West Germany: Learning to Handle The Flying Coffin

The pattern of disaster was all too familiar. An F-104G Starfighter, bearing the black formee cross of West Germany's Luftwaffe on its fuselage, was hurtling over the South German foothills toward the Alps last week when it spun out of control. The pilot managed to eject at about 1,000 ft. and landed unhurt in a tree, but his plane plummeted into the black Bavarian soil south of Augsburg. It was the 100th Luftwaffe Starfighter to crash since the Bundeswehr adopted the hot but unforgiving aircraft in 1961.

A few years ago, a series...

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