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F-104 Trivia

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OLDGUNNER
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F-104 Trivia

#1 Post by OLDGUNNER » Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:41 pm

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=f- ... &FORM=VIRE

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Just some trivia---
JUST LOOKING BACK - From 62 to spring of 66 I was attached to the F-104 German Pilot Training Program. The Germans had bought a thousand and some F-104's and then found out that they lacked the ability to train the pilots to fly them...it was just that simple. So they made a deal with the US Air Force to train their pilots for them at 175,000 per pilot. The Germans would buy on a separate contract 99 F-104's to be used here in the states and that would be done at Luke AFB in Arizona. And then the Germans would send over a couple a dozen at a time to train them. One of the students was some relation to the RED BARON. I was working at the time for Litton Systems in the Inertial Guidance division who was making the Systems that were used on the F-104's. These planes were to be made at the Lockheed plant in Palmdale, California, which they were. I worked there until they started the training at Luke and I was transferred there and there the project manager was Air Force James Jabara of Jet Ace fame. I just attached the video if one may be interested. The F-104 has its niche in history.

Some trivia about the 104....it had one big engine but the fuel mileage was (could be) the same as that of a four hole 1948 Buick automobile. As I say could be...for the 104 this mileage was at its most efficient speed of as I recall around 210 knots and for the Buick this was probable at 80 mile an hour or so....8 Miles to the gallon. As I say this was for the 'Four Hole' Buick...for those that may not remember, Buick made a 'Three Hole' and a 'Four Hole' Buick at the time. The 3 hole had a six cylinder engine and the 4 hole had an 8 cylinder engine. There are probable some pictures of them on the web.

The 104 held the worlds speed records for some time. By some it was said that it had the glide path of a rock - not so - it was actually about 4 to 1...similar to some conventional aircraft.

The wings were 7 feet long.

It was designed to carry an atomic bomb.
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At the time regular auto fuel was about 25 cents a gallon and JP4 to the Air Force was 6 cents a gallon.

One morning I was going to work, at the time there were two of us that did the debriefing after the pilot's morning and afternoon training flights, I noticed an F-100 pull up to the front of the Operations Building, I glanced over and I saw the pilot getting out, it was my coworker. He had never told me that he was in the Air Force reserves and had just flown this F-100 From Tucson to work. Then I was told the reason that I was asked to set in with him at work was because he had given notice that he was hired by Pan Am as a copilot and was leaving and I was to take over his job. It was just at this time that I was given a little packet of business cards that had my name on them, "Lockheed F-104 Management Team". I had 'ABSOLUTELY NOTHING' to do with this team. Col Jababa had just put my name on the list as a friendly gesture.

It was in I think 38 we went to a local 4th of July air show, and it was the first time we... my parents and I had flown in an air plane, a Ford, made by Ford. It was a Tri-Motored Ford. And that afternoon there was an accident. Has anyone seen the movie, 'The Gypsy Moth' with Burt Lancaster and Gene Hackman? Well that movie was not fiction, at least the accident part itself, the first part and theme probable, because I was there and saw it. Thee real Bat Man jumped out of the plane and was suppose to glide down in his winged suit and then pull his chute and come down safely. His chute and suit become tangled and he hit the ground not more than a 100 feet from my dad and I. This was at the Ottumwa, Iowa municipal airport and not as the book says somewhere in Kansas.

It was in the summer of 46 I saw the very first Navy's Blue Angles team in their F-6F's do their show at the Ottumwa Naval Air Station and I thought that I would like to do some day, and I did, not in a military aircraft but my own.

It's a good thing that they have a Trivia slot, huh.

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Re: F-104 Trivia

#2 Post by OLDGUNNER » Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:05 pm

https://www.bing.com/search?q=T-34%20Na ... E491BEF19D

I forgot, actually I have done this in a military (type) of aircraft, the Navy T-34. When I first arrived in the Philippines in 1966 I joined the Cubi Point Flying Club and they had 3 of these that the Navy had given them. And they were fully aerobatic. Are there any ex-sailors here that may have happened to recall that time -frame? Sometime after that the club bought one or two Cessna 172's because of the costly maintenance of the T-34's.
When I got out of the Air Force in 56, good P-51's could be had for 7,000 with a new engine. Ones with used engines, 6,000. Brand new engines could be had for 1,000. And my first job out was with Douglas Aircraft in LA at 2.12 an hour. Now it can take a million to have one.
By the way with that T-34, one didn't want to try landing it with full power, it would drop a wing with no warning. Well maybe I shouldn't say that, it was probable just me...I couldn't. All Navy pilots have to learn to land planes at full power, except maybe the ones that have more thrust than weight, like the Tomcat and on up. This was because if they missed that last wire they could just fly off and go around.

