Here’s why F-16 pilots take the most stunning selfies. Such as this one.

Thanks to the F-16’s bubble canopy, which lacks front frames, “Viper” pilots can take the most stunning selfies among fighter jocks.

Here’s another epic self-portrait. It was taken by a Royal Norwegian Air Force pilot flying with the 332 Skv during an Exercise Cold Response 2014’s mission over Tromso fjord.

You probably remember the famous “selfie” taken by a Danish pilot while firing an AIM-9 Sidewinder.

Afghanistan AEF 2012

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

The Lockheed Martin F-16 is equipped with a large single-piece bubble canopy which features no forward bow frame. The pilot sits on an elevated 30° inclined ejection seat (to improve G tolerance) that, combined with the bubble canopy, provide what is by far considered the best 360° visibility of any combat plane in the world.

The perfect plane for cool “selfies”.

By the way, GoPro cameras have taken this kind of photographs to a completely new level.

Top image credit: RNoAF


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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. I am constantly following your great blog, but I don’t understand why there is not a single word about the biggest military aviation event of the last 15 years! Till March 23rd, 2014, there has not been a single jet fighter confirmed shot down in air to air combat since the Kosovo War! So much about training and “peace time” military aviation like this “selfie” thing, but when the big thing happens, when a military pilot achieves the dream of every military pilot in the world, you do not spend a single word?

    • Most of times it’s only a matter of time :)
      I’ve spent some words on Twitter, didn’t have the time to write a specific post on this.

  2. It’s a myth that the F-16s seat is inclined 30-degrees for better G-tolerance. Inclining the seat 30-degrees was a quick solution to an embarrassing error when the jet was being developed. Just before initial flight testing, it was discovered that the canopy couldn’t fully close without hitting the seat. General Dynamics had to come up with a solution quickly to avoid delay in the program. So they quickly inclined to seat 30-degrees to make it fit and said that it was for better G-tolerance for PR reasons. Later aircraft do not incline the seat as much as the F-16, so GD’s explanation is very dubious and it’s a myth that lives on today.

    • Doesn’t the inclined seat approach to fighter design, increase occurances of neck issues/problems for pilots?

      (That’s what I’ve read from people who claim to be former F-16 pilots, but I’m not sure if that’s actually true.)

  3. The great visibility of the F-16’s bubble canopy also has some drawbacks. I’ve read anywhere that the construction without bow forced the canopy to be thicker, and that it also produced some reflections other canopies don’t have. Anyway, great plane, and awesome selfies! :)

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