Air & Space Museum

Lockheed F-104C Starfighter

Lockheed F-104C Starfighter

When Kelly Johnson and his engineers at the secret “Skunk Works” designed the F-104 in 1952, they wanted a high-altitude interceptor with lots of speed, a high rate of climb, and a quick reaction time. Those objectives helped guide them to the classic shape of this Cold War fighter. The Air Force didn’t even know they needed an airplane like the F-104… Lockheed submitted their unsolicited proposal, THEN the Air Force wrote the operational requirements!

The F-104 Starfighter is a high-performance interceptor that served the U.S. Air Force during the 1950s and 1960s. Designed on feedback from U.S. pilots in Korea, the F-104’s lightweight design emphasized maneuverability in early models, but its high performance demanded precise, careful piloting, and it had a high accident rate. The F-104A set altitude records of 91,243 feet in 1958 and 103,395 feet in 1959. In 1958 Lockheed introduced a fighter-bomber version, the F-104C.

The one at the Wings Over the Rockies Museum is an F-104C fighter-bomber, one of two aircraft in the Wings collection that have flown in combat. It flew with the 435th Tactical Fighter Squadron from Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base during the Vietnam War.

This airplane is on loan from the National Museum of the US Air Force.

Aircraft specifications:
Wingspan: 21 ft 9 in
Length:54 ft 8 in
Maximum speed: Mach 2.2, or 1,450 mph (2,334 km/h) above 40,000 ft (12.2 km)
Initial climb rate: 48,000 fpm (244 m/s)
Crew: One
Engine: General Electric J-79 turbojet
Thrust: 10,000 lbf (44.5 kN), 15,800 lbf (70.3 kN) with afterburner

Air & Space Museum Air & Space Museum

Lowry - Denver

Air & Space Museum

Upcoming Events

Saturday Oct 7
9:30AM TO 12:30PM
Exploration of Flight

Breakfast Fly-In

Breakfast Fly-In
Saturday, Oct 7 | 9:30AM to 12:30PM

Join Wings Over the Rockies Exploration of Flight for monthly fly-ins featuring planes, pilots and breakfast!

On the first Saturday of every month, enjoy breakfast from a local food truck, watch aircraft fly in and explore interactive exhibits and simulators.

Purchase Tickets

Food Truck: Cruz In & Eat
Please note: Food purchases are not included in admission.

Pilots – Fly in for free breakfast! For tie-down space, contact or 303.360.5360 ext 160.

Saturday Oct 14
9:00AM TO 2:00PM
Exploration of Flight

Round Engine Roundup with an Eclipse Encounter

Round Engine Roundup with an Eclipse Encounter
Saturday, Oct 14 | 9:00AM to 2:00PM

Join us at Exploration of Flight for a roundup of round engine aircraft, featuring the Sea Fury. Plus, view the 2023 Annular Eclipse from Centennial Airport! Build your own telescope and create a moon phase calendar at our learning stations, followed by an educational talk about the eclipse from Wings Over the Rockies Curator Chuck Stout.

Arrive early for prime eclipse viewing, as the eclipse is expected to be visible in the area around 10:30 a.m. The first 100 people will receive free eclipse glasses to safely view the eclipse. Additional glasses will be for sale.

Pre-Purchase Tickets

Food Truck: Colorado Coney Company

Saturday Oct 14
10:00AM TO 11:00AM

Teachers Only | Professional Development: Nose Art

Teachers Only | Professional Development: Nose Art
Saturday, Oct 14 | 10:00AM to 11:00AM

Teacher Workshop: Nose Art

Teachers are invited to join us for this online workshop and learn a unique aerospace lesson to bring to your classroom!

As aviation developed, especially as the result of World War I, many pilots chose to decorate their aircraft with designs intended to intimidate their opponents, or to remind the pilots of easier times at home. During this unique program, participants will have a chance to review some of that remarkable history and develop their own insignia and learn how to generate the image on a square of aircraft aluminum.

Register below and you will receive a confirmation email with the online meeting link.

Register Here

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