Collection Highlights

Lockheed F-104A Starfighter

Artifact No.: 1968.0893 


Highlights:

  • An American single-engine, supersonic fighter/interceptor aircraft designed and produced by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation and other companies from 1954 to 1979
  • Featured a lightweight design created in response to Soviet jet fighters
  • Used by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) as a NATO fighter in Europe, often replacing the F-86 Sabre
  • Canadair Limited produced single-seater CF-104s for the RCAF and F-104Gs for NATO countries as part of a U.S. assistance program
  • Flown by Wing Commander Robert A. White when he set a Canadian altitude record of 30,513 metres (100,110 feet) on December 14, 1967
  • One of the most widely used supersonic jet fighters of the NATO Alliance
  • First flight was on March 4, 1954 (F-104)

Image Gallery:

Back to top
 

History:

The RCAF selected the F-104 to replace its Sabre fighters in Europe. The small F-104 Starfighter was an attempt to counter the trend towards increasingly heavier fighters after Second World War. As it evolved, however, the F-104 also got heavier, with the G model almost overloaded with equipment and weapons. With engines built by Orenda, Canadair produced 200 single-seat CF-104s and another 140 F-104Gs for NATO countries. The Canadian Forces phased out its Starfighters in 1986.

Current Location:

Jet Age Exhibition, Canada Aviation and Space Museum

Provenance:

Transfer from the Canadian Armed Forces

This Starfighter was built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in Burbank, California in 1957. It was accepted by the U.S. Air Force in November of that year and began service at Elgin Air Force Base in Florida. It served with the U.S. Air Force until November 1959 and was then placed in storage in Palmdale, California. The aircraft was shipped to Canadair for use as a pattern aircraft for production of the CF-104, which was to be built under licence.

The RCAF acquired the Starfighter in June 1963. Two years later, it was transferred to the Central Experimental and Proving Establishment at Uplands airport in Ottawa.

On December 14, 1967, Wing Commander Robert A. White set a Canadian altitude record of 30,513 metres (100,110 feet) flying the Starfighter. As a result, White was made an Officer of the Order of Military Merit and inducted as a member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1974. The aircraft was transferred to the Museum in June 1968.

Technical Information:

To achieve good performance with a very small wing, the thin, high-speed profile of the Starfighter could be altered for low-speed flight by drooping the leading and trailing edges of the wings. High-pressure air blew over the drooped trailing edge to maintain a smooth air flow. The aircraft was unfairly considered crash-prone, but most accidents were caused by the method of flying required and poor weather. The ejection seat was rocket-powered.

Wing Span 6.7 m (21 ft 11 in)
Length 16.7 m (54 ft 8 in)
Height 4.1 m (13 ft 6 in)
Weight, Empty 6,070 kg (13,384 lb)
Weight, Gross 8,159 kg (17,988 lb)
Cruising Speed 835 km/h (519 mph)
Max Speed 2,189 km/h (1,360 mph)
Rate of Climb 18,408 m (60,396 ft) / min
Service Ceiling 19,750 m (64,800 ft)
Range 1,175 km (730 mi)
Power Plant one General Electric J79-OEL-7 axial flow jet engine, 7,166 kg (15,800 lb), static thrust, with afterburner

Back to top