F-104_G LSm_AV

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This is an edit and reload of my F-104G LSm AV with slimmer airfoils on Wings and Stab and a small weight increase and lift mods. As a result the aircraft has a longer take off roll. This AV has a close to scale rudder as per the actual one but it can only be seen in the wire frame; the vert-stab height has been lowered to match the visual scale; rudder is effective. Be aware that turns are wide as per the actual jet. Long approaches with some power will give a nice slightly nose high approach and nose high landing, but this takes some practice; get speed down to around 100mph in pattern and bleed off turning long final. You'll find it to be a little nimble on roll control so be careful in those turns to base and final. Once you get used to it you'll have fun!

F-104 Facts for the curious:

Some F-104 facts: The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter was an American single-engined, high-performance, supersonic interceptor aircraft that served with the United States Air Force (USAF) from 1958 until 1967. One of the Century Series of aircraft, it continued in service with Air National Guard units until it was phased out in 1975. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) flew a small mixed fleet of F-104 types in supersonic flight tests and spaceflight programs until they were retired in 1994.[2] Several two-seat trainer versions were produced, the most numerous being the TF-104G.

The F-104C was used in combat with the USAF during the Vietnam War, and F-104A aircraft were deployed by Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistani wars. Republic of China Air Force F-104s also engaged the People's Liberation Army Air Force over the disputed island of Kinmen.

The poor safety record of the Starfighter brought the aircraft into the public eye, especially in Luftwaffe service; the subsequent Lockheed bribery scandals surrounding the original purchase contracts caused considerable political controversy in Europe and Japan. However, a USAF study of other Century Series fighters revealed that the F-100 Super Sabre had an accident rate far worse than the F-104's.[3]

The F-104G version sold well amongst NATO air forces, where these high-speed fighter-bomber variants continued in service with most operators until the late 1980s. Lockheed developed the final and most advanced version, the F-104S, for use by the Italian Air Force which was designed to carry AIM-7 Sparrow missiles. The Italian Air Force was the last remaining Starfighter operator, retiring their fleet in 2004. Many F-104s were eventually replaced with F-16 or Panavia Tornado aircraft. A projected, highly-modified version of the F-104, known as the CL-1200 Lancer, did not proceed; the project was cancelled at the mock-up stage. A civilian demonstration team based in Florida operates the last three airworthy Starfighters.


The F-104 featured a radical wing design. Most jet fighters of the period (and to this day) used a swept-wing or delta-wing planform. This allowed a reasonable balance between aerodynamic performance, lift, and internal space for fuel and equipment. Lockheed's tests, however, determined that the most efficient shape for high-speed, supersonic flight was a very small, straight, mid-mounted, trapezoidal wing. The new wing design was extremely thin, with a thickness-to-chord ratio of only 3.36% and an aspect ratio of 2.45. The wing's leading-edges were so thin (0.016 in / 0.41 mm) and sharp that they presented a hazard to ground crews, and protective guards had to be installed during ground operations. The thinness of the wings meant that fuel tanks and landing gear had to be contained in the fuselage. The motors driving the control surfaces had to be only one inch (25 mm) thick to fit. The wings had both leading- and trailing-edge flaps. The small, highly-loaded wing resulted in an unacceptably high landing speed, so a boundary layer control system (BLCS) of blown flaps was incorporated, bleeding engine air over the trailing-edge flaps to improve lift. The system was a boon to safe landings, although it proved to be a maintenance problem in service, and landing without the BLCS could be a harrowing experience.[7]

[edit] Tail surfaces

The stabilator (horizontal tail surface) was mounted atop the fin to reduce inertia coupling. Because the vertical tailfin was only slightly shorter than the length of each wing and nearly as aerodynamically effective, it could act as a wing on rudder application (a phenomenon known as Dutch roll). To offset this effect, the wings were canted downward, giving 10° anhedral.[7]

[edit] Fuselage

The Starfighter's fuselage had a high fineness ratio, i.e., tapering sharply towards the nose, and a small frontal area. The fuselage was tightly packed, containing the radar, cockpit, cannon, fuel, landing gear, and engine. This fuselage and wing combination provided extremely low drag except at high angle of attack (alpha), at which point induced drag became very high. As a result, the Starfighter had excellent acceleration, rate of climb and potential top speed, but its sustained turn performance was very poor, described by some as more like a milk truck than a fighter.[citation needed] It was sensitive to control input, and extremely unforgiving to pilot error.

NACA wind tunnel tested a model of the F-104 to evaluate its stability, and found it became increasingly unstable at higher angles of attack, to the point that there was a recommendation to limit the servo-control power that generated those higher angles, and shake the stick to warn the pilot. In the same report, NACA stated that the wingtip tanks, possibly because of their stabilizing fins, somewhat reduced the model's instability problems at high angles of attack.

