High-Flying Troubles - United States Air Force safety record (F-16)

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posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 12:20 AM
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This article is a bit dated, it is from Jan 3, 2000, but considering the onslaught of official propaganda about the “safest single engine fighter in US history”, it’s amazing that such article exist at all.

First allow me to briefly recap the troubled history of the Falcon.

In the very beginning the requirements for the small, agile, and cheap fighter were very clearly defined. It was to be a dedicated CAC fighter armed with IR Sidewinders only, and it was to operate close to the enemies’ airspace, fighting for air superiority toe-to-toe with the best Soviet designs.

Prime contender was the excellent, no-nonsense, reliable, easily maintained twin engine F-5, which was specifically aimed to replace the troublesome single engine F-104, but as it usually happens in Pentagon it was side swiped by Washington lobbies in favor of gee-whiz hi-tech fly-by-wire single engine computer wonder kid that we know as the Falcon.

Naturally F-16 won the contract, and is continuing killing its own pilots to this day. It’s a long, troubled history trail it to this day.

It took decade for USAF to admit to wire chafing problems which caused more F-16 pilot deaths in catastrophic crashes then to enemy action to THIS DAY!

The families of those pilots were LIED to and were told that all those crashed happed because of pilot error, and no compensation will be bayed by the USAF.

Well the families got together, hired investigators, and files a LAW SUIT, which they WON.

Based on these true events, HBO made a movie named “Afterburn” which clearly shows the heart felt battle of all those families with the blatant cover up by USAF and Lockheed.

In the end the families of those pilots won the law suit, and demanded fixing and design changes which Lockheed was fighting to the end.

Here’s jus the taste of this very real article;


Insiders say an F-16 will be destroyed in a noncombat crash every 20,000 flight hours, a dismal safety record that the Air Force and the manufacturers have failed to improve.

The Air Force has spent more than $50 billion buying frontline F-16 jet fighters since 1975. But 6 million flying hours later, the service and the manufacturers still have not fixed the myriad and deadly problems that plague the plane.



findarticles.com...

Lockheed Martin, the company which had to be sued in order to admit rudimentary design and production flaws which are killing pilots to this day, regularly post peachy little reports like this, to keep the lid on the true reality of their “killer” bird, or as some pilots ironically called “Mattel-16”, keeping in memory of the poor Vietnam soldier that got stuck with “intermediate” M-16 which they called the Mattlel-16.

The truth is that F-16 is the safest AMERICAN fighter, simply because it is the ONLY single engine fighter so far, and it the most widely produce and exported NATO fighter through out the world. The reality is that F-16 has the world’s worst TECHNICAL failure record for single engine fighter.

Pilot error is not the issue here, it’s all about CATASTROPHIC system failures, and this is where Falcon takes the cake.


Published in Israel by Ha'aretz on 1 Aug 00

+++
IAF F-16 crashes in south

An F-16 fighter plane crashed in the south of the country
Tuesday afternoon. The pilot managed to eject himself to
safety.

After a warning notified the pilot that there was a
problem with his engine, he was forced to eject during a
regular training flight just south of Hatzerim Airbase. The
pilot was transferred to Tel Hashomer hospital for a
routine check-up after being rescued.



In order to skip NUMEROUS articles which happiliy report how much F-16 safety record is improving every year, and with a simplt google search anybody can find plety, heres; something from 2007, coming at you straight from Iraq;


Air Force says F-16 crashes are up
By SCOTT LINDLAW Associated Press Writer
Article Last Updated: 10/22/2007 02:53:34 PM EDT

The dreaded BANG! came from deep within the F-16's lone engine, shaking the warplane as it made passes over an Arizona bombing range last December. Then came the alarming loss of thrust.

Two attempts to restart the engine failed. Having exhausted their options, the pilot and his student bailed out, parachuting to safety before the plane slammed into the Sonoran Desert, a $21 million loss for taxpayers.

