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#4422912 - 05/27/18 10:27 AM F-104 in Germany myths about the widowmaker  
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I hope I opened in the good section the topic.

[Linked Image]

Stats of F-104 fleet year by year (airframe loss)/(100k hour). The values are read from a column diagram which shows the (airfrmae loss)/(10k hour) therfore can be little inaccuracy in values but clearly shows the history and debunks some urban legends.

1961 - 85
1963 - 165 (!!)
1963 - 30 (what a statistical deviation...!)
1964 - 63
1965 - 87
1966 - 30
1967 - 27
1968 - 29
1969 - 20
1970 - 29
1971 - 31
1972 - 11
1973 - 18
1974 - 16
1975 - 15
1976 - 16
1977 - 15
1978 - 20
1979 - 17
1980 - 19
1981 - 17
1982 - 24 (after being below 20 for 10+ years)
1983 - 7 (!!) Was as good as initally F-16A or F-15A
1984 - 23 (again higher the 7 was only "anomaly)
1985 - 18

The trendline goes below 20/100k but it does not reach because of the end of service and some very early bad years. The calculated average for the whole service is 33,28/100k hours but the introduction of F-104G was a bad idea the jumping from F-86 to F-104 (as Hartmann said) especially as a low level strike fighter...

Average is 20/100k hours if we delete the first 5 years which was the very painful transitional period. In case only the first 3 years is deleted 25/100k is the avarge. So comparing to an F-4 and 4th gen fighters is maybe a widowmaker but comparing to Su-9 or early MiG-21s and other Soviet fighters in the era F-104G was not so a bad as many poeple think. The Soviet fighters rarely flew low level strike and they had similar or worse stat comparing to F-104G. The stats of Starfighter was acceptable after the first 10 years and was better what HUN had with MiG-21s even the best version. Germany acquired 914 F-104s and lost 292 of them. As fleet loss percentage this is also not bad comparing to Soviet jets. For ex. 1/3 or Su-9s were destroyed by engine fire and 1/3 chrashed and they were not used for 20+ years in massive scale...

Hungarian statistics.
[Linked Image]

USAF stat you can find F-4 or even older airframe for comparison.
http://www.safety.af.mil/Divisions/Aviation-Safety-Division/Aviation-Statistics/

Inline advert (2nd and 3rd post)

#4423185 - 05/28/18 10:52 PM Re: F-104 in Germany myths about the widowmaker [Re: molnibalage]  
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I recall one of the aspects was not the Low Level Strike mission, but rather a combination of very efficient blown flaps (as long as the engine was operating), small and inefficient low lift wing section otherwise, a high T-tail which had the likelihood to lock the airframe into a stall/spin. Single engine and power loss on landing or on takeoff also initially led to high fatal accident rates due to a (vaguely recalled as downward firing?) non zero-zero ejection seat (to avoid the T-tail) and one improvement was the later fitting of zero-zero ejection capability, which reduced aircrew loss.

It wasn't necessarily the accident rate, but rather the higher than normal percentage with fatality which gave it the widowmaker name.

#4423196 - 05/28/18 11:55 PM Re: F-104 in Germany myths about the widowmaker [Re: molnibalage]  
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Also, I think that it was too ambitious to make both the transition from F86 to F-104, AND the conversion of F-104 into a multirole configuration for which it was clearly not designed. In addition, the German defense ministry's disastrous PR policy - or more precisely, the attempt to keep the issue under wraps - further compounded on public perception. Last but not least, comparisons of accident rates are fine from a historical/technical/military/insurance mathematician's point of view. But such arguments are net negatives to bring up in a heated political debate. It's usually seen as a sh!tty move to tell a widow to take comfort in the thought that certain Soviet jets are even worse.
nope

#4423205 - 05/29/18 12:44 AM Re: F-104 in Germany myths about the widowmaker [Re: molnibalage]  
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Afaik, it was called widow maker because many pilots died when ejecting, the aircraft attrition rate was average, the pilot attrition was not.

#4423377 - 05/29/18 11:21 PM Re: F-104 in Germany myths about the widowmaker [Re: rollnloop.]  
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molnibalage Offline
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Originally Posted by rollnloop.
Afaik, it was called widow maker because many pilots died when ejecting, the aircraft attrition rate was average, the pilot attrition was not.

