First Flight of the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
4th March 1948
The Starfighter was once described as ‘a delight to fly, but one mistake and it will kill you’. It is one of the world’s fastest fighters with a top speed of Mach 2.2 and a service ceiling of 58,000 feet. First delivered to the USAF in 1958 it was also sold to the German, Greek, Italian, Turkish and Italian Air Forces. It could carry a variety of air to air and air to surface missiles and was powered by a single General Electric J79 turbojet that developed 17,900 lb of thrust with afterburner. The Italian Air Force continued to fly it into the 21st Century.
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