Not all F-16 pilots have been so lucky recently. The accident rate for this workhorse fighter has risen over the past few years, and two pilots have died in the past year, according to an Associated Press review of Air Force documents.


Read the entire article here;

ydr.inyork.com...

I’ll repeat this one especially for thebozeian, more pilots were lost (killed) to F-16s catastrophic system failures, then to enemy fire.


Mod Edit: External Source Tags – Please Review This Link.



[edit on 1/23/08 by FredT]

[edit on 1/23/08 by FredT]




posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 03:29 AM
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Yes, your post is right - more F-16s have been lost to tech failures than combat. What exactly is the discussion point? That a corporation based on making money tried to hide the fact that they cut corners and knew about potential problems? Old news. Seriously, what are you hoping to get out of this thread?

Here's a possible angle for you- your claim that the "F-16 has the world’s worst TECHNICAL failure record for single engine fighter", care to provide some justification for that claim? I would have thought the MiG-21 would be up there in the loss stakes.



posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 04:25 AM
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Originally posted by iskander
I’ll repeat this one especially for thebozeian, more pilots were lost (killed) to F-16s catastrophic system failures, then to enemy fire.
Mildly interesting topic if only because of it's entirely unfathomable relevance. In short what are you talking about? I have never discussed the F-16 and its troublesome service record with you, and can't really recall discussing it as an individual point SPECIFICALLY with ANYONE. However if my memory is faulty and I have SPECIFICALLY discussed this with you, please post up the link or quote and I will be only too happy to rationally discuss.

LEE.



posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 01:49 PM
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reply to post by Willard856
 



What exactly is the discussion point? That a corporation based on making money tried to hide the fact that they cut corners and knew about potential problems? Old news. Seriously, what are you hoping to get out of this thread?[


How about the irony that Iran purchased over a 100 F-5s during the 70s, a TWIN engine fighter which before F-16 ever made its first flight, was more reliable, maneuverable, easily maintained, and all around better aircraft.

If equipped with modern gear the Iranian "Saegheh" by design outperforms the F-16.

Even after specific budget driven single engine requirement was forced, F-20 Tigershark still outperformed the Falcon, yet politics still twisted the taxpayers dollars into purchasing a plane that kills its own pilots more effectively then the enemy.


Here's a possible angle for you- your claim that the "F-16 has the world’s worst TECHNICAL failure record for single engine fighter", care to provide some justification for that claim? I would have thought the MiG-21 would be up there in the loss stakes.


Sure, here’s an in depth look into MiG-21 crashes, if interested feel free to read the entire article, but I’ll post only the conclusion;


Conclusions

1) The MiG 21 is a sound and excellently engineered design by one of the most respected design bureaus in the domain of fighter design.

2) The loss rate of the MiG 21 is in no way worse than any similar fighter of its genre and better than most.

Applying western accident rates is also somewhat unrealistic because of significant decay in thrust and lift due to high air temperatures. A 12% decrease in lift or thrust can lead to a 100% difference between crashing or getting back safe. There being no easy mathematical co-relation.

.


www.bharat-rakshak.com...

F-16 on the other hand, while enjoying NATO standards of maintenance, clean runways, etc, is called a “lawn dart” by their pilots, because that’s how it flies after an engine failure.

Well over 300 F-16s have crashed so far, feel free run a google search, because I’m tired of sifting through countless “F-16 crashes” news articles. Like these;


F-16 supporting ground troops crashes in Iraq
Last Updated: Monday, November 27, 2006 | 9:39 AM ET
The Associated Press


www.cbc.ca...


Pilot ejects before Luke F-16 crashes


www.azcentral.com...


www.azcentral.com...



F-16 CRASHES; 2 KILLED PILOT, CIVILIAN PHOTOGRAPHER DIE IN INCIDENT NEAR CHINA LAKE.


www.thefreelibrary.com...


F-16 Pilot Dies in Crash


www.militaryconnections.com...

