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F104 - fundamentally flawed

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F104 - fundamentally flawed

Old 9th Aug 2006, 13:01
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Richard, Take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-104_Starfighter

More info than you'll ever need!

And here's a fantastic video of a Luftwaffe rocket launch.

http://www.airandspacemagazine.com/A...104Launch.html
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Old 9th Aug 2006, 13:11
  #22 (permalink)  
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Remember doing a trial with a GAF 104 to clear the use of 1000lb bomb with the retarding tail fitted, Pilot briefed to drop at 275' +/- 25', actual release hieght? 100' pilots comment was that he hadn't noticed that the surface was undulating at the release point

And before anyone asks the height was deduced from kine data, the bomb was inert, so no real danger.
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Old 9th Aug 2006, 13:15
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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F 104

My recollection is that the Luftwaffe had over 700 F 104s. The loss rate was high but not as a %age of the fleet. I think the RAF Lightning loss rate was higher and I suspect that the early Harrier loss rate would also be higher. I heard that no RAF exchange officer returned to USA from an exchange tour on Lightnings. It was once asked why the Luftwaffe never had Open Days and flying displays? The answer was that any German who wanted to see a Luftwaffe aircraft bought a 10 hectare field and then waited!
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Old 9th Aug 2006, 13:25
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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From Wikipedia above;

The German modified Starfighters were especially problematic, due to the modifed version's alarming accident rate. In German service alone, 292 of the 916 Starfighters crashed, claiming the lives of 115 pilots, leading to cries that the Starfighter was fundamentally unsafe and earning it the Widowmaker nickname, among others (see below). However, the non-German F-104 proved much safer and earned a better track record.
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Old 9th Aug 2006, 13:39
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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An interesting fact about the 104 emerged recently as people started talking about supersonic laminar flow (as used on the Aerion supersonic bizjet project). Turns out that a thin unswept wing is best for this means of drag reduction... which is one reason why the 104 was as fast as it was.
Personally, I also think it is one of the best-looking aircraft ever designed - and I always want to smuggle one into any exhibit of 1950s art.
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Old 9th Aug 2006, 13:53
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One of the old Modern Combat Aircraft series featured the F-104 and had a chapter on its service with the Germans. I read it a long time ago but it did provide an insight into their losses. I can remember that the Dutch found out something about the oxygen supply that could be dangerous and told everyone but the Germans didn't listen and suffered an accident. It is worth trying to track down.
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Old 9th Aug 2006, 14:58
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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F-104 Stories

You could also try to make contact with Capt. Knut Lande, former Chief Pilot of Helikopter Service in Stavanger, who pranged a 104 on take-off and survived.
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Old 9th Aug 2006, 15:30
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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A2QFI

I can recall only one US Pilot being killed in a Lightning accident, my memory may not be wholly correct but certainly the majority returned home safely at the end of their tours. The odd one or two did go home a little early due to 'high-spirited' flying events!

However, if the US exchange pilot accident rate across all types is reviewed, then that is a little concerning.

lm
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Old 9th Aug 2006, 16:00
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Lightning mate. I defer to your specialised knowledge! It was probably some urban myth that I picked up on! Thank you
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Old 9th Aug 2006, 16:10
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A small Lightning digression here, but I remember one USAF exchangee who did RTB Stateside but only after he had dumped 2 of 5 Sqn's jets in the North Sea.

Back on track, the CF-104 apparently had an INS that was so inaccurate as the distance-to-go approached zero that the pilots used to add 100nm to each leg, fly in on the correct track and then turn at 100nm.
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Old 9th Aug 2006, 16:44
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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The F104 was much like the Frightening - A rocket with wings as stabilisers - the Yanks nicknamed it the "Widow-maker" as it killed more pilots and spectators in peacetime, than any other ac
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Old 9th Aug 2006, 17:32
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Not often commented on, but true: the last front line US operator of the F-104 was the Puerto Rico Air National Guard...
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Old 9th Aug 2006, 17:55
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Funny how the 104 had the same performance as the Lightning but went twice as far on a tank of fuel. Not bad for a single engine multi-role aircraft. The old girls could carry 7500 pounds of ordinance under the wings.
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Old 9th Aug 2006, 17:58
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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Not with an engine out.
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Old 9th Aug 2006, 18:07
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Same as in the Harrier, Hunter, Spitfire and other types.
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Old 9th Aug 2006, 19:41
  #36 (permalink)  
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RichardIC
May I draw your attention to this thread from December last year. There are a few interesting points in there for you, including some statistics.

http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthr...ht=starfighter

I should just like to say that I loved flying it. It was awesome fun and yes it could be a severe challenge at times. It had a few rules that you really did have to obey and if you failed to do so there was a distinct tendency for the machine to bite yer ass! One specific annoying habit was for it to “swap ends” if you ignored the warnings of shaker and kicker and paddled them off for “just a bit more turn”. “I understand” that it would not be a particularly enjoyable experience and one that you might not necessarily get the opportunity of enjoying twice!

