General Dynamics F-16
1974
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General Dynamics F-16

The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon seems likely to be the most important fighter in the West for the remainder of the century. Yet it took to the air for the first time by accident. On 20 January 1974, pilot Phil Oestricher was having difficulty in taxi trials of the first YF-16 at Edwards AFB and, rather than make an abrupt and risky halt, took off and flew the aircraft for six minutes.

Designed in 1971 for the USAF's lightweight fighter competition (LWF), the two YF-16 prototypes won out over the Northrop YF-17 in a fly-off contest. If not as lightweight as once envisaged, grossing the scales at 16057kg, the F-16A production fighter and its two-seat F-16B derivative clearly had great stretching potential for future development. On 7 June 1975, in what was called the 'deal of the century', it was announced that the F-16 had been chosen by Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway to re-equip their air forces. Though these NATO air arms were always seen as the prime customers for the type, subsequent foreign purchasers have included Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Israel, South Korea, Pakistan, Thailand, Turkey and Venezuela.

First deliveries to the USAF reached the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Hill AFB, Utah, on 6 January 1979 and its first overseas unit, the 8th TFW at Kunsan AB, South Korea, on 1 November 1980. The first USAF unit in Europe to re-equip with Fighting Falcons was the 50th TFW at Hahn AB, West Germany on 1 December 1981.

As part of a major policy decision to upgrade the equipment operated by second-line units, the F-16 has already reached the South Carolina Air National Guard, deliveries beginning in mid-1983, followed by other ANG units, as the aircraft were replaced in USAF by later models.

Characterised by a pointed nose and low-slung inlet for its 10814kg afterburning thrust Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-200 turbofan, the F-16 has swept wings which are blended into the fuselage, saving weight, increasing lift at high angles of attack and reducing drag in the transonic speed range. Moveable leading-and trailing-edge flaps, controlled automatically by the aircraft's speed and attitude, enable the wing to assume an optimum configuration for lift under all conditions of flight. All flying controls are operated by a 'fly-by-wire' electronic system.

Variants of the Fighting Falcon include the F-16/79, a company-financed F-16 powered by a lower-cost 8165kg thrust General Electric J79-GE-119 afterburning turbojet engine. First flown 29 October 1980 and extant in F-16/79A (single-seat) and F-16/79B (two-seat) versions, the craft is intended as a reduced-cost export machine. The F-16/101 was a similarly re-engined example powered by a 12701kg thrust General Electric F101 turbojet of the same type as that which powers the Rockwell B-1 bomber. This machine first flew 19 December 1980 and its evaluation has now been concluded.

The F-16XL is a company-funded development with a new highly-swept 'cranked-arrow' wing with an area more than 120 per cent greater than standard, and a lengthened fuselage to increase internal fuel capacity by 82 per cent. This doubles the capacity for underwing ordnance. The prototype F-16XL was flown on 3 July 1980. The F-16E is a proposed production variant.

The F-16C (single-seat) and F-16D (two-seat) are improved versions of the F-16A and F-16B and have replaced them on General Dynamics' Fort Worth production line by early 1985. The F-16R is a reconnaissance version with an underfuselage pod, and the F-16N is an 'Aggressor' version for the US Navy.

General Dynamics F-16


Specification 
 CREW1
 ENGINE1 x P+W F-100-PW-100, 112.1kN
 WEIGHTS
    Take-off weight9780-15000 kg21561 - 33070 lb
    Empty weight6330 kg13955 lb
 DIMENSIONS
    Wingspan9.3 m31 ft 6 in
    Length14.4 m47 ft 3 in
    Height5.0 m16 ft 5 in
    Wing area26.0 m2279.86 sq ft
 PERFORMANCE
    Max. speedM1.2 M1.2
    Ceiling19000 m62350 ft
    Range w/max.fuel3200 km1988 miles
    Range w/max.payload500 km311 miles
 ARMAMENT1 x 20mm machine-guns, 5000kg of bombs or missiles

3-View 
General Dynamics F-16A three-view drawing (1653 x 1215)

Comments1-20 21-40
sven, 20.09.2013

The 'missing'u/c gear is normal practice .It allows a view of the stbd ventral fin that would otherwise be obscured. since the aircraft is roughly symetrical you have all the info you may need

sven, 20.09.2013

The 'missing'u/c gear is normal practice .It allows a view of the stbd ventral fin that would otherwise be obscured. since the aircraft is roughly symetrical you have all the info you may need

JetRep, me=me.com, 20.09.2013

Hey, Did anyone notice that one of the main landing gear is missing in the line drawing... strange to post a drawing that was incomplete....

Herb Hutchinson, herbineer=aol.com, 13.03.2013

I was the USAF Chief System Engr for the Lightweight Fighter Program (General Dynamics YF-16 and Northrop YF-17), and stayed on to become the Chief System Engr for the F-16As and F-16Bs. Some of the information in the basic write-up for the F-16 and its variants is incorrect but a number of you have sent in corrections so I won't repeat all that. If any of you ever want to have me come to a meeting of your F-16 devotees (or F/A-18 devotees which was derived from the Northrop YF-17 design) I would be glad to come and tell you some hair-raising incidents in the LWF Program and the REAL reason the YF-16 was chosen by the USAF over the YF-17. I totally agree with those of you who think the F-16 was/is a great multi-mission aircraft - a lot of careful thinking and planning went into it becoming the awesome flight system it is.

