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FINAL FLIGHT: USAF NF-104A
Fifty-five years ago today, USAF NF-104A (S/N 56-762) crashed to destruction following a rocket-powered zoom to 101,600 feet above mean sea level (AMSL). The pilot, USAF Colonel Charles E. Chuck Yeager, was seriously injured but survived when he successfully ejected from the stricken aircraft approximately 5,000 feet above ground level (AGL). The USAF/Lockheed NF-104A was designed to provide a spaceflight-like training experience for test pilots attending the Aerospace Research Pilot School (ARPS) at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The type was a modification of the basic F-104A Starfighter aircraft. Three copies of the NF-104A were produced (S/N’s 56-0756, 56-0760 and 56-0762). It was the ultimate zoom flight platform.
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