 15 miles (24 km) long at Edwards AFB. Flying F-104A 56-0762 over NAS Point Mugu, California U.S. Air Force Lt William T. Smith and Lt Einar Enevoldson set several time-to-climb records on 13 and 14 December 1958:
- 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) in 41.85 seconds
- 6,000 metres (20,000 ft) in 58.41 seconds
- 9,000 metres (30,000 ft) in 81.14 seconds
- 12,000 metres (39,000 ft) in 99.90 seconds
- 15,000 metres (49,000 ft) in 131.1 seconds
- 20,000 metres (66,000 ft) in 222.99 seconds
- 25,000 metres (82,000 ft) in 266.03 seconds
On 14 December 1959, U.S. Air Force Capt "Joe" B. Jordan flying F-104C 56-0885 at Edwards AFB set a new world altitude record of 103,389 feet (31,513 m). He also set 30,000 metres (98,000 ft) time-to-climb record of 904.92 seconds. (The T-38 took the lower-altitude records in Feb 1962 and soon after that all the time-to-climb records went to the F-4.) U.S. Air Force Maj Robert W. Smith, flying NF-104A 56-0756, set an unofficial world altitude record of 118,860 feet (36,230 m) on 15 November 1963. On 6 December 1963 he flew the same aircraft to another unofficial altitude record of 120,800 feet (36,800 m).
Jacqueline Cochran flew TF-104G N104L to set three women's world's speed records. On 11 May 1964, she averaged 1,429.3 miles per hour (2,300.2 km/h) over a 15/25 km course, on 1 June she flew at an average speed of 1,303.18 miles per hour (2,097.26 km/h) over a 100-km closed-circuit course, and on 3 June she flew at an average speed of 1,127.4 miles per hour (1,814.4 km/h) over a 500-km closed-circuit course.
Lockheed test pilot Darryl Greenamyer built a F-104 out of parts he had collected. The aircraft, N104RB, first flew in 1976. On 2 October 1976, trying to set a new low-altitude 3-km speed record, Greenamyer averaged 1,010 miles per hour (1,630 km/h) at Mud Lake near Tonopah, Nevada. A tracking camera malfunction eliminated the necessary proof for the official record. On 24 October 1977 Greenamyer flew a 3 km official FAI record flight of 988.26 miles per hour (1,590.45 km/h).
On 26 February 1978, Greenamyer made a practice run for a world altitude record attempt. After the attempt, he was unable to get a lock light on the left wheel; after multiple touch-and-go tests at an Edwards Air Force Base runway, he determined that it was not safe to land. He ejected, and the N104RB crashed in the desert.