Skip Top nav bar link group topnav end piece go to business section go to education section go to history section go to gallery section go to news section go to organizations section go to research section go to search engine go to site index topnav end piece
NASA Meatball F-104 Starfighter  Photo Collection banner
F-104 Starfighter

All three NASA F-104N's flying in formation.

Photo Number: EC63-00221
Photo Date: October 24, 1963
Formats: 640x622 JPEG Image (232 KBytes)
1280x1244 JPEG Image (802 KBytes)
2994x2910 JPEG Image (3977 KBytes)
All three NASA F-104N's flying in formation. Originally assigned the aircraft numbers 011, 012 and 013, they would later be changed to 811, 812 and 813 in 1965. Piloting the F-104s in this photo are Bruce Peterson in 011, Milt Thompson in 012 and Joe Walker in 013.
NASA accepted three specially built F-104s in late 1963 for use as pilot proficiency aircraft, low lift over drag trainers, and chase planes. These received the designation "F-104N." The aircraft in the foreground, N811NA, was delivered on August 19, 1963. The second aircraft, N812NA, appeared at the Flight Research Center (now the Dryden Flight Research Center) on September 30, 1963. The third F-104N (number N813NA) arrived on October 22, 1963, but was lost on June 8, 1966 in the collision with the XB-70 #2. Research pilot Joe Walker died in the accident. The surviving F-104Ns served for more then two decades. N811NA flew for the last time in October 1990, after a total of 4,370 flights. N812NA was retired in January 1987, after 4,442 flights. N813NA had made 409 flight at the time it was lost.

Through the years, Dryden has used a variety of chase and support aircraft. First acquired in August 1956, F-104s were the most versatile work-horses in Dryden's stable of research and support aircraft, with 11 of them flying mostly research missions over the next 38 years. Tail number 826 flew the last of these missions on 31 January 1994. By then the 11 F-104s had accumulated over 18,000 flights at Dryden in a great variety of missions ranging from basic research to airborne simulation and service as an aerodynamic testbed.

NASA Photo by: NASA
Keywords: F-104, F-104N, Starfighter, 011, 012, 013, 811, 812, 813, Bruce Peterson, Milt Thompson, Joe Walker

Last Modified: September 25, 2006
Responsible NASA Official: Marty Curry
Curator: PAO Webmasters

NASA Website Privacy Statement