The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter is a high-speed, high-altitude interceptor.
It was the first US jet fighter to fly at twice the speed of sound.
While designed for the USAF, the F-104 played a prominent
role in the air forces of many other countries. NASA has used the F-104 for
flight tests and as a chase plane. It tested controls later used on the
North American X-15. The first F-104As were outfitted with downward-firing
ejector seats. Unfortunately, ejecting downward too close to the ground proved
to be fatal. Renowned test pilot Iven C. Kincheloe was among 21 F-104 aircrew
to be killed by problems with the ejection system.
It was eventually replaced by an upward-firing ejection system.
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