U.S. F-16 fighter crashes in Sea of Japan


www.japantoday.com...


F-16 crashes near Key West; pilot ejects safely

www.ocala.com...&template=storydetails


Pilot of crashed F-16 listed as killed in action


www.cnn.com...


F-16 crashes in Gulf of Mexico


www.aviationnews.eu...


Italian F-16 crashes after birdstrike


www.milaviapress.com...


F-16 Fighter Plane from Toledo Crashes in Iraq; Pilot Killed


www.wtol.com...

edit:bracket


[edit on 18-1-2008 by iskander]


Mod Edit: External Source Tags – Please Review This Link.


Mod Note: No Quote/Plagiarism – Please Review This Link.


[edit on 1/23/08 by FredT]



posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 01:56 PM
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reply to post by thebozeian
 



Mildly interesting topic if only because of it's entirely unfathomable relevance. In short what are you talking about?
I have never discussed the F-16 and its troublesome service record with you, and can't really recall discussing it as an individual point SPECIFICALLY with ANYONE. However if my memory is faulty and I have SPECIFICALLY discussed this with you, please post up the link or quote and I will be only too happy to rationally discuss


I found your avatar to be rather interesting and appropriate, and it simply inspired me to bring up the current facts behind long and troublesome history of F-16, and that to this day they are loosing more pilots to inherently flawed design then to enemy fire.

It is self sabotage that continuously takes the lives of pilots and squanders taxpayers money, or as I like to think about it, not just money but time away from family while hard at work.



posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 08:00 PM
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how about comparison stats against other single
engined aircraft.
MIG 21
Mirage III and family members
Corsair
Voodoo
AMX
Harrier
Skyhawk

and many more out there..



posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 09:09 PM
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reply to post by Jezza
 



how about comparison stats against other single
engined aircraft.


It’s been done.

F-16 is the first full FBW with out a redundancy backup, thus the side mounted controls.

When your panel lights up llike a Christmas tree becaseu wire chafing short circuited your entire system, it just drops like a “lawn dart”.

Same with the engine. Once it goes out, the chances of restarting it a null, and since main power is lost (electrical/hydraulic), maneuvering to safety is out of the question. The only hope is ejection.

MIG 21 – the source is listed above.

MiG-21 vs Mirage – run a search there have been plenty forum discussioins on that.

Corsair - The F4U? I would not even know where to begin comparing a WWII rotary piston powered ground pounder with a Mach 2 pure bred fighter.

Here’s on the Voodoo;


The Voodoo

Following his tour in the Korean War, Lonnie returned to Florida where he served as Chief Test Pilot at EglinAir Force Base. He relished in his family, hardly believing that he could have been so blessed to have children as dazzling as his Dancer.

Each day was enjoyed with total fullness and appreciation by the Dancer and her Jet Ace.


And the finale;

www.doubleace.org...


Here’s the worst AMX had to face so far, but as far as I now it fared pretty well;


The Italian air force grounded its AMX form February 4 to the end of May 1992 after an accident which was traced to the separation of a turbine disk in the Spey engine.
The third production batch was authorised in early 1992, one year late. It included 56 aircraft for Italy and 22 for Brazil. Italy and Brazil did cancel the planned production batches 4 (51 aircraft) and 5 (53 aircraft). At one time in the late 80s, numbers as high as 317 aircraft had been mentioned.
From January to 22 March 1996, the AMX fleet was grounded after a crash due to engine problems. A second-stage low-pressure compressor blade had gone off.


www.flug-revue.rotor.com...

Harrier – I’m not even going to go there. Considering what a difficult craft to fly, I give any Harrier pilot my respect and if the crash was do to pilot error, let it b so and I hope the pilot is safe and sound. Harrier is completely out of the typical aircraft category, and I will not apply standard measures to judge its crash rating.

A-4 Skyhawk - I have a whole lot of respect for that plane, much as for the A-6 Intruder. To me they are the true work horses, engineered and built for war.

