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13 Facts About The F-16 Fighting Falcon

It's fast. It's maneuverable. And it's one of the most successful fighter jets built in the past 40 years.


1) The F-16's first flight was in 1974. Richard Nixon was president in the same year.

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2) Most military pilots refer to the F-16 as the "Viper", because of its similarities to the head of the snake.

Wikipedia

3) Over 4,500 F-16s have been built.

USAF

4) The F-16 was developed out of the lightweight fighter program. At the time, the F-15 was in production, but the Air Force knew it was too expensive to fill all their roles. The smaller, less expensive F-16 was the answer.

USAF

5) The F-16 was the first fighter jet to use a side-mounted control stick. The stick lets pilots rest their arm while flying, giving them better control of the jet in high-G maneuvers.

Wikipedia

6) The F-16 also was the first fighter jet to have a frameless bubble canopy, giving pilots a 40 degree look-down angle over the sides, and a 15 degree look-down angle over the nose.

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7) The F-16 was the first fighter built to pull 9-Gs, and it was aerodynamically designed to reduce energy loss during high-G maneuvers.

USAF

8) Its fly-by-wire flight control system was the first of its kind. Since the jet was designed with relaxed static stability, the fly-by-wire system keeps the jet highly maneuverable, while at the same time keeping it pointed in the direction the pilot wants to go.

USAF

9) The F-16 is relatively easy to service as well. 80% of the access panels can be opened without using a ladder or stand.

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10) The F-16 was one of the first aircraft to utilize vortex lift at high angles-of-attack. The fuselage flares out ahead of the wing root, creating a small lifting surface.

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11) The wing has a variable camber that is automatically controlled by the fly-by-wire system, significantly increasing maneuverability in highly-variable flight conditions.

hawk97north

12) The US Air Force is no longer purchasing them, but they are still being built for foreign militaries.

Wikipedia

13) With its high thrust-to-weight ratio, extreme maneuverability, and pilot ergonomics and visibility, the F-16 has been one of the most respected - and feared - fighter aircraft of the past 40 years.

USAF

Colin Cutler

Colin is a Boldmethod co-founder, pilot and graphic artist. He's been a flight instructor at the University of North Dakota, an airline pilot on the CRJ-200, and has directed development of numerous commercial and military training systems. You can reach him at colin@boldmethod.com.

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