[edit] Engine
Detail of F-104G's J79 turbojet exhaust (the red coloring has been added by the museum).
Detail of F-104G's J79 turbojet exhaust (the red coloring has been added by the museum).

The F-104 was designed to use the General Electric J79 turbojet engine, fed by side-mounted intakes with fixed inlet cones optimized for supersonic speeds. Unlike some supersonic aircraft, the F-104 does not have variable-geometry inlets. Its thrust-to-drag ratio was excellent, allowing a maximum speed well in excess of Mach 2: the top speed of the Starfighter was limited more by the aluminium airframe structure and the temperature limits of the engine compressor than by thrust or drag (which gives an aerodynamic maximum speed of Mach 2.2). Later models used uprated marks of the J79, improving both thrust and fuel consumption significantly.

[edit] Ejection seat

Early Starfighters used a downward-firing ejection seat (the Stanley C-1), out of concern over the ability of an upward-firing seat to clear the tailplane. This presented obvious problems in low-altitude escapes, and some 21 USAF pilots failed to escape their stricken aircraft in low-level emergencies because of it. The downward-firing seat was soon replaced by the Lockheed C-2 upward-firing seat, which was capable of clearing the tail, although it still had a minimum speed limitation of 90 knots (170 km/h). Many export Starfighters were later retro-fitted with Martin-Baker zero-zero ejection seats, which have the ability to successfully eject the pilot from the aircraft even at zero altitude and zero airspeed.[8]

[edit] Avionics

The initial USAF Starfighters had a basic AN/ASG-14T ranging radar, TACAN, and a AN/ARC-34 UHF radio. The later international fighter-bomber aircraft had a much more advanced Autonetics NASARR radar, a simple infrared sight, a Litton LN-3 inertial navigation system, and an air data computer.

In the late 1960s, Lockheed developed a more advanced version of the Starfighter, the F-104S, for use by the Italian Air Force as an all-weather interceptor. The F-104S received a NASARR R21-G with a moving-target indicator and a continuous-wave illuminator for semi-active radar homing missiles, including the AIM-7 Sparrow and Selenia Aspide. The missile-guidance avionics forced the deletion of the Starfighter's internal cannon. In the mid-1980s surviving F-104S aircraft were updated to ASA standard (Aggiornamento Sistemi d'Arma, or Weapon Systems Update), with a much improved, more compact Fiat R21G/M1 radar.
M61 cannon installation of a Luftwaffe F-104G
M61 cannon installation of a Luftwaffe F-104G

[edit] Armament

The basic armament of the F-104 was the M61 Vulcan 20 mm Gatling gun. The Starfighter was the first aircraft to carry the new weapon, which had a rate of fire of 6,000 rounds per minute. The cannon, mounted in the lower part of the port fuselage, was fed by a 725-round drum behind the pilot's seat. It was omitted in all the two-seat models and some single-seat versions, including reconnaissance aircraft and the early Italian F-104S; the gun bay and ammunition tank were usually replaced by additional fuel tanks. Two AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles could be carried on the wingtip stations, which could also be used for fuel tanks. The F-104C and later models added a centerline pylon and two underwing pylons for bombs, rocket pods, or fuel tanks. The centerline pylon could carry a nuclear weapon; a "catamaran" launcher for two additional Sidewinders could be fitted under the forward fuselage, although the installation had minimal ground clearance and made the seeker heads of the missiles vulnerable to ground debris. The F-104S models added a pair of fuselage pylons beneath the intakes available for conventional bomb carriage. The F-104S had an additional pylon under each wing, allowing for a maximum of nine.

[edit] Two-seat trainer

Several two-seat training versions of the Starfighter were produced. They were generally similar to the single-seater, but the additional cockpit required removing the cannon and some internal fuel (very early versions of the F-104B did have a cannon fitted but it became impractical for many reasons). The nose landing gear bay was repositioned and the strut retracted rearwards. Two-seaters were combat-capable with Sidewinder missiles, and, despite a slightly larger vertical fin and increased weight, had similar performance to the early model single-seat aircraft.

The Starfighter was generally considered a rewarding, if very demanding, "sports car"[citation needed] of a fighter. It was the first combat aircraft capable of sustained Mach 2 flight, and its speed and climb performance remain impressive even by modern standards. If used appropriately, with high-speed surprise attacks and good use of its exceptional thrust-to-weight ratio, it could be a formidable opponent, although being lured into a turning contest with a slower, more maneuverable opponent (as Pakistani pilots were with Indian Hunters in 1965) was perilous. The F-104's large turn radius was mainly due to the high speeds involved, and its high-alpha stalling and pitch-up behavior was known to command respect.