Both aircraft were designed with redundant system and could absorb massive damage and still make a carrier landing. F-16 has nothing on those birds.


Mod Note: No Quote/Plagiarism – Please Review This Link.


[edit on 1/23/08 by FredT]

[edit on 1/23/08 by FredT]



posted on Jan, 19 2008 @ 04:10 AM
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reply to post by iskander
 


I meant Corsair II my typo..


link

And this for the F-16IN
The military aircraft offers, besides to the classical features of the F-16, a number of hi-tech equipments, such as the AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar, and the infrared searching. The AESA, in particular, is said to offer the plane the possibility to target and destroy simultaneously aerial and ground targets. Moreover, the equipments would allow to recover the plane and save the pilot also in case it may end out of control.

Seems the indians are on to it as well as you.



posted on Jan, 19 2008 @ 05:31 AM
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1 the F4U was not rotary engined, these engines fell out of favour soon after the nd of world war one and none were used on cambat aircraft in WW2


2 The Voodoo was a twin jet, not a single engined fighter.



posted on Jan, 19 2008 @ 07:21 AM
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The Ling-Temco-Vought A-7 Corsair II is a carrier-based subsonic light attack aircraft design that was introduced to replace the A-4 Skyhawk in US Naval service and based on the successful supersonic F-8 Crusader aircraft produced by Chance Vought. The A-7 was one of the first combat aircraft to feature a head-up display (HUD), doppler-bounded inertial navigation system (INS), and a turbofan engine. It initially entered service with the United States Navy during the Vietnam conflict and was then adopted by the United States Air Force to replace their A-1 Skyraiders that were borrowed from the Navy as well as with the Air National Guard. It was exported to Greece (in the 1970s), Portugal and Thailand (in the late 1980s).

linky

and for the second time
Corsair II.

I was thinking of F-105 Thunderchief fighter not the F-101 voodoo. SORRY
Lockheed F-104 Starfighter was also had a bad run also



posted on Jan, 19 2008 @ 08:29 AM
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Yes, I now what the Corsair II was (and it was obvious from the start that you meant the A-7 as you were referring to single engined jets). I was correcting iskander for his 'rotary engined' gaffe.



posted on Jan, 19 2008 @ 03:36 PM
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reply to post by Jezza
 



Seems the indians are on to it as well as you.


Pardon me? What’s that about?



posted on Jan, 19 2008 @ 03:41 PM
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reply to post by waynos
 



Yes, I now what the Corsair II was (and it was obvious from the start that you meant the A-7 as you were referring to single engined jets). I was correcting iskander for his 'rotary engined' gaffe.


I meant radial, big deal.

I on regular bases confuse Wenkel with Henckel, so what of it?



posted on Jan, 19 2008 @ 03:57 PM
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it may well have been what you meant, it was not what you said. That is all.



posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 12:56 AM
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iskander,

Forgive me, but I'm totally confused about the point you are trying to make.

Is it that Lockmart are a dirty dealing lying bunch of B......, (something probably true of any US business - ie:- from the country that coined the terms 'There's one born every minute', 'Never give a sucker an even break', and 'Greed is good'! - do you think any company would market any product as the most dangerous, crappiest option available? - Let's face it, everyone's product is 'The Best' at 'Everything')

Is it that the operators of the aircraft (apparently the USAF in this case, as opposed to any other operator) are a dirty dealing lying bunch of B......, (quite possibly - they wouldn't be the first to lie, to avoided a payout)

Is it that you are just making the case against single engined combat aircraft in a single v twin debate, (which would re-ignite a long-standing, lively and informed debate - but if so, it would be prudent to know which aircraft are singles and which are twins before passing judgment) or

Is it that you believe that the F-16 is a flawed and unsound design (probably unprovable and leading nowhere), or

Is it that you are a campaigner on behalf of the victims of F-16 crashes (in which case we sympathize with you, and depending upon the evidence, perhaps support you).

