Former Italian Air Force F-104S returns to skies

Starfighters F104S returns skies
Piercarlo "Capone" Ciacchi, Director of Flight Operations at Starfighters, sits inside the cockpit of the F-104S ASA-M at the end of the first flight.

A former Italian Air Force F-104S ASA-M supersonic aircraft returned to the skies in Florida on April 27, 2023 after extensive maintenance work that lasted 12 years. The Starfighters Aerospace-owned jet took off at 11.30am LT from Cape Canaveral Airport, Florida, to conduct a 16-minute test flight. According to Rick Svetkoff, founder of Starfighters Aerospace, the flight was successful.

"First Flight for Lockheed F-104S-ASAM after great effort and ground tests! Epic day!
Congrats to the whole team, not easy task, first flight was FLAWLESS!," Starfighters Aerospace said.

The aircraft was manufactured in Italy by FIAT Aviazione and was delivered to the Italian Air Force on 20 October 1970 as F-104S (Military Serial Number 6734, CN/SN 783-1034). It was later converted to F-104S ASA in 1990 and to F-104S ASA-M in 1997. It operated in various Wings of the Italian Air Force before moving to the Reparto Sperimentale Volo (Flight Test Wing) where it completed its last flight in July 2005. It was then sold and delivered to Starfighters Inc. in 2011. It is currently registered in the United States as N993SF.

The reborn F-104S ASA-M has already been included in an intense NASA flight activity program.

Starfighters F104S returns skies

Starfighters operates the world's only fleet of flight-ready F-104 supersonic aircraft. Based at NASA's Kennedy Space Center and operating under authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration, these aircraft are available to government and commercial customers for a variety of missions. Starfighters' fleet features some of the latest production F-104 jets, obtained from Italian Air Force along with an inventory of spare parts and support equipment.

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Written by Matteo Sanzani
Imges: Starfighters Aerospace

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