Lauren Eastwood, lauren044=yahoo.com, 01.12.2012

First saw the F-16A/B at Hill AFB, Utah in late 77 to July 77 while assigned to FTD 533. There were two of us instructors, once I learned the hyrdaulic system I was assinged to the 311th FTD at McDill AFB, Florida Aug 79 to May 83. The hysraulic system was faily easy to work on, hardest to change were the flight control actuators.

GARY BEDINGER, 13.10.2012

MY FATHER TOOK ME OUT TO THE FLIGHT LINE AT GENERAL DYNAMICS WHICH WAS IN FT.WORTH,TEXAS WAY BACK IN 1973 WHEN I WAS NINE YEARS OLD TO SEE ONE OF THE VERY FIRST YF-16 PROTOTYPE JETS FLY.I REMEMBER THE TEST PILOT WAS COMING IN FOR A LANDING AT THE VERY END OF HIS FLIGHT IN THE YF-16,AND THE MAIN LANDING GEAR WOULDN'T COME DOWN PROPERLY.THE PILOT IN THE YF-16 HAD TO GLIDE THE YF-16 IN FOR A LANDING ON THE SIDE OF THE MAIN RUNWAY AT CARSWELL AIR FORCE BASE IN FT.WORTH,TEXAS.ALL OF THIS WAS CAUGHT ON THE EVENING NEWS.THE F-16 HAS TURNED OUT TO BE AN EXCELLENT LIGHT WEIGHT TACTICAL FIGHTER.

Lewis Godfrey, falconfixr=sbcglobal.net, 19.08.2011

My first encounter with this airframe was when I was assigned to the 63 AMU, 4456 AGS at MacDill AFB, Fl from Sep 1984 to May 1985. I was on my last enlistment in the active duty Air Force and was headed to the Reserves afterwards. I worked as a Weapons Loading Crew Chief on F-16A/B, Block 10 & 15 models. We were mainly a training unit for new F-16 pilots.

Naga, 01.08.2011

I was surprised when America reequipped the Jordanians with the F-16

Tom, steelertom61=gmail.com, 17.05.2011

The XL was a version the USAF should have purchased, just like the AFTI. Awesome aircraft. Neither made it beyound testing such a shame

Tom Shafer, steelertom61=gmail.com, 16.05.2011

The F-16 NEVER was equipped with a 101 turbofan from the B-1. The B-1 motor was way too large for that airframe. It was equipped with a F110-GE-100 turbofan, and later block aircraft with the -129 General electric engines

Larry "L/D Max" Danner, viperpilot1=earthlink.net, 12.12.2010

Actually, the initial crashes were primarily engine related for a number of reasons (including the one I jumped out of). The Flight Control Computer issue reared it's head after a couple years of operation. Since then, the crashes have been due to a scattering of causes; as with any military aircraft.

Regards to all,

L/D Max
IOC Viper Pilot #26

Ron Moore, Gunman1f16=aol.com, 27.10.2010

The early crashes weren't due to the stick freezing... It didn't move anyway! They happened because when a generator failed and the emergency power unit would overspeed and produce too much voltage to the flight control computer. It would shut down and command the elevator to the zero volt or null position which, depending on airspeed, would result in a pitching the nose down, sometimes in excess of 20 G's. The problem was resolved by adding additional speed controllers and eventually, an additional generator.

Chuck Raybon, Raybon1=bellsouth.net, 01.10.2010

I worked as a weapons specialist on these when they replaced the F4 in Tampa Florida. They were great to work on while the bugs were getting worked out. They were all grounded for a while when they had to figure out why the stick would go dead and crash into the ground with pilot. A couple of them were smart enough to punch out and a couple weren't you can't fight a stick with no cables attached to it. Still a great aircraft and was fun to work on.

Steve, steveg=abkj.com, 18.12.2009

The fighters of the '70s essentially corrected the faults of the fighters of the '50s: What are the F-15 and F-16 but the F-101 and F-104 with adequate wing area and the horizontal tail in the right place?

paul scott, psmiddx=yahoo.com, 18.08.2009

One of the world beaters no doubt. America got it right, with a simplistic effective fighter. Today's Mustang? I think when they originally unrolled it they quoted it as today's Spitfire.

paul scott, psmiddx=yahoo.com, 18.08.2009

One of the world beaters no doubt. America got it right, with a simplistic effective fighter. Today's Mustang? I think when they originally unrolled it they quoted it as today's Spitfire.

Luis, luisloenzo97=yahoo.co.uk, 06.09.2008

It is a simple design, not too high tech or anything, so it is my favorite of all modern fighters...

Ben Thurston, batatcret=bellsouth.net, 18.08.2008

On Friday the 13th of November, 1992, I had the pleasure of flying a F-16D at Shaw AFB as part of aircraft orientation in order to develop "train like we fight" procedures to be used in Bulldog MOA, these procedures were from lessons learned from the desert war.

justin sheehan, 14.07.2008

the nax speed of this aircraft is mach 2.2 not 1.2.

stephen russell, stephenrusell=sbcglobal.net, 16.06.2008

Love 2 fly in the 2 place model they made.
Now that plane is Decomm, what to do with those spare F16s (minus guns & fire control)
Fee rides over the US.
Wow.
& same for other decomm warplanes since Cold War end.

1-20 21-40

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