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F-104 Starfighter: Need for Speed

By 1952, Kelly Johnson, who was the chief engineer at Lockheed Skunk Works, had drafted over 100 aircraft proposals, ranging from relatively small designs to large 20-ton beasts. In order to find the optimal configuration for their new plane, he and his team made more than 400 launches testing different wing types and tail units. One of the resulting designs, the L-246, eventually became the progenitor of the whole F-104 series.

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