Honestly, your apparent lack of understanding of aviation terms and the differences between engine and aircraft types, tends to lead me to the conclusion that you are not too sure what you intended to say.

While not wanting to deter anyone from making a point, or having their say on this forum, please be aware that the vast majority of contributors here do not confuse 'Wenkel with Henckel' as you put it. (We even know that - in aviation terms - you were referring to 'Wankel' and 'Heinkel'
)

Upon reading the postings on this thread, I find that about 80% are devoted to clearing up your misunderstandings rather than discussing whatever point you are actually attempting to convey. So, to this point at least, your post has been totally ineffectual, because nobody really knows what point you are trying to discuss - or if indeed you actually want to 'discuss' or just have a rave - Hey, nothing wrong with a good rave now and again!.

By all means, please submit your thoughts, but try to make your points and arguments clear so that we can all discuss them rather than second guessing what you're trying to say.

The Winged Wombat


[edit on 20/1/08 by The Winged Wombat]



posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 04:26 AM
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reply to post by The Winged Wombat
 



Is it that Lockmart are a dirty dealing lying bunch of B......


Yep. They lied to the families to cover their butts instead of immediately implementing costly repairs of the units that were already in service.


Is it that the operators of the aircraft (apparently the USAF in this case, as opposed to any other operator) are a dirty dealing lying bunch of B......, (quite possibly - they wouldn't be the first to lie, to avoided a payout)


That’s also correct, but not only USAF, other air forces chose to simply sweep things under the carpet after Lockheed made some “deals”.


Is it that you are just making the case against single engined combat aircraft in a single v twin debate,


The case has been made and currently its simply a matter of history. Soviets used single engine aircraft only as front line fighters/CAS which were designed to operate out to no more then 100 kilometers from their base of operations, with very short engine life spans and very high tolerances.

Mi-23 was the last Soviet/Russian single engine FLF and Sukhoi single engine design was rejected as expected.


Is it that you believe that the F-16 is a flawed and unsound design


I’m not going to open that can of worms, but aerodynamically unstable airframe with single engine/tail fin operating on full FBW is more then questionable.

I do recall an experimental F-16 model with dual vertical stabilizing fins mounted under the nose cone…


Is it that you are a campaigner on behalf of the victims of F-16 crashes


It’s not a campaign, it’s just the fact of basic awareness, when Americans are killed by negligence of corporate greed, I think it should be know just as well when American sailors are killed by repeated Israeli air-strikes, and just get swept under the carpet with out even the acknowledgment of the attack by USN. (USS Liberty)


Honestly, your apparent lack of understanding of aviation terms and the differences between engine and aircraft types, tends to lead me to the conclusion that you are not too sure what you intended to say.



While not wanting to deter anyone from making a point, or having their say on this forum, please be aware that the vast majority of contributors here do not confuse 'Wenkel with Henckel' as you put it. (We even know that - in aviation terms - you were referring to 'Wankel' and 'Heinkel'


I happen to confuse it these days because recently I became intrigued by a rather interesting garage project which includes a hybrid-electric dual 1.3L rotary (“Wenkel”) on a beefed up CVT transmission.

If you want to nitpick on my spelling, go right ahead, it doesn’t bother me at all! That’s why I can enjoy a Texan accent, it’s just one of those life’s colors!


Upon reading the postings on this thread, I find that about 80% are devoted to clearing up your misunderstandings rather than discussing whatever point you are actually attempting to convey.


80%? Are you sure? Rotary / radial, whoops, at least I didn’t get marked down for calling the Corsair a ground pounder, even though that’s exactly what it was doing at the end of the war WWII, then Korean War, and come to think of it, the Vietnam war as well.


So, to this point at least, your post has been totally ineffectual, because nobody really knows what point you are trying to discuss - or if indeed you actually want to 'discuss' or just have a rave - Hey, nothing wrong with a good rave now and again!.


Well heck partner, how can I make my posts more effective for you?! What exactly would you like me to flourish you with? How abut “you’re looking reall good today champ! Have you lost weight?”

Will that do or are we going to get back to the topic?


By all means, please submit your thoughts, but try to make your points and arguments clear so that we can all discuss them rather than second guessing what you're trying to say.


I’m really trying to understand which of my points were not clear, but rather then glooming over the past, indeed, let’s continue.

F-16 was forced by dirty dealing which led to unnecessary pilot deaths and killed the future of the excellent F-5.

I do hope that this is clear enough.

edit:bracket


[edit on 20-1-2008 by iskander]



posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 05:07 AM
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i must ask - what is the point of this thread? to debate the F16 and its `safety` record? if so make an arguement that can be `countered`or `agreed` with - just posting `facts` makes for a boring discussion as well - theres little to discuss.



posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 05:21 AM
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Well, given the rate of effort of the F-16s we flew with in the Gulf, and the fact that we didn't lose any to mechanical failure, I don't think it is that big a deal. Flying fighters is inherently dangerous. Sucks for the family yes, but ask any fighter pilot whether they would stop flying their jet because of a 1% chance the aircraft might catastrophically malfunction, and I can tell you what the answer will be. Well worth the risk.

The F-16 isn't usually refered to as a Lawn Dart by the F-16 community. Usually this jibe comes from the 15 guys. And I've heard the MiG-21 refered to as the Flying Coffin, so I'm still not remotely convinced that it has a better record than the F-16. And as for the article you referenced, why would you reduce the loss numbers based on the heat and altitude effects? If you buy an aircraft that doesn't meet the environmental conditions you want it to operate in, then make sure you have a good SAR capability.

There is no way the F-5 would still be a relevant frontline fighter today. Whereas the F-16 has evolved, and still remains a potent multi-role platform. And if you think the Iranian aircraft is any sort of comparative threat to current western fighters, you are seriously delusional. It is what it is - a magnet for AIM-120s. Now if the Iranians got serious and got themselves some J-10s, or decent Flankers, then we could talk. But this piecemeal indiginous crap they keep on churning out shows they have given up on winning the air to air war.



posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 05:53 AM
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reply to post by iskander
 


It is a sad fact of military operations that combat aircraft crash, thus it has ever been. The statistic that more F-16's have been lost to accidents than enemy action applies to every major combat aircraft of the last half century so, whilst not untrue, it is more than a little unfair to single out the F-16.

Having said that you vitriol against the USAF, or any other air force, in the way these incidents are dealt with is fair enough, just look at the difficulty the UK has had in investigating certain friendly fire incidents recently, not just from the US military, but from our own MoD too. This is a separate issue however and cannot be blamed on the aircraft used in these attacks or any percieved design flaw. I believe in these sort of incidences ranting about the F-16 being inherently unsound is not only wrong, but a red herring too.




I’m not going to open that can of worms, but aerodynamically unstable airframe with single engine/tail fin operating on full FBW is more then questionable.

I do recall an experimental F-16 model with dual vertical stabilizing fins mounted under the nose cone…


The number of fins or engines in an aerodynamically unstable FBW airframe is not questionable, it is completely irrelevant, if you lose your digital control, you are going to crash, even if you have six engines and four fins. This is why all such planes have quadruplex redundancy and in this respect the F-16 is no more dangerous to fly than any other such fighter, be it F-18, Typhoon, Flanker or whatever.

In addition, the version you recall had dual de-stabilising fins under the nose, this was an exercise in further destabilising the plane in support of the ATF programme and so served the opposite purpose than you appear to imagine.

Finally, confusing Rotary for radial is not a spelling mistake, these are two utterly different forms of aircraft engine and so a correction is justified is it not? After all you write Wankel as wenkel and nobody pulls you up on that because that clearly is nothing more than a spelling error and so