Tag Archives: F-16

The fighter jet that can fly as a cargo plane: the F-16 VISTA (Variable Stability In-Flight Simulator Test Aircraft)

Born as an in-flight simulator, the F-16 VISTA (Variable Stability In-Flight Simulator Test Aircraft) had the task to simulate the performance of the newest fighter jets.

It was built around a standard production F-16D airframe and introduced many features which a classic F-16 didn’t have.

In fact the airframe included a larger capacity hydraulic pump, a programmable center stick controlled by the digital computer installed in the front cockpit and a custom designed variable stability system which allowed the VISTA’s very different flight envelope.

The distinctive characteristic of the VISTA was that controls to manage the flight envelope were put in the back cockpit and, only after successful access they could be transferred to the front seater: this particular system set-up enabled return control to the backseater in case the front pilot faced a dangerous situation.

After VISTA made its maiden flight in April 1992 the program founds for the next two years were withdrawn.

Luckily the VISTA was resurrected by the General Electric which had the need for a program to demonstrate how the vectoring thrust could improve the F-16’s maneuverability.

The Multi-Axis Thrust Vectoring (MATV) required major modifications of the VISTA to be uninstalled, and the addition of a spin chute along with the characteristic vectoring engine nozzle.

Even if a Eurofighter Typhoon pilot explained to The Aviationist that thrust vectoring (TV) is not essential in an air-to-air scenario, it could give the pilot the advantage to point the nose against an enemy fighter controlling its aircraft beyond the stall, in a so-called “post stall” regime.

At that time, this concept was more or less theory and the task of the F-16 VISTA during the MATV program was to demonstrate the effectiveness of the thrust-vectoring during some post stall maneuvers as well as the advantage it could give to the fighter during Within Visual Range (WVR) engagements.

The results were that during the MATV program, the F-16 VISTA was able to perform the “cobra” maneuver and to prove itself extremely capable in 1 vs 1 and also in 1 vs 2 WVR engagements against two normal Vipers.

When the MATV program ended, the original VISTA features were reinstalled on this one-of-a-kind aircraft that was then delivered to the Test Pilots School at Edwards Air Force Base where it is still flying today.

Some features of this F-16 were eventually embedded in the F-35.

At Edwards, it was finally able to serve as an in-flight simulator, demonstrating to be perfect in training pilots about particular handlings.

Thanks to its centre and the side stick installed in the front cockpit the F-16 VISTA can be re-configured after the take off to fly like a delta wings aircraft, like a canards one or like a large cargo airplane.

Dario Leone for The Aviationist.

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British Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets nearly clashed with Turkish Air Force F-16s over Cyprus

According to the Cyprus-based Famagusta Gazette, the RAF Typhoons based at Akrotiri, Cyprus, to provide the air defense of the island following the Syrian crisis, nearly battled with Turkish jets in a close encounter on Sept. 2.

It looks like Turkey scrambled two F-16 fighter jets from Incirlik airbase, to intercept the British Typhoons that had allegedly violated the airspace over the occupied part of Cyprus.

According to the details collected by the Cypriot media outlet, the UK Ministry of Defence and Cyprus Defence Minister confirmed the incident, however it’s not clear whether the British planes scrambled to intercept the Turkish fighters “after radars detected suspicious flights in the area of the occupied city of Famagusta,” or viceversa.

In fact, after explaining that the RAF Typhoons were launched to investigate the suspicious activity, the article goes on reporting that “it is understood the Turkish jets took off from Incirlik air base in Turkey, in order to intercept the British planes,” and that “the British planes had returned to Akrotiri by time the Turkish jets arrived in northern Cyprus airspace.”

