Aviation - Avions NASA-Prototypes
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Two F-104Ns in flight over the desert in 1970. NASA accepted three specially built F-104s in late 1963 for use as pilot proficiency aircraft, low lift over drag trainers, and chase planes. These received the designation ''F-104N.'' The lead aircraft in the photo, N811NA, was delivered on August 19, 1963. The trailing aircraft, N812NA, appeared at the Flight Research Center (now the Dryden Flight Research Center) on September 30, 1963. The third F-104N (number N813NA) arrived on October 22, 1963, but was lost on June 8, 1966 in the collision with the XB-70 #2. Research pilot Joe Walker died in the accident. The surviving F-104Ns served for more then two decades. N811NA flew for the last time in October 1990, after a total of 4,370 flights. N812NA was retired in January 1987, after 4,442 flights. N813NA had made 409 flight at the time it was lost.