Takeoff speeds were in the region of 190 knots, with the pilot needing to swiftly raise the landing gear to avoid exceeding the limit speed of 260 knots. Climb and cruise performance were outstanding; unusually, a "slow" light illuminated on the instrument panel at around Mach 2 to indicate that the engine compressor was nearing its limiting temperature and the pilot needed to throttle-back. Returning to the circuit, the downwind leg could be flown at 210 knots with "land" flap selected, while long flat final approaches were typically flown at speeds around 180 knots depending on the weight of fuel remaining. High engine power had to be maintained on the final approach to ensure adequate airflow for the BLC system; consequently pilots were warned not to cut the throttle until the aircraft was actually on the ground. A drag chute and effective brakes shortened the Starfighter's landing roll.[19]

[edit] Safety record

The safety record of the F-104 Starfighter became high profile news especially in Germany in the mid 1960s, and lingers in the minds of the public even to this day. Some operators lost nearly one third of their aircraft through accidents, although the accident rate varied widely depending on the user and operating conditions; the Spanish Air Force, for example, lost none. The Starfighter was a particular favorite of the Aeronautica Militare Italiana (Italian Air Force), although the AMI's accident rate was far from the lowest of Starfighter users.

Notable U.S. Air Force pilots who lost their lives in F-104 accidents include Major Robert H. Lawrence, Jr. and Captain Iven Kincheloe. Civilian (retired USAAF) pilot Joe Walker died in a mid-air collision with an XB-70 Valkyrie while flying an F-104. Chuck Yeager was nearly killed when he lost control of an NF-104A during a high-altitude record-breaking attempt. He lost the tips of two fingers and was hospitalized for a long period with severe burns after the flight.

[edit] F-104 general characteristics

The F-104 series all had a very high wing loading (made even higher when carrying external stores), which demanded that sufficient airspeed be maintained at all times. The high angle of attack area of flight was protected by a stick shaker system to warn the pilot of an approaching stall, and if this was ignored a stick kicker system would pitch the aircraft's nose down to a safer angle of attack; this was often overridden by the pilot despite flight manual warnings against this practise. At extreme high angles of attack the F-104 was known to "pitch-up" and enter a spin, which in most cases was impossible to recover from. Unlike the twin-engined F-4 Phantom II for example, the F-104 with its single engine lacked the safety margin in the case of an engine failure, and had a very poor glide ratio without thrust.

Normal operating hazards

The causes of a large number of aircraft losses were the same as for any other similar type. They included: birdstrikes (particularly to the engine), lightning strikes, pilot spatial disorientation, and mid-air collisions with other aircraft. A particularly notable accident occurred on 19 June 1962 when a formation of four F-104F aircraft, practising for the type's introduction into service ceremony, crashed together after descending through a cloud bank. This accident was explained as probable spatial disorientation of the lead pilot, and formation aerobatic teams were consequently banned by the Luftwaffe from that day on.[23]

[edit] Safety comparison with other aircraft types

A USAF comparison study of the accident rate of all the Century Series, F-4 Phantom, A-7, and F-111 aircraft over 750,000 flying hours showed that the F-100 Super Sabre led the table with an accident rate over double that of the F-104 (471 accidents for the F-100 versus 196 for the F-104) which had the second highest rate, closely followed by the F-102 Delta Dagger.[3] It should be noted that the F-104 figures in this study were taken over 600,000 hours as the type had not reached 750,000 hours at the time.

Specifications (F-104G)
Orthographically projected diagram of the F-104 Starfighter.

Data from Quest for Performance[34]

General characteristics

* Crew: 1
* Length: 54 ft 8 in (16.66 m)
* Wingspan: 21 ft 9 in (6.36 m)
* Height: 13 ft 6 in (4.09 m)
* Wing area: 196.1 sq ft (18.22 m²)
* Airfoil: Biconvex 3.36% root and tip
* Empty weight: 14,000 lb (6,350 kg)
* Loaded weight: 20,640 lb (9,365 kg)
* Max takeoff weight: 29,027 lb (13,170 kg)
* Powerplant: 1× General Electric J79-GE-11A afterburning turbojet
o Dry thrust: 10,000 lbf (48 kN)
o Thrust with afterburner: 15,600 lbf (69 kN)
* Zero-lift drag coefficient: 0.0172
* Drag area: 3.37 sq ft (0.31 m²)
* Aspect ratio: 2.45


* Maximum speed: 1,328 mph (1,154 knots, 2,125 km/h)
* Combat radius: 420 mi (365 NM, 670 km)
* Ferry range: 1,630 mi (1,420 nm, 2,623 km)
* Service ceiling 50,000 ft (15,000 m)
* Rate of climb: 48,000 ft/min (244 m/s)
* Wing loading: 105 lb/sq ft (514 kg/m²)
* Thrust/weight: 0.54 with max. takeoff weight (0.76 loaded)
* Lift-to-drag ratio: 9.2


* Guns: 1× 20 mm (0.787 in) M61 Vulcan gatling gun, 725 rounds
* Hardpoints: 7 with a capacity of 4,000 lb (1,800 kg),with provisions to carry combinations of:
o Missiles: 4× AIM-9 Sidewinder* Other: Bombs, rockets, or other stores


This variant requires: