TF-104G 27+98 WaSLw 10 Jever in 1983

The history of the picture:
In September 1983 two Alpha-Jet pilots from Fürstenfeldbruck came to Jever,
because they wanted to photograph a F-104 "going straight down". Wing Commander Col Klaffenbach gave the approval.
First we thought "NO problem, let's do a Loop". One pilot to fly formation beside the F-104 and the other on to make the photos.
Forget it, with 4-5 G the automatic shutter of the camera quits.
And even more amazing: With the first attempt with a clean F-104 (because it looks more beautiful)
we had to recognize that the "Alphi", the 104 being in idle on the way down, overtook the 104!
"Slicky" little bastard - less drag than a clean F-104! That didn't work.
We thought about it after this first attempt and decided for the tip tank configuration because the entire drag, according to index charts, is higher (10 versus 0),
however because the induced drag is reduced by the tips, it would work out this time. Therefore a second attempt with a TF-104G trainer. And it worked!
But because of the Loop history we had to modify the maneuver.
We planned the following maneuver: Start at approximately 15.000 feet with 450 kts - power idle - pull UP straight,
at approx. 20000 ft start to reverse to vertical down, top out at 26 000 feet' with 100 KIAS with the nose already in the down position,
now speedys out, power idle and keep the nose down by pushing forward to 0 G (and hope the engines holds on); now we had 4 to 5 sec to take the pictures!!!
After 6 to 8 seconds speed is up to .96 Mach, altitude approx. 9.000 feet still going straight down. Start feeding in power and pull out with 5-6 G's and recovery at 2.500 feet
(hairy !!! tops of underlying clouds: 1000 ft, colourstate in Jever "Ramber" with 200 feet ceiling).
As you can see not completely straight down. But we almost did it. I estimate approximately 85 degrees down. But we had FUN!

by Eugen Antoniak, F-104 IP at Jever AB in 1983

copyright © Eugen Antoniak

Back to the TF-104G history page