A civilian-owned CF-104D Starfighter flew for its first time in 33 years in Norway. And here are some of the coolest clips filmed during the historical “first flight.”
On Sept. 28, CF-104D Starfighter “637” / LN-STF in the colors of the Royal Norwegian Air Force flew again in Bodø, Norway, 33 years after its first flight.
Chased by a dual seater F-16B of the RNoAF, the aircraft, brought back to airworthy conditions in 13 years by the Norwegian Foreningen Starfighterens Venner (Friends of the Starfighter Association) flew for about 50 minutes becoming the first “Zipper” (or “Missile with a man in it” in accordance to one of the several nicknames the legendary plane has had during its long career) to fly in Europe in more than 11 years: the last flight of an F-104 in the Old Continent took place in Italy, on Jul. 27, 2005, when the Italian Air Force retired its last aircraft (a two-seater TF-104, the same type of aircraft this Author had the opportunity to fly in November 2000) after more than 40 years of service.
Eskil Amdal, a Norwegian test pilot, flew the Starfighter “637” during its newest “first flight” that was broadcast live on Facebook.
The following video shows the takeoff of the chase F-16B that performed an airborne pickup of the F-104 and the later approach and landing:
Here’s an interesting clip with footage from inside the cockpit:
The following footage shows the CF-104D from the backseat of the F-16B (taken by Helge Andreassen):
There are rumors that the Norwegian association will some day bring the F-104 back to airshows around Europe. However it looks like there are no plans (and possibly clearances) at the moment to fly this magnificient aircraft outside of Norway.
H/T to Giulio Cristante, Bjørnar Bolsøy and all the readers who sent us links and comments!
Well, depends on the version. Germany for example not only wanted an interceptor but also a bomber that could carry an a-bomb, the F-104G. And the additional equipment for that multirole assignment made it dangerous. In 31 years of service 269 of 916 crashed in Germany.
Remember seeing them at Sola in the 70s, all silver scheme, thought they were the coolest thing ever.
One comment only;
All this bullshit about the “widowmaker” Not a single pilot in our airforce ever referred to the Starfighter as the widowmaker. If anyone cared to look a bit deeper into why many 104s were lost, including the ones we lost in Norway, one will find that very few accidents were a result of aircraft failures. In all airforces those days, at least in the sixties-seventies, flight safety suffered. In many cases, young pilots were set to do things they were not qualified for. The amount of training was high and the experience was low. Now that is a very poor set up for accidents avoidence. If we compare the Starfighter to other types from the same timeperiod, one will find the equal or even worse statistics. Doing 500kts low level in bad weather is a demanding business in any airplane.