I saw this plane at the SeaTac Airport and thought it was very unusual. The wings look too small to even be functional to me. What kind of plane is this and what is it used for?

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ That's my plane, look you can see me in the cockpit. When the ceiling is too low to fly I can fold the wings and drive down the highway! $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 14:10
  • $\begingroup$ It's the little-known passenger version of the F-104 Starfighter. That thing sticking out of the front is a landing skid. $\endgroup$
    – Horse Mat
    Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 15:09
  • $\begingroup$ A rare variant without the AWACS dome. Had issues with fine yaw control authority. $\endgroup$
    – Wossname
    Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 20:08

2 Answers 2


There is a big clue right underneath the "Sea-Tac Airport" decal - it says


It can be seen a little better on this image

source: wikimedia commons

It is a rig used for fire and evacuation training.

A unique tool the department uses is an aircraft mock-up designed for aircraft approach, entry and tactics training on the airfield. The smoke generated is not harmful to the environment and provides a realistic challenge. source: https://www.portseattle.org/page/training

The image below appears to show it in use:

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    $\begingroup$ ie : It's not an airplane at all. $\endgroup$
    – J...
    Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 12:11
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    $\begingroup$ @J... yes it is -- just one that can't fly. Ya know, like the emu of aircraft :-) $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 12:28
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    $\begingroup$ a vehicle designed for air travel that has wings and one or more engines - so strictly speaking, it is not an aeroplane. $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 12:48
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    $\begingroup$ In what sense is this a "unique tool"? Most airports have a plane or mock-up plane used to train fire crews, don't they? $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 17:49
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    $\begingroup$ @Fattie so there are wings in the way when doing training, but it doesn't take up as much space the rest of the time. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 21:19

According to this forum post about a Funny Looking SEATAC Plane it's a (fake) firefighter training plane.


On 9/30 taxing north from SEA to ORD there was a funny looking tri-jet plane marked with Seattle Tacoma Airport hanging out by the Alaska Airlines cargo area. Wings folded up. Anyone know anything about this plane or its purpose?


Yeah, it's the firefighter training plane . You hear pilots asking ATC what it is occasionally.

Here's a picture I found on flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/smartjunco/331183916/


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