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Re: F-104 Trivia

#3 Post by timbo1955 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:17 am

Only thing I remember about the 104 was I was almost as tall as it was. Low slung hot rod

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Re: F-104 Trivia

#4 Post by Tommy Atkins » Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:01 pm

Basically a missile with wings.
I remember hearing about "The flying Coffin Nail" or as the Germans called them "Witwenmacher" ("The Widowmaker") at the time. Oddly it was ONLY the Germans that had such a terrible accident rate.
I did hear that a major contributing factor was the German's insistence about changing out equipment, & that put the 104's dangerously over max allowable take off weight at all times before loading them with stores!

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Re: F-104 Trivia

#5 Post by Rapidrob » Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:04 pm

I was off the coast of Quang Tri Vietnam shooting the crap out of anything that moved. We had a break in the "Call for fire" and I left the 140 degree gun and stood next to it by the port lifelines. My boss Chief Morris, came up from the Carrier Room ( where the gun is controller for loading ) and we were shooting the bull when a F-104 made a low level pass in front of us and made a bombing run and strafing of the bad guys 1,000 yards away. As he pulled out he left the target area flying fast and level. Chief Morris said to me " I wouldn't do that if that was me,Charlie is pissed off" . It wasn't five seconds later a SAM missile went right up his tail pipe. The resulting explosion literally turned the jet into confetti. Just a smudge of black smoke and falling parts. No real fireball to speak of. There was no chute.
We learned later it was a Bird Colonel getting in his Combat flight hours.
I will never forget those few minutes.
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Re: F-104 Trivia

#6 Post by Tommy Atkins » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:32 pm

When things go screwy in a fast mover the go screwy fast too.
We were departing Brawdy in the Western tip of Wales in an RAF PR-7 Canberra (B47) when we got a buzz by a couple of USAF F4s.
They were insistent we make an IMMEDIATE 120° Port turn & reduce altitude & power.
We were discussing it , as we were barely clearing the circuit, when there was a big puffy cloud in the trees 3500' below us & the threat board lit like a Christmas tree!
Somehow their ground to air radar had read us & the F4 intercept as a threat & lit the match. We didn't discover til years later that the heavy U.S. Presence (2 squadrons & a Guided Missile wing) were there because the U.S naval installation next door was actually a big part of the SOSUS & CESAR anti-Submarine network.
I'll never forget the rollicking we got from their base commander because they'd "Pissed away 3/4 of a million dollars into the Irish sea"!
Our CO was more understanding, but it got very hairy very fast.
We dumped every flare, window, chaff & ECM we had!
We'd "accidentally" covered an F4 in "Christmas tree tinsel", but they never mentioned that either Thank gawd. Someone got the ribbing of a lifetime though I'd guess. :whistle:
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Re: F-104 Trivia

#7 Post by sowbelle » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:22 pm

Rob
That was a story
I can understand why you will never forget those minutes
As I read this story I thought to myself what a waste of talent but he was a victim of his past and bureaucracy

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Re: F-104 Trivia

#8 Post by ffuries » Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:53 pm

F-104, I remember the term man on a rocket used to describe it. Remember seeing them flying when I was a military brat in Germany, and seeing them screaming at low level over the base during NATO TAC-EVALS.
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Re: F-104 Trivia

#9 Post by ammolab » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:00 pm

Those flights into combat are always dangerous....rank is no guarantee of safety. Summer of 1967 two B52s collided mid air off shore of our Hospital in Vietnam. I talked to a survivor who was pilot of one of the buffs flying to a bombing mission in darkness. He said the wing of another B52 in the flight came in to his cockpit crushing his copilot, and he then punched out in a heartbeat. William Crumm an Air Force General was riding along. The General and all others did not survive.

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Re: F-104 Trivia

#10 Post by ffuries » Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:33 pm

While at Ali Al Salem, Kuwait for Southern Watch in 99, I watched one of the HC-130s make an "Oh Shit" low level recovery. Asked the crew when they came through if they were flying acrobatics or something and all I got was a pound sand look.

Finally one of the loads told me the VIP (AKA General) they were flying wanted some stick time, don't know if he had any Herky or even fixed wing time or not. But he damn near flew the bird into the tarmac, the pilot had to yank the controls back while yelling, I've got the controls. The recovery was violent enough that one of the loads slammed into the roof of the cargo section. If the pilot had delayed a few seconds longer, they would have flown into the ground. Sort of scary thinking back on it now, they were seconds from buying the farm, all because some General wanted to fly the bird.
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