F-104 Flight Training Program


Learn to fly the “missile with a man in it” – the first aircraft to simultaneously hold the world speed and altitude records; experience g forces similar to a space launch.


LOCATION: Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA
DURATION: 3-4 Days
AVAILABILITY: Available now


The F-104 was designed in the 1950s by Kelly Johnson at Lockheed, and operated by the U.S. Air Force, NASA, and over a dozen foreign air services before its retirement from government service in 2005. The F-104 was the first production aircraft to reach a speed of Mach 2, and the first aircraft to reach an altitude of 100,000 feet after taking off under its own power. As such, it was the first aircraft to simultaneously hold the world speed and altitude records. The F-104 was a “go-to” aircraft for NASA astronaut training in the 1960s because of its brute-force flight capabilities, gaining the nickname “missile with a man in it”. The private flight training program will proceed as follows.

DAY 1:
Arrive at NASA Kennedy Space Center
8:30am - check in and receive security clearance badge at NASA Badging Facility
Arrive at reusable launch vehicle (RLV) hangar, Shuttle Landing Facility, home of Starfighters Aerospace
Aircrew flight equipment fitting and operation
Egress / ejection seat training
Parachute (PARASIM™) hanging harness training
Life raft / water survival training
High altitude flight academics
Flight physiology practical demonstrations
High performance aircraft aerodynamics and flight envelopes
Lockheed F-104
cockpit familiarization
ground safety procedures
in-flight safety procedures
pre-flight procedures
flight profile review
in-flight procedures
landing and post-flight procedures
ground and in-flight emergency procedures
Airspace review and local area need-to-know items

Day 1 training ends around 4:00pm

DAY 2:
8:30am - arrive at RLV hangar, Shuttle Landing Facility, Home of Starfighters Aerospace
Lockheed F-104 knowledge test
F-104 cockpit familiarization
Pre-flight briefing
Flight preparations
Lockheed F-104 flight ops - TRA-1 Flight
Flight duration is approx. 35-50 minutes, depending on profiles, and usually ends at approx. 1:00pm. Additional same-day flights are possible.
Post-flight Debriefing
Graduation ceremony for TRA-1 Flight

DAY 3 and / or 4:
Available for weather or launch backup or additional training flights.
If weather or operational delays persist, later dates will be arranged at no additional expense.


Sponsorship: Sponsor an individual or group experience.


Participants must meet the following basic requirements:
• Minimum private pilot's license (PPL)
• Valid flight medical
• Height and weight limitations
◦ Maximum weight: 245lbs (110kg)
◦ Maximum height: 6'5" (201cm)
◦ Maximum chest: 52" (132cm)
◦ Maximum waist 48" (122cm)
• Physically demonstrate a 35-40lb (15-18kg) pull
• Minimum 18 years of age
• Qualify for access badging to NASA Kennedy Space Center
• Sign a release-of-liability agreement

Note: In some cases, certain NASA or Federal/National Defense operations within the restricted areas used by Starfighters may prevent Starfighters operations with little or no notice. Starfighters Aerospace has no authority if these last minute operations are required for security, emergency, or other exceptional reasons. If such an event occurs after a Training Session is booked with Starfighters Aerospace, the session will be rescheduled at no expense. Starfighters Aerospace will not be responsible for additional expenses that may occur in such events.The Lockheed F-104 Initial Training Program (TRA-1) includes the following:

• NASA badging process
• KSC escorting
◦ Trainee family or other guests aged 18 and older may attend from Day 2 and on, provided that they have completed the same security paperwork as the trainee
• Flight gear, including but not limited to:
◦ Nomex flight suit
◦ Flight helmet
◦ Oxygen mask
◦ Life vest
◦ Anti-G suit
◦ Flight boots (some limitations may apply for unusual sizes)
◦ Flight gloves
• Ground training at the shuttle landing facility
• TRA-1 flight profile with take-off and landing from the shuttle landing facility
• Restricted airspace coordination / reservation
• Light snacks and fresh water
• Two (2) full operation days at Kennedy Space Center
• Additional 3rd day of operation as backup for any technical / weather / airspace needs
• An additional day if necessary to accomplish TRA-1 flight in case of other limitations
• Lockheed F-104 training certificate


The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter is the highest performance, single-engine jet fighter ever made. The F-104 is powered by a single General Electric J79-GE-11A engine capable of generating in excess of 17,000 lbs of thrust and exceeding Mach 2. For perspective, that’s roughly equivalent to 36,000 horsepower, or more than the entire starting line-up at the Daytona 500.

The F-104 secured a place in aviation history by setting speed and altitude records, serving as a trainer for NASA’s Mercury and Apollo astronauts, and as a multi-role international military warbird. The Starfighter can outperform many current front-line fighters, including the F-16 and F/A-18.

The raw power of the Starfighter makes it an ideal aircraft to simulate the ascent and descent profiles of proposed reusable space planes. The F-104’s incredible thrust-to weight ratio enables it to sustain the sort of high G-Forces experienced during a space launch.