Cold War-era F-104 Starfighter For Sale For $850,000

Cold War-era F-104 Starfighter For Sale For $850,000
CF-104D 104633/N104 at Williams Gateway Airport in Mesa, Arizona. (photo via Platinum Fighter Sales)

Platinum Fighter Sales is selling a flyable cold war-era F-104 starfighter fighter jet for sale for $850,000.

The Aircraft in question is a Royal Canadian Air Force / Royal Norwegian Air Force CF-104D 104633/N104. Lockheed built the aircraft at their factory in Palmdale, California during 1961.

She was the third of 38 such two-seat trainer variants which Lockheed delivered to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), who assigned her the serial number 12633.

When the RCAF lost its independence with the merger of Canada’s military branches into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in May 1970, the remaining aircraft within the air arm underwent serial number changes; 12633 becoming 104633.

Three years later, Canada down-sized their Starfighter fleet, selling 18 of their single-seaters and four dual control CF-104Ds to Norway to supplement that nation’s existing Starfighter fleet.

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The Norwegians assigned the airframe a new serial number on July 21st, 1973, truncating her Canadian designation simply to 4633.

The aircraft became operational again in September 1973, joining No.334 Squadron of the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) at their base in Bodø.

Here the CF-104 continued to train Starfighter pilots until its formal retirement on December 9th, 1982.

In 1984, Bruce Goessling’s Combat Jet & Aerospace Museum (CJAM) of Chino, California arranged a trade for the airframe, with Lockheed C-60A Lodestar 42-55983 going to the Norwegian Armed Forces Aircraft Collection in Gardermoen in part exchange. CJAM commenced restoring the Starfighter to flying condition in Chino, placing her on the civil register as N104JR.

In 1987, Jim Robinson’s Combat Jets Flying Museum of Houston, Texas acquired the project, but continued funding the restoration out in California. They successfully completed the restoration, with the first flight taking place on November 11th, 1987 in Mojave, California, with NASA’s then-current Starfighter pilot, Ed Schneider at the controls.

The airframe changed hands again in May 1992, with the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) taking ownership.

Fuel Fresh Inc. then acquired the aircraft in April 1996, flying the two-seat fighter to her new home at Williams Gateway Airport in Mesa, Arizona, where the aircraft currently resides, albeit re-registered as N104 since August, 1999.

While the aircraft reportedly last flew in 2008, she has been maintained in flyable storage ever since.

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According to the owners, the N104 has roughly 2,500 hours on the clock, with just 200 of these having been made during the past 22 years. The engine is reportedly about halfway through its theoretically available hours since its last overhaul.

According to Platinum Fighter Sales, the aircraft’s current FAA registration lists the airframe in the Experimental Exhibition category, but they note that N104 has “pre-moratorium” guidelines, which mean it is allowed ‘on condition’ maintenance (yearly inspection under part 43 sub D) which is impossible to obtain today – thus making this airframe with its paperwork that much more desirable.

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