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BB+374 Lockheed F-104F Starfighter c/n 283-5061 - West German Air Force - Nobitz-Altenburg Airport in Germany - 19 July 2013 Fliegerhorst Wittmundhafen (ETNT)

West Germany received over the years a total of 916 Lockheed F-104 Starfighters that were operated by both the Luftwaffe and Marine. Due to the sad record of the loss of 233 aircraft with 52 fatally injured pilots, the Starfighter was scolded as widow maker "Witwenmacher". In October 1958, the Federal Republic of Germany selected the Lockheed F-104 as its primary fighter aircraft. On 6 February 1959, a formal contract was announced for 66 model 683/F-104G and 30 model 283/F-104F to be built by Lockheed at Palmdale. The F-104 Starfighter was selected to replace the outdated Republic F-84F Thunderstreak and R-84F Thunderflash; the Canadair F-86E Sabre Mk.5 and Sabre Mk.6 and the FIAT F-86K Sabre jet aircrafts in service with the Federal German Air Force (Luftwaffe der Bundesrepublik Deutschland) and the Hawker Sea Hawk Mk.100 and Mk.101 in service with the Bundesmarine (West German Navy). Over the years, Germany received a total of 916 F-104s in 4 versions, comprising 749 F/RF-104Gs, 137 TF-104Gs and 30 F-104Fs, forming the major combat and reconnaissance equipment of both the Luftwaffe and Marineflieger. The Starfighters were operational with the Luftwaffe and Marineflieger in the period February 1962 - September 1988, with its peak in the mid-1970s. After being withdrawn from operational service, a few German F-104s continued to serve with the test and evaluation unit WDT 61. This unit retired its last remaining Starfighter on 22 May 1991, bringing the flying career of the German Starfighters to an end.

On 19 July 2013, Lockheed F-104F Starfighter BB+374 of 'Flugwelt Altenburg' was seen in German Air Force colors at Altenburg Nobitz Airport, Altenburg, Thuringia.
Lockheed F-104F, s/n 283-5061, company model 483-04-08, was one of thirty F-104F aircraft destined for the WGAF ordered through the USAF in Fisical Year 1959. The airframe was built by Lockheed Aircraft Cooperation, Burbank, California. In 1960, after the assembly at Lockheed-Palmdale, the aircraft was flown first with United States Air Force serial number 59-5008. The airframe was shipped in boxes to Bremerhaven, Germany, and transported by train to Messerschmitt-Norvenich for reassembly. On 2 September 1960, the F-104F was flown first at Norvenich. On 27 September 1960, the acceptance of the airframe by BABwMTT took place. On 29 September 1960, the F-104F was delivered to WaSLw 10 (Waffenschule der Luftwaffe 10) at Norvenich AB in Silver-finish colors, coded BB+374. On 9 February 1964, WaSLw 10 was relocated from Norvenich to Jever AB. In 1968, F-104F BB+374 in service with WaSLw 10 at Jever AB was reserialed 29+11. On 14 December 1970, F-104F 29+11 was heavy damaged during an emergency landing at Soesterberg AB, Netherlands, due to a bird strike. During the landing roll the main landing gear broke off; both pilots were ok. On 14 December 1970, F-104F 29+11 was struck off charge order but should be brought back to flying condition. On 26 April 1971, F-104F 29+11 was in the process of repair to operational status when the order from MatAlw came to ground all F-104F from MatALw dated. The repair stopped and the aircraft was definitive withdrawn from use. The airframe was preserved and was mounted on a pole inside barracks coded "BB+374". In October 1997, the airframe was transported to Erding AB for complete restoration. After restoration, the F-104F returned to Kln-Wahn and was once again preserved on a pole in Kln-Wahn barracks. On 5 March 2007, the airframe was taken down from the pole and stored at Kln-Wahn. In February 2011, the airframe was transported to ed February 17, 2011 transported to Flugwelt Altenburg-Nobitz (on loan from Luftwaffenmuseum der Bundeswehr Berlin-Gatow) and preserved in Museum der Flugwelt Altenburg-Nobitz. On 22 March 2012, the restoration with landing gear down was completed.

page last updated: 29-03-2023
Copyright Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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