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

Friday Aug 19
10AM TO 3PM
Air & Space Museum

Aviation Day | Pay As You Wish!

Aviation Day | Pay As You Wish!
Friday, Aug 19 | 10AM to 3PM

Join us in celebrating the development of aviation this National Aviation Day and PAY AS YOU WISH!

Enjoy special activities including:

  • Paper airplane building
  • Flight simulator sessions
  • Select open cockpits
  • Science demos
  • Scavenger hunts
  • And more!

Your donation helps to support Wings’ mission to educate, inspire and excite all people about aviation and space endeavors of the past, present and future.

National Aviation Day celebrations will also be held at Exploration of Flight at Centennial Airport! Click here to learn more.

Please note: Pricing for MaxFlight and Doron simulator experiences are standard Wings pricing. Pay as You Wish offer is valid on 8/19/22 at both Wings locations. Pre-sale tickets not available for this event. Admission will be available at the door.

Friday Aug 19
10AM TO 3PM
Exploration of Flight

Aviation Day | Pay As You Wish!

Aviation Day | Pay As You Wish!
Friday, Aug 19 | 10AM to 3PM

Join us in celebrating the development of aviation this National Aviation Day and PAY AS YOU WISH!

Enjoy special activities including:

  • Paper airplane building
  • Spinning helicopters
  • Talk with pilots and explore aircraft
  • Scavenger hunts
  • And more!

Your donation helps to support Wings’ mission to educate, inspire and excite all people about aviation and space endeavors of the past, present and future.

National Aviation Day celebrations will also be held at the Air & Space Museum in Denver! Click here to learn more.

Please note: Pay as You Wish offer is valid on 8/19/22 at both Wings locations. Pre-sale tickets not available for this event. Admission will be available at the door.

Saturday Aug 20
10AM TO 11AM
Exploration of Flight

Speaker Series | Aviation Archaeology

Speaker Series | Aviation Archaeology
Saturday, Aug 20 | 10AM to 11AM

Join Wings Over the Rockies Exploration of Flight and the Colorado Aviation Historical Society to hear from experts in aviation archaeology and field work.

Presentations will take place at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.

This event is included in Exploration of Flight admission.

Pre-purchase tickets

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