KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Florida – Licensed pilots now have direct access to F-104 flight training reservations through an online reservation process.
This follows Starfighters Aerospace’s recent authorization from the FAA that opens the skies above NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) for pilot training in the legendary supersonic aircraft.
An FAA Letter of Deviation Authority (LODA) allows licensed pilots to receive type-specific training in the same “right-stuff” jets used for decades to prepare NASA astronauts for spaceflight and to conduct aeronautical research, company officials said.
“Flying the F-104 has been a dream of countless aviation and aerospace enthusiasts since the aircraft entered service during the Cold War,” said Starfighters President and Chief Pilot Rick Svetkoff. “We’re pleased now to be able to offer easier access to civilian training for licensed pilots under our FAA LODA.”
Pilots receive pre-flight syllabus-based training at Starfighters’ hangar at the former Space Shuttle runway, ending with one or more checkout flights in the restricted airspace above the spaceport.
This limited-access training covers the fundamentals of flying the F-104 and is designed to enhance confidence and flight safety, company officials note.
The amount of time it takes to complete the basic training and aircraft familiarization (TRA1) will vary by pilot. The price for training with a single checkout flight is $17,900.
Designed in the 1950s by Kelly Johnson at Lockheed, the F-104 can operate at speeds in excess of Mach 2 and holds the current altitude record of 31.6 kilometers. It was the first aircraft to simultaneously hold the world speed and altitude records.
Its brute-force capabilities made the F-104 a go-to aircraft for NASA astronaut training in the 1960s. Starfighters’ fleet features some of the latest production F-104 jets, manufactured in the 1980s and maintained by Starfighters Aerospace’s FAA certified ground crew.
Licensed pilots interested in reserving F-104 flight training can apply by visiting Starfighters Aerospace at www.starfighterstore.com.