Photography Magazine

Lockheed NF-104A Starfighter

By Htam
Lockheed NF-104A Starfighter

@ Edwards AFB, CA

October 2022

This sleek Starfighter guards the main entrance of the USAF Test Pilots School.  Three aircraft were modified from existing Lockheed F-104A airframes and served with the Aerospace Research Pilots School between 1963 and 1971, the modifications included a small supplementary rocket engine and a reaction control system for flight in the stratosphere. During the test program, the maximum altitude reached was more than 120,000 feet (36,600 m). One of the aircraft was destroyed in an accident while being flown by Chuck Yeager, this surviving example was the second NF-104A (USAF 56-0760) to be converted. The extended wingtips, RCS, metal nose cone, and other parts from 56-0760 were loaned to Darryl Greenamyer for his civilian aviation record attempts using a highly modified F-104. When he was forced to eject during a record flight, his aircraft was destroyed and the parts were never returned.

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