The dispute over the Turkish occupied northern part of Cyprus is reflected by active NOTAMs (Notice To Airmen):


NAVIGATIONAL WARNING TO ALL CONCERNED REFERENCE IS MADE TO TURKISH NOTAM A2652/05 AND WISH TO STATE THAT THE SO-CALLED ERCAN AIRPORT (LCEN) IS AN UNAUTHORISED AIRPORT OPERATING IN THE OCCUPIED BY TURKEY NORTHERN PART OF THE ISLAND OF CYPRUS (CYPRUS AIC A06/02 REFERS). CYPRUS GOVERNMENT AS THE APPROPRIATE AUTHORITY AND THE ONLY RECOGNISED GOVERNMENT HAS NEVER REGISTERED ABBREVIATION CODE LCEN WITH ICAO. THEREFORE THIS CODE AND THIS ILLEGAL AIRPORT SHOULD NOT BE USED. 24 NOV 14:30 2005 UNTIL PERM. CREATED: 24 NOV 14:53 2005

 

We will publish any further details as soon as they become available.

Image credit: Eurofighter

 

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Turkish airbase has just raised its alert status for a possible attack from Syria

Diyarbakir airbase, one of the most important airbases in Turkey, located in the southeastern part of the country, is on alert status today for a possible Syrian attack.

Tolga Ozbek, aviation editor of Hurriyet Newspaper, informed us that on Aug. 30, the alert status was increased to “orange”, a level used when threat of attack is “high”.

It is not clear whether the Turkish authorities were informed of an imminent U.S. strike on Syria or the heightened alert status is caused by intelligence data suggesting Damascus is preparing to attack Ankara.

“Today is a holiday in Turkey but F-16s still on exercise,” Ozbek told us. “Also two squadrons from Merzifon Air Force Base (151-152nd both operating with Block 50 F-16s) and 171 Squadron from Malatya (operating F-4E 2020 Terminators) came to Diyarbakır.”

Some images taken recently at the base can be found here.

Diyarbakir is a large airbase hosting  181 and 182th Filo (Squadrons) and their F-16s since 1994. Base’s aircraft have been used in combat to attack PKK positions, to force a suspect Syrian airliner crossing the Turkish airspace to land, and were scrambled to intercept Syrian aircraft near the border.

Diyarbakir is also main comand center of Turkish Air Force’s 2nd Air Force Commands which controls the easth side of Turkey.

Image credit: via Kokpit.aero

 

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Video shows F-16 using the tailhook to catch the arresting cable at Tulsa International Airport

The following video shows F-16 Fighting Falcons from the Oklahoma National Guard in Tulsa, OK, testing a newly installed barrier arresting system at the Tulsa International Airport.

Tailhook landings by land-based aircraft are used in emergency situations to arrest a plane experiencing a failure that could imply a braking malfunction.

Some drones use a similar system to be recovered by ground crews in Afghanistan.

Oklahoma ANG’s 138th Fighter Wing F-16s tested two aircraft arresting systems on Tulsa joint-use Runway 08/26 by simulating a malfunctioning aircraft on approach requiring the aircraft to engage the arresting cable at 120 knots (138 mph).

Known as BAK 12/14s, the arresting system utilizes a retractable cable support system that gives air traffic controllers the ability to raise and lower the 1 1/4-inch diameter cable below the pavement as needed.

According to Garver, a construction company involved with the project works at Tulsa, the cable system has a runout of 1,200 feet and can stop a jet traveling up to 180 knots (207 mph).

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Awesome cockpit video shows U.S. F-16 fighter jets dropping bombs, escorting B-2 (among the other things)

The following cool video brings you onboard an F-16C Block 40 of the 36th Fighter Squadron “Flying Fiends”.

Although the unit, belonging to the 51st Wing, is based at Osan airbase, not far from Seoul, in South Korea, the footage was shot while the squadron was deployed in Alaska, most probably to take part to a Red Flag-Alaska (RF-A) exercise.

The stunning GoPro footage shows the 36FS pilots performing aerial refueling, dropping bombs, flying at very low altitude as well as escorting B-2 stealth bombers.

F-16 escorting B-2

Actually, the scene filmed from the ground showing the B-2 escorted by several F-16s seems to be exactly alike the one depicted in a photo released after the “show of force” over the Korean Peninsula, when Spirit stealth bombers conducted a round trip extended deterrence mission from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri.

H/T to Antonio More’ for the heads-up

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