Inverted over the enemy: Mirage 2000 intercepts F-16 upside down

The first thing the image in this post reminded us is the famous scene of Top Gun (when Maverick turns its F-14 Tomcat upside down to give the finger to a Soviet Mig pilot) and the subsequent talk with “Charlie”:


C: “So, where exactly were you?”

M: “We started up on his six when he pulled through the clouds. I went above him.”

C: “If you were directly above him, how could you see him?”

M: “Because I was inverted.”


The photo was taken by a pilot of a French Air Force Mirage 2000-5F pilot during a training intercept on a Belgian Air Force F-16AM.

Most probably, the Belgian “Viper” did not react at all to the simulated attack by the French fighter jet belonging to the Groupe de Chasse 1/2 Cigognes (that posted the image on their Facebook page): every now and then, NATO and allied air forces take the opportunity to practice interception on military traffic transiting through their airspace of responsibility that agrees to be intercepted for training purposes.

Such close encounters terminate with the identification of the “zombie” and no simulated dogfight takes place, as the “enemy” plane is not involved in any exercise but is simply flying as a General Air Traffic.

Image credit: EC 1/2 French Air Force

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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Official statement from 1/2 Cigognes :

    la photo publiée récemment au sujet de l’interception d’un F-16 belge
    en transit au-dessus du territoire national, nous avons lu sur le Net
    quelques commentaires ou explications assez farfelues.
    Pour être clair et ne pas mettre en
    doute le professionnalisme des pilotes du 1/2, non, il ne s’agissait
    pas d’une manœuvre « à la Maverick » consistant à venir se placer
    au-dessus du F-16. Ce dernier avait déjà été intercepté en procédure
    normale et avec son accord et l’avion de la PO était dans son aile comme
    il le fait pour n’importe quelle patrouille. Le pilote du -5, comme il
    arrive régulièrement dans cette configuration, a simplement procédé à un
    changement d’aile rapide par l’utilisation d’une figure de voltige
    basique appelée « barrique » qui le fait passer au-dessus du leader, ici
    le F-16, de la droite vers la gauche. C’est l’instant du sommet de la
    barrique qui était capturée par la photographie. Pour vous en
    convaincre, voici la deuxième partie de la barrique telle qu’elle s’est

  2. @David Cenciotti: Better write nothing than such BS. Maybe, just post the picture and nothing more…

    • Mon ami,
      Where’s the BS? I just posted facts and wrote that the first thing the image reminded me (and several thousand readers) is a scene from a movie. It seemed quite clear to the majority of the readers that referring to Top Gun was hilarious and the fact the FAF did feel the need to clarify the event when it was just joke makes it suspect…

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