I think this is due to a translation/context error. When they bought them from Lockheed the English speaking engineers kept referring to it as the “missile with a man in it,” and the Germans just assumed it was a feature and made it work.
In truth this system was developed in an attempt to sell it to the Germans, who feared a great attrition in airbases if a war started. Although the concept wasn’t new, the F84 also had it, same goes for the Hurricane and Spitfire.
Great video - I had no idea such a thing existed. That is some really high quality footage too. I’m constantly amazed at how fearless some of those test pilots were. I mean…the F-104 had some quirks unto itself…let alone hurling it aloft on a rocket engine at minimum controllable airspeed.
10 buck says the launch rail needs to be ejected first before the gears can be retracted, I can imagine the breakaway system being bolted onto the internal structure to limit stress and extra structures near the outside of the skin. I doubt the gears being extended would matter in a emergency situation. Either you fly or you crash in a crappy place(if there would be a runway nearby, why not take-off normally?) anyway.
The ejector system on the bottom is new to me but bloody insane…
First…the USN dude at 07:52…I think that is NavyNuke99.
Second…my German is a bit rusty but I definitely caught “Flugzeug” and “Pilot” - which mean airplane and pilot respectively…I think that should clarify things a bit better.
Third…I noticed the wheels down at launch but coming up quick after…I wonder why gear down in the first place…an interlock thing maybe?
Finally, during “The Big One”…the Cold War…this was really a good idea…sort of. With the Soviets bombing runways, this ensures the F-104s can hide and launch despite their home airbase being obliterated…landing again might pose a problem though.
Seems plausible, although it only has me wonder more about how the jackpoints function on the 104, although perhaps they are only loaded when in a static position, and the balance shifts as soon as the launcher leaves the rail.
Weight on one or more wheels is frequently used as a trigger for functions that are dependent on whether the vehicle is airborne.
Also, from a structural/airframe perspective, the plane is designed to be able to safely rest and launch on the gear. If you design the launcher around that you don’t need to worry about things like if resting on its belly for a few days will damage something.
Yeah…I was wondering if it was some sort of squat switch functionality that was connected that they wanted to retain…like a BLC system valve opening or something like that. Or heck, it could be as simple as the gear adding some sort of longitudinal axis stability or something during those first critical seconds (like fins on an arrow) (or based on gear extended roll CG - like having the arms of the ballerina extended so to speak). All guesses of course…