You’ll strap into the rear cockpit of a Lockheed
F-104 Starfighter, 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. In non-pilot terms, that’s roughly
equivalent to 36,000 horsepower, or more than the entire starting
line-up at the Daytona 500.
The raw power of the Starfighter makes it the perfect
flying platform to simulate the launch of a suborbital space plane.
(Rocket scientists refer to the space planes as RLV’s or Reusable
The F-104’s INCREDIBLE
Thrust-To-Weight ratio enables it to sustain the sort of G-Forces
that send your blood rushing to your feet and make you feel as
though a giant gorilla is sitting on your chest. A typical training
flight will expose you to a force or 5Gs or greater, a pull toward
earth equal to five or more times your bodyweight. The Starfighter’s
aerobatic ability is showcased when the jet performs a series
of parabolic arcs designed to simulate the zero-g of space.
Breaking the sound barrier is no problem for the
supersonic Starfighter. If you feel the need for speed, there’s
no need to wait for a suborbital flight. The Starfighter can out-perform
many current front line fighters, including the F-16 and F/A-18.