F104 Star Fighter - The Not Quite Right Stuff

There is an F-104 in the front of the administration building at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, so I can confirm the literally razor sharp wings, but I never really learned more about the aircaft. I just stumbled across this article, which is a great read.

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They tend to drop out of the sky and kill the pilot. The Germans nicknamed it ‘The Widowmaker’.

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This video sounds like it was narrated by Ze Frank.

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The Germans also tried to make it do things it wasn’t designed to do in the first place.

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It’s mostly know for the scandal that actually got it procured from where I am from: Lockheed bribery scandals - Wikipedia

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The German press nicknamed it the Widowmaker. By most accounts the F-104 was well loved by the people who flew and maintained it, despite its foibles.

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The nickname was well deserved, the 104 has a terrible safety record in general.

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To warn the pilot that his F-104 was approaching the limit, it had a “stick shaker” similar to what airliners are equipped with. If he ignored the “shaker” he got the “kicker” which would forcibly push the stick forward. Since nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool, the kicker could be overridden by the pilot and hilarity would ensue.

“Hilarity would ensue” got me good.

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The common nickname i always heard was… Lawndart.

The other popular quote was, “have you seen a f104 up close? No, then stand still long enough and you will.”

Good read !

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My “Hangar Neighbor” flew them briefly with the Danish Air Force. He thought the Pitts was a heckuva a lot scarier. It is the one jet that I wish I could fly above all the rest.

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Just finished the article. Great read–thanks! The F-104 flew CAS missions in Vietnam. Look out A-10!

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Nice article. That BLC system was no joke (apparently)… There was a developer for X-Plane (Classic Jet Simulations) that made a really nice F-104 that included that vicious little rolloff if you went to idle while in the flare. I wrote about if for SimHQ back in the day:

http://www.simhq.com/_air13/air_471a.html

SimHQ Review: CJS CF-104 for X-Plane 9.x - YouTube



BeachAV8R

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Yeah man…here is a pic of me in front of that F-104 in 1992. Man…I was skinny! Nice socks too…

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Ha, that was before they put foam guards around the wing edges!

Nice butte.

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They did not…! Tell me that isn’t true…

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Might be hard to see in this photo, but the red on the leading edges is a set of protectors. There’s another set on the trailing edges.

This pic was taken last October.

You’ll notice the high rise buildings in the background - those are Riddle buildings! The place is definitely not the same school you and I went to.

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There is one of these still in Norway

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That poor thing looks like someone dropped it off at a roadside garage to have the transmission looked at and then never came back to check on it.

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That was a great article Beach and I bought the F104 because of it. Unfortunately the plug-in no longer works. It was such a labor of love and a real joy to fly.

Hmm…I wonder if Greg (the author of it) has updated the plug-in to make it XP10.xx compatible? I hadn’t loaded it up in years…