Turkish F-16 patrolling the skies near Ankara could be tracked online

Quite surprisingly a Turkish Air Force F-16C Block 50 could be tracked on Flightradar24.

In the morning on Jul. 16, when it was already enough clear that the military coup in Turkey had failed, at least one Turkish Air Force F-16 was circling to the west of Ankara.

We don’t know whether the TuAF F-16C Block 50 was flown by a loyalist or a “rebel” pilot supporting the takeover because, since the beginning of the revolt, reports have been contradictory as to whether the Air Force supported the coup or remained loyal to Erdogan, that had landed at Istanbul Ataturk international airport overnight.

For sure, a certain number of aircraft supported the coup: Turkish Air Force F-16s performed ultra low-level passes, at rooftop altitude, with full afterburners over Turkey’s capital Ankara during the opening hours of the takeover. These were reportedly refuelled mid-air by TuAF KC-135s launched from Incirlik airbase.

However, some F-16s remained loyal to the Government as seems to be confirmed by the fact that a Turkish Black Hawk helicopter carrying some Turkish high-ranking officers supporting the defiant military was shot down by a Viper.

Anyway, what’s really interesting is that the presence of the Turkish F-16 and its route, altitude and speed (with GS varying from 180 to 570 kts) could be monitored online thanks to Flightradar24.com via MLAT.

The aircraft, serial number 94-0086, could be first spotted around 07.45 UTC and tracked until around 09.00 UTC when it egressed the area towards the southeast (in the direction of Incirlik).

Here below is a video recording of the mission flown by the Turkish F-16.

Image and video via Flightradar24






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. This is the only place where I have heard, or can find, any mention of a blackhawk helo containing high-ranking officers shot down by anything, let alone by a viper.

    Anyone have a link to this information with some details?


  2. It’s just an “I’m here” message, for eveyone to see – if, let’s assume
    absurdly, it would’we been a putchist, it would’ve been quickly escorted
    to the nearest base, or shot down.
    I doubt the first F16s were with the coup, the show of force could’ve been very well directed at the coup military on ground, flares for any eventuality, after being screambled on short notice to take a nearer look at what’s happening below. Both factions in the air would’ve quickly escalated to a fight. Also the mad dog’s plane flew unscathed in plain fr24 view – a real trophy for any putchist F16 jockey, beside beeing the primary target of the show.
    The failure of the coup was clear the moment the sultan’s flight left hold pattern/headed towards Istanbul, and the “international community” placed itself firmly behind the government (around 0 UTC).
    Gen. Bekir Ercan, Adana İncirlik 10th Tanker Base Commander and 4 pilots arrested.

    • The rate at which they are imprisoning the “rebels” and the suspects is so high that one could think Erdogan was aware that a coup was being prepared and knew the small extent of it…he was ready and didn’t need to flee, just enterering a hold over Turkey and waiting the coup to fail in a miserable way…a good way to annihilate his enemies and the opposition now…

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