AVIATION: The Widow-Maker

When the U.S.-designed F-104 Starfighter was adopted by the West German air force in 1961, the sophisticated warplane seemed to be the ideal craft for that country's air defense system. It was a technological marvel with a maximum speed of 1,450 m.p.h. and a reputation as the hottest fighter in America's arsenal. In West Germany, however, the Starfighter has won no encomiums; the aircraft has instead become known as the "widow-maker." In the 15 years that the Luftwaffe has been flying the F-104s, 178 have crashed, claiming the lives of 85 pilots....

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