Enjoy This Video Of An F-104 Climbing Vertically Over NASA Shuttle Landing Facility

The F-104 in a vertical climb over the NASA SLF. (Screenshot from video below)

The “missile with a man in it” once again displays the raw power of its engine, rocketing effortlessly across the sky.

A new video published few days ago on YouTube by Piercarlo Ciacchi, director of flight operations at Starfighters Aerospace, puts the viewer on the wingtip of one of the company’s twin seater TF-104s. An action camera placed on the right wingtip fuel tank shows the Starfighter ripping through the skies once again, keeping in line with its “missile with a man in it” traditional nickname.

As you can see in the video posted below, the colorful F-104 takes off from the NASA Shuttle Landing Facility, from where the Starfighters usually operate for research and test purposes, as we often reported. After a low pass over the 15,000ft-long runway, the F-104 pulls up in the vertical and passes through the clouds to reach the clear skies above.

Another interesting video, published on the same day, shows the same aircraft during maintenance with a rare view of the so-called “Cadillac assembly”, which controls the horizontal stabilizer and whose name is due to its complexity, as explained by Ciacchi in the video. The assembly includes the “kicker”, which can be seen in action as it pushes the stabilizer (and the stick in the cockpit) forward to prevent a stall if the angle of attack gets too high.

As we mentioned in other articles, some of the F-104 currently flying with Starfighters Aerospace formerly served with the Italian Air Force. It is being widely reported that the company might send up to two of the former Italian aircraft to the airshow that will be held for the 100th anniversary of the Aeronautica Militare at Pratica di Mare Air Base on June 17-18, 2023.

Some report mentioned the aircraft being moved across the ocean ship, while others mentioned the transport would happen inside C-130s. However, as mentioned by Ciacchi (a former Italian Air Force pilot himself) answering to F-104 fans on Facebook, the participation to the airshow is still not confirmed, as difficulties related to the transport of the aircraft to Italy might prevent the aircraft from making it to Pratica di Mare.

About Stefano D'Urso
Stefano D'Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he's also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.