Starting from a 1952 design, Lockheed’s amazing Kelly Johnson designed and built an amazing jet for the USAF and 14 other nations’ air arms – the F-104 Starfighter. Small and simple by modern standards, it was an extremely high-performance jet wrapped around a General Electric J79 engine – the same powerplant found at the heart of the F-4, the B-58, the A3J, and the Kfir, as well as variants of the F4D, F11F, and F-16. Retired from frontline American military service in 1969, it soldiered on in NASA service and overseas through its 2004 Italian retirement.
Since 1995, a group has assembled three former Canadian Starfighters and flies them at various American airshows. I have not seen them yet, but I am determined to do so. I saw the F-106 fly in an airshow, and I saw a static F-105, but I would love to see this member of the Century Series show its stuff.
The team recently performed at the annual Joint Service Open House at Andrews AFB, Maryland. The following are pictures from several people who attended the show and placed their pictures on Flickr. I am indebted to them for sharing, and I am seriously jealous of their fortune in seeing these rare planes in flight. and finally, because I can hardly stop myself…
If you like this, I encourage you to check out this summary of all of the aviation photography I have featured here.