Hobby Master HA1010 NASA Lockheed F-104N Starfighter Chase Plane - Joe Walker, XB-70 Crash, Dryden Flight Research Center, 1966 (1:72 Scale)
"First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish."
- Excerpted from President John F. Kennedy's speech delivered before a joint session of Congress, May 25th, 1961
The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter was a single-engined, high-performance, supersonic interceptor aircraft that served with the United States Air Force (USAF) from 1958 until 1967. It continued in service with the Air National Guard until it was phased out in 1975. Subsequently, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) continued to fly a small fleet. NASA F-104 aircraft flew in support of the X-15 and XB-70 projects. The F-104 continued to support the spaceflight programs until they were retired in 1995 and replaced by F/A-18 Hornets. The Starfighter was the first aircraft to hold simultaneous official world records for speed, altitude, and time-to-climb.
The F-104G version sold well amongst NATO air forces where these high-speed fighter-bomber variants continued in service with most operators until the late 1980s; the Italian Air Force examples being the last to be retired in 2004. Many air forces using F-104s eventually replaced them with the F-16 or Panavia Tornado.
This particular plane was flown by Joe Walker when the XB-70 Valkyrie crashed. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 4 inches
Length: 9 inches
Release Date: June 2008
Historical Account: "Chasers" - NASA research support aircraft are commonly called chase planes and fill the role of escort aircraft during research missions.
Chase pilots are in constant radio contact with research pilots and serve as an "extra set of eyes" to help maintain total flight safety during specific tests and maneuvers. They monitor certain events for the research pilot and are an important safety feature on all research missions.
Chase aircraft also are used as camera platforms for research missions that must be photographed or videotaped. Pictorial coverage - photos, motion pictures and videotape - is used extensively by aeronautical engineers to monitor and verify various aspects of the research project. (Courtesy: www.NASA.gov)