For MiG-21 familiy in HUN I have pilot fatality rate either. I will check and post it tomorrow.

#4423619 - 05/31/18 03:17 AM Re: F-104 in Germany myths about the widowmaker [Re: molnibalage]  
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My Dad was an airframe tech in Germany from 68 to 71, 72 to 82 in Cold Lake Alberta. Worked on the CF 104's.


You gotta be crazy, you gotta have a real need
You gotta sleep on your toes, and when you're on the street
You gotta be able to pick out the easy meat with your eyes closed
And then moving in silently, down wind and out of sight
You gotta strike when the moment is right without thinking
#4423639 - 05/31/18 06:07 AM Re: F-104 in Germany myths about the widowmaker [Re: molnibalage]  
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Some years ago in an aviation mag read some comments by a RCAF 104 pilot. Said if you had to think about 'punching out' it was to late.


There was only 16 squadrons of RAF fighters that used 100 octane during the BoB.
The Fw190A could not fly with the outer cannon removed.
There was no Fw190A-8s flying with the JGs in 1945.
#4424215 - 06/02/18 07:05 PM Re: F-104 in Germany myths about the widowmaker [Re: molnibalage]  
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Originally Posted by molnibalage
Originally Posted by rollnloop.
Afaik, it was called widow maker because many pilots died when ejecting, the aircraft attrition rate was average, the pilot attrition was not.

For MiG-21 familiy in HUN I have pilot fatality rate either. I will check and post it tomorrow.


32 pilots died in total from 83 ejections. 65 different variants of MiG-21s were lost.
HUN MiG-21s
32/61 = 50%

In German service, 292 of 916 Starfighters crashed, claiming the lives of 115 pilots.
GER F-104s
115/292 = 39%

If fact GER F-104Gs had better pilot attrition rate than HUN MiG-21s.

Last edited by molnibalage; 06/02/18 07:08 PM.
#4424241 - 06/02/18 10:17 PM Re: F-104 in Germany myths about the widowmaker [Re: molnibalage]  
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#4443424 - 10/12/18 01:22 PM Re: F-104 in Germany myths about the widowmaker [Re: molnibalage]  
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[Linked Image]
I found a discrepancy concerning the diagram above. Is a specific loss in 1963 while in list is 0 loss in 1963. I guess fleet was grounded (?).

http://www.916-starfighter.de/GAF_crashes.htm

Were Germany F-104s in Luke AFB for training but also was not lost any in 1963.
http://www.916-starfighter.de/GAF_crashes_Luke.htm

http://www.916-starfighter.de/GAF_winglosses.htm
Quote from the link above.

During 30 years of flying there were 1.975.646 flight hours accumulated. The average flight time per aircraft was 2.157 flight hours. A total of 292 F-104 were lost in accidents, with the tragic death of 116 pilots.
That accounts for one loss per 6.630 flying hours, which is actually a normal value according to international standards.


100000 / 6630 = 15,08 loss / 100k hours. This is far less than the average values in the specific loss diagram.

I asked about this issue the website likely they have better info than me.

Last edited by molnibalage; 10/12/18 01:23 PM.
#4443434 - 10/12/18 02:29 PM Re: F-104 in Germany myths about the widowmaker [Re: molnibalage]  
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[Linked Image]
If we accept the lost airframe list of the German site we can calculate back the flight hours of the fleet for each year. We get only 1.307.000 flight hours instead 1.975.646. This is a very huge difference. Even the 110 F-104G at Luke cannot fill the missing FG gap and their loss is not included in the list the 42 lost F-104 comes besides the 292+6 on ground the homeland losses.

Last edited by molnibalage; 10/12/18 02:29 PM.
#4443438 - 10/12/18 02:45 PM Re: F-104 in Germany myths about the widowmaker [Re: molnibalage]  
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If we use the 1.307.000 FH and 292 lost airfame the specific loss ratio is 22,32 airframe / 100k hours.
Using the specific values of each your for average calculation is bad because of the weighing effect of FH.

#4451605 - 12/03/18 04:15 PM Re: F-104 in Germany myths about the widowmaker [Re: molnibalage]  
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