It was – as has been said – extremely fast for its time, being limited to 750 knots EAS, Mach 2, or the “Slow Light” (121 degrees C inlet air temperature) whichever came first. Under some conditions it was quite possible to see over 800 knots indicated, which when you are flying at low level sure makes the ground go past quickly.

No it was not a “turning machine” for sure but then you are not surprised by this statement having seen the knife-sharp 22 foot span wings. These wings are a symmetrical diamond-shape and actually produce no lift when at no angle of attack. However, at high speed and certainly when supersonic, my 7.33G was the same as anybody else’s 7.33G at the same speed. So Rule 1 was “don’t slow down”.

The beast (with me and a great Canadian mate on board 2 of them) had the pleasure of getting the first “non-US” “kills” on some F14s during Navy Miramar’s Top Gun multi-bogey “anybody who isn’t the same type as you is your enemy” phase. Of course we cheated and used sensible tactics (what we used to call Israeli tactics) and we thrashed towards the bull’s eye from about 40-odd grand doing about Mach 1.8 or so and took 2 shots each as we blew through to the far side of the furball. Zooming back up to flight level lots, we turned back in and took 2 more shots each as we then blew back through the other side. Having then run out of fuel, ideas and bravery, we went home for tea and medals. My lasting memory of that “fight” was the deep brown growling voice of the first F14 victim saying “I bet that’s that fu&^ing Zip!!”

Those who have had rides in the two-sticker and comment on the “shaking rattle-trap” qualities of the aircraft – especially in the circuit – are quite correct. However, they would have inevitably been flying the dual model with 4 fuel tanks to have enough fuel to stay and play with the single-stickers. The 104 with just tip tanks was an entirely different beast from one with 4 jugs on board, and generally handled delightfully. Even better was the clean aircraft.

It was particularly nice to fly fast at low level and it totally ignored any turbulence as those tiny, high wing-loading surfaces cut through any such trivialities as though they did not exist.

So to answer your implied question: - fundamentally flawed? - not in my opinion!
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Old 9th Aug 2006, 21:27
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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Outstanding!

Wholi,

Got to be one of the best p***s on PPRuNe for a long time. Evocative and we were all there with you in the furball. Nice to see you back to your inimitable best.
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Old 9th Aug 2006, 21:57
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by forget
From Wikipedia above;

The German modified Starfighters were especially problematic, due to the modifed version's alarming accident rate. In German service alone, 292 of the 916 Starfighters crashed, claiming the lives of 115 pilots, leading to cries that the Starfighter was fundamentally unsafe and earning it the Widowmaker nickname, among others (see below). However, the non-German F-104 proved much safer and earned a better track record.
Hi,

Not exactly.
The "German" Starfighter was the F-104G, and exactly the same aircraft was used by the Belgian, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian and Italian Air Force. Before their "S", the Italians also had "G's" .
These were, just like the F-16, built by a "European Consortium" with factories like SABCA, Fokker and FIAT building aircraft for the different air forces.
For example: SABCA built 188 F-104G's, 99 for Belgium and 89 for Germany.

The "G" was heavier, but more powerful versions of the J-79 also became available.
Possibly, a small group of USAF pilots in Florida had the most fun in the F-104. After the Cuban missile crisis, some of the light-weight F-104A's were recalled from the ANG to active USAF service, fitted with the latest version of the J-79 and stationed in Florida.
These F-104's had a T/W ratio that would not be rivalled in the USAF until the F-15 came along.

Best regards, Transall.
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Old 9th Aug 2006, 22:04
  #39 (permalink)  
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Did you really fly this little devil??

http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/a...0g-gabriel.jpg
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Old 9th Aug 2006, 22:13
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Does anyone else remember the Canadian F-104 display team (Red Indians?) at Biggin Hill c.1978 or 79? The display itself was awesome, but the commentator was wonderful as well. He had a dead-slow down-home oh-my-gosh-look-at-that style which had the crowd in stitches.

"Well, folks, if you, er, if you just, er, kind of, er, look to your right, you'll see an F-104 coming along real slow. He's got the flaps out and the gear down, nice and slow and . . . (thunderous roar as a second F-104 passes at same level but the other way at 0.999M) . . . Oh, sorry folks, I guess I forgot to mention that one".

Halcyon days.

Last edited by ACW599; 9th Aug 2006 at 23:41.
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