A TF-104 Starfighter Has Flown Again In Italy After Almost 20 Years

A TF-104 Starfighter Has Flown Again In Italy After Almost 20 Years


The TF-104 “Black Magnificence” N991SF throughout its second flight in Italy on Jun. 12, 2023. (Picture credit score: Alessandro Fucito)

The TF-104 of Starfighters Aerospace was ferried to Grosseto Air Base to participate within the airshow for the one hundredth anniversary of the Italian Air Power this week.

After almost 20 years since its retirement in 2004, an F-104 Starfighter flew once more at present in Italy at Grosseto Air Base on Jun. 12, 2023. The plane, which now belongs to Starfighters Aerospace and sports activities the FAA serial N991SF, is the previous Italian Air Power TF-104G-M that operated for greater than 30 years as MM54258 with the 20° Gruppo (Squadron), the Italian F-104 OCU (Operational Conversion Unit) based mostly at Grosseto.

The jet, dubbed “Black Beauty” because of its stunning black paintjob, is without doubt one of the seven F-104s owned by the Starfighters Aerospace, of which 4 are at the moment airworthy, and based mostly at NASA’s Kennedy House Heart for use for analysis and growth flights. Its return in Italy was lengthy awaited since its participation to the airshow for the one hundredth anniversary of the Italian Air Power was first introduced.

The airshow, which is able to run this week on June 17 and 18, will retrace the historical past of the Aeronautica Militare, with many historic plane concerned in static and flight shows. Amongst these are the TF-104 “Black Magnificence” and Caproni Ca.3, the world’s solely airworthy WWI bomber reproduction, which returned to flight last week.

The Black Magnificence takes off in clear configuration. (Picture credit score: Alessandro Fucito)

The TF-104 was disassembled and transported aboard a ItAF C-130J to Grosseto, the place it arrived on June 3. Works instantly began to reassemble the plane, which is at the moment in a clear configuration with out wingtip tanks, and a primary engine run was carried out on June 10. This morning, at about 10:40 native time, the TF-104 flew once more for the primary time on Italian soil, with a number of aviation fanatics within the fields close to the air base prepared ready for the historic occasion.

Rick Svetkoff (President and CEO of Starfighters Aerospace), Col. Filippo Monti (Commander of the 4° Stormo) and Piercarlo Ciacchi (Director of Flight Operations at Starfighters Aerospace) pose collectively after the primary flight of the TF-104. (Picture: Italian Air Power)

The plane, piloted by Piercarlo “Capone” Ciacchi, Director of Flight Operations at Starfighters Aerospace, and Rick Svetkoff, President and CEO of Starfighters Aerospace, flew once more this afternoon, with the 4° Stormo internet hosting photographers and fanatics for the event. The significance of the occasion for the Italian aviation neighborhood is such that the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Power) and the 4° Stormo (Wing) hosted a spotter day within the afternoon, throughout which many photographers might take some photos of the Starfighter.

The TF-104 on touchdown at Grosseto (Picture credit score: Alessandro Fucito)

However the surprises should not over but, as one other historic Italian plane is ready to fly once more for the primary time since its retirement in 1992: the Fiat G-91R, restored by Renzo Catellani and his group. Catellani isn’t new at this, as he purchased and delivered to airworthy standing a number of Italian Air Power plane. The primary one was the MB-326E, the “father” of the present MB-339, which returned to flight in 2012, and the prototype of its armed single seat variant, the MB-326K, which returned to flight in 2019.

Stefano D’Urso is a contract journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based mostly in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he is additionally learning to attain a Grasp Diploma in Aerospace Engineering. Digital Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT methods utilized to the world of navy operations and present conflicts are amongst his areas of experience.


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