Lockheed F-104A Starfighter, Serial No. 56-817, arrived at Pacific Aviation Museum in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii last Thursday, joining the Museum’s impressive and ever-expanding collection of warbird aircraft. The Starfighter, which is on long-term loan from Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Georgia.
The Starfighter went into production in 1956 and was the first combat aircraft capable of easily sustaining twice the speed of sound. It simultaneously held the world records for speed, altitude, and rate of climb. Chuck Yeager famously made his high-altitude, record-breaking ascent in a rocket-assisted F-104, climbing to the edge of space, reaching a final altitude of 103,395 feet.
With a length of nearly 55 feet and mere 22′ wingspan, coupled with the prodigious power output of its General Electric J79 turbojet engine it’s easy to see why it was dubbed “The Missile with a Man in It”; a name swiftly trademarked by Lockheed for marketing purposes. The Starfighter served in the US Air Force from 1958 through 1975, and was widely used by other National Air Forces around the world, with the Italian Air Force continuing to operate these planes until 2004.