Never underestimate the enemy: US Navy A-7 pilot recalls dogfight he had against a Danish F-104 flying low and fast

Never underestimate your enemy: US Navy A-7 pilot recalls the mock dogfight he had against a Danish F-104 flying low and fast

By Dario Leone
Apr 29 2023
Share this article

‘I had the opportunity, in the late 70’s to tangle with an F-104 (Danish) down low and going pretty fast, 400+ knots,’ former US Navy A-7 Corsair II pilot.

Known as “the missile with a man in it,” the stubby-winged Lockheed F-104 Starfighter was the first US jet fighter in service to fly Mach 2, twice the speed of sound. Designed as a high-performance day fighter, the F-104 had excellent acceleration and top speed, according to Smithsonian website. Armed with a six-barrel M-61 20mm Vulcan cannon, it served as a tactical fighter, and when equipped additionally with heat-seeking Sidewinder missiles, as a day-night interceptor.

On May 18, 1958, an F-104A set a world speed record of 1,404.19 mph, and on Dec. 14, 1959, an F-104C set a world altitude record of 103,395 feet. The Starfighter was the first aircraft to hold simultaneous official world records for speed, altitude and time-to-climb.

The Starfighter could held its own also against more modern fighters thanks to its speed and vertical climb.

The F-104 was also a capable dogfighter as David Tussey, former US Navy A-7 Corsair II pilot, recalls on Quora;

‘I had the opportunity, in the late 70’s to tangle with an F-104 (Danish) down low and going pretty fast, 400+ knots. I was flying an A-7E on an airspace penetration training mission flying from a carrier in the North Sea into Denmark.

‘As expected, I was intercepted by an F-104. I turned on him pretty aggressively. I was amazed that the F-104, not known for dogfighting, was nonetheless quite able to hang with me through several turns and reversals. The A-7E isn’t a true dogfighter, and perhaps such an engagement against a more formidable aircraft would have ended otherwise, but I was quite impressed how maneuverable the F-104 was, even down at 300′ or so.’

Tussey concludes;

‘Never underestimate the enemy.’

Photo credit: U.S. Navy and Own work RuthAS via Wikipedia

F-104G Starfighter print
This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-104G Starfighter Jagdgeschwader 71 (JG 71) “Richthofen”, JA+240, 1965

Share this article

Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. VeraX Knives says:

    Just reeks of a need to put content out instead of something worth it. Guys – don’t become the main stream media. Please.

    I ask nicely 🤣🫡

  2. 1StandardDeviation says:

    Good article. That’s a high ceiling on that aircraft.

Share this article

Share this article
Share this article

Always up to date! News and offers delivered directly to you!

Get the best aviation news, stories and features from The Aviation Geek Club in our newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox.

Error: Contact form not found.

Share this article
Back to top
My Agile Privacy
This website uses technical and profiling cookies. Clicking on "Accept" authorises all profiling cookies. Clicking on "Refuse" or the X will refuse all profiling cookies. By clicking on "Customise" you can select which profiling cookies to activate. In addition, this site installs Google Analytics in version 4 (GA4) with anonymous data transmission via proxy. By giving your consent, the data will be sent anonymously, thus protecting your privacy. We and our selected ad partners can store and/or access information on your device, such as cookies, unique identifiers, browsing data. You can always choose the specific purposes related to profiling by accessing the advertising preferences panel, and you can always withdraw your consent at any time by clicking on "Manage consent" at the bottom of the page.

List of some possible advertising permissions:

You can consult: our list of advertising partners, the Cookie Policy and the Privacy Policy.
Warning: some page functionalities could not work due to your privacy choices