Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter is a single-engine one-man supersonic jet fighter developed after the Korean War. Unforgiving to fly and sometimes called the "missile with a man it it", its career in the USAF was short, but it served at length in the air forces of West Germany, Japan, and Italy, among others.
There are several F-104 at the Luftwaffe Museum Berlin-Gatow.
Flying the Starfighter
An aircraft with somewhat of a reputation for dangerous handling, the F-104 model was approached with some caution. Flying the aircraft turned out to be easier than expected, but the landing was another matter altogether.
Take -off was relatively easy, except for the tendency to wander off to one side, which at high speeds can be disastrous. Once up to speed, however, the aircraft was a delight to fly, fast and easy to handle. The climb rate is something to behold in itself, and low level passes had me thinking that this was not a plane but a little rocket-ship.
Making turns at 140kt at low level, and on approach did not seem very true to life. Sure enough, the YASIM configuration file had the approach speed as 100kt or if I remember right, and I promptly changed this to 170 kt, after which things were more interesting. Handling was still fine, but the F-104 simply runs out of lift at low speeds and speed has to be kept up.
Landing is fairly safe if speeds are kept within limits. Adding to the complication is that the aircraft sits very low, and while groping for the ground one finds that the runway is nearing its end markers, which is not a very nice feeling at all. Braking also has to be done very carefully.
The model tested has a rocket motor fitted to its tail. ( Review by OpenFlight)
The version from FG aircraft 2.6 download page.
- FlightGear 1.9.1.: Loads and runs
- FlightGear 2.0: Not Tested
- FlightGear 2.4: Not Tested
- FlightGear 2.6: Not Tested
Items to be corrected
The model tested lacked many instruments, and had an awful flat shadow that followed the plane on approach, a shadow that was flat regardless of the bank angle of the aircraft.
- Approach Speed : 170 kt
- flaps are in wrong position by default on startup
- flaps can't be triggered - corrected
- no cockpit light at night visible
- no pilot visible -corrected
- wings are not textured -corrected
- engine turbines do not rotate or are not visible
- aircraft has no shadow -shadow is inaccurate
- no aircraft light available
- aircraft has no wheel well area for the landing gears -corrected
- baydoors for gears are missing
- no jetstream visible
- nozzle do not change shape when changing thrust
- there are no flaps when using reverse thrust
- no cockpit light at night available
- no rudder/stick control in 3d cockpit available
- no ruder control pedals available
- no switches and levers available
- no elevator trim control available
- no cockpit instruments available - some instruments
- cockpit is not textured
- no pilot and co pilot present - corrected
- cockpit window has no windscreen wipers
- engine sound missing during flight and on ground -corrected ?
- hud is not available