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

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Air & Space Museum

Upcoming Events

Saturday Dec 3
9:30AM TO 12:30PM
Exploration of Flight

Breakfast Fly-In

Breakfast Fly-In
Saturday, Dec 3 | 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.

Pre-Purchase Tickets

Featured Food Truck in December: 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.

*Weather permitting

Tuesday Dec 6

Colorado Gives Day

Colorado Gives Day
Tuesday, Dec 6

Help Wings reach new heights this Colorado Gives Day!

Your gift will help support our educational programming and student learners, engaging exhibits, aircraft restoration and more!

Donate now! All support through December 6th counts towards Colorado Gives Day and the incentive fund. All participating Colorado Gives Day nonprofits earn a percentage of the fund. Visit our Colorado Gives Day Page or donate below.

Saturday Dec 10
10:00AM TO 2:00PM
Air & Space Museum

Cockpit Demo Day

Cockpit Demo Day
Saturday, Dec 10 | 10:00AM to 2:00PM

Get an up close look inside select aircraft at the museum and learn all about the history of the aircraft, instruments and controls!

Featured Aircraft in December:

  • North American F-100 Super Sabre
  • Martin EB-57
  • Alexander Eaglerock
  • Bede BD-5 (WC)
  • Cessna U-3A


Pre-Purchase Tickets


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