Behind the Wings

The Century Series Fighter Jets

Season 3, Episode 3 of 4

In the 1950s, The Century Series defined an era of aviation during the Cold War, charting a metamorphosis from one era to another. Jets were in their infancy, and many milestones, including the sound barrier, loomed large. In an arms race with the Soviet Union, a rising superpower, the U.S. got to work developing a variety of impressive fighter jets, now known as the Century Series. Starting with the F-100, the first production airplane to break the sound barrier in level flight, we explore how the century series pioneered new airplane designs, including the aerodynamic coke bottle shape made famous by the F-102. The F-104, a missile with a man in it inspired a generation of pilots. The F-105 looked like a fighter but was a bomber in disguise. As a series, their legacy is evident in modern fighter jets.

Previously Aired

8 a.m.
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