The aircraft: Lockheed F-104 Starfighter.

The pilot: Bill Ongena — Belgian Air Force master and member of their national aerobatic display team.

The maneuver: Touch-Roll-Touch, on the same runway. A move so dangerous and deadly that very few pilots ever attempted it — especially in a F-104 Starfighter (aka the “Missile with a Man in It”) an aircraft not at all known for its low-speed handling. Most of the pilots who did try it? They died in the process.

If you still don’t believe all the hype/risk, just listen to these master pilots talk about it.

First, Ferry Van Der Geest:

This famous touch-roll-touch was only performed in Belgium (note: apparently an American pilot died trying it and other pilots from other air forces did it or died trying to do it as well), one day a pilot had an afterburner (AB) blow-out and he crashed on the second touch, killing himself in the process. It is an extremely dangerous maneuver with no room for error whatsoever. The average touchdown speed is at around 175 knots and the use of AB is totally mandatory. So far no one has ever did something like this afterwards.

And Wolfgang Czaia:

This one shows Belgian Air Force pilot Bill Ongena doing the so-called ‘Touch-Roll-Touch’, but other pilots of other air forces have done it as well. He approaches the runway with gear and take-off flaps extended, touches down briefly, applies full power and pulls up to about 50 feet while initiating a roll on his upward trajectory. Then comes a power reduction, possibly speed brake extension to slow down, and descent to another touch-and-go. With the landing gear down, full aileron travel (20°) is available, producing a sufficiently good rate to complete a 360° roll without the nose dropping dangerously low. (With landing gear up, the aileron throw is only 10°). It was strictly a “show” maneuver to demonstrate the controllability of the airplane, and had no practical application. After Belgian pilot Jacobs was killed during a practice flight, the maneuver was prohibited.

So, yeah. Be amazed. Be very amazed.

Foxtrot Alpha