S u m m a r y
||Warbird Tech Series
||Soft cover; 8½" x 11" in
portrait format, 104 pages plus covers
USD$16.95 available online from Specialty Press
||Good overall history. Nice color
||Some missing text?
Reviewed by Dave
Warbird Tech F-104
Starfighter is available online from
The newest book in the Warbird Tech series by Specialty Press covers the F-104
Starfighter. Broken down into 8 chapters, the book covers the design and
development of the F-104 and its systems, the different operators and versions
of the Starfighter, and various programs the aircraft was involved in. Also
included is an 8-page color section and appendices covering items such as serial
numbers, an abbreviated modeler’s section, and a timeline of key dates in F-104
One covers the design and development of the F-104. Included are drawings of
various design proposals which led to the final F-104 design we are so familiar
with. Interestingly, some of the earlier designs look virtually nothing like the
Chapter Two provides technical descriptions of the aircraft and systems such as
the engine, avionics, and inlets.
Chapter Three is entitled “Flight Test” and provides anecdotes of various tests
performed to ascertain the aircraft’s performance characteristics. The F-104’s
unique design resulted in a number of issues which had to be ironed out prior to
the aircraft being let loose on service pilots and some of the more interesting
tests are recounted in this section.
Chapter Four provides a breakdown of the various F-104 models from the XF-104 to
Chapter Five discusses the F-104’s internal M61 Gatling gun and the Fire Control
System. One small nit is that on the last page of the chapter, page 64, the last
sentence is clipped off in mid-stream.
Chapter Six provides short discussions of all the Nations which operated the
Chapter Seven is entitled “Modifications”. Besides covering the well-known
NF-104A Aerospace Trainer and ZELL (ZEro Launch Length) program, the F-104
design was used for testing an escape capsule design for use on high speed
aircraft, in which the entire nose section for the F-104, including the cockpit,
could be ejected in one piece in case of emergency.
Chapter Eight concludes with civilian F-104s, including the NASA birds and
privately owned aircraft such as the blue and white “Svetkoff’s Starfighters,
The book is profusely illustrated with between one and four black and white
photos or drawings on each page. In addition, the 8-page color section located
in the center of the book provides a good cross section of the various color
schemes applied to both military and civilian F-104s.
Overall, a worthwhile book for Starfighter fans.
Thanks to Karin of
Specialty Press for the review sample
Review Copyright © 2003 by
This Page Created on 30 November, 2003
Last updated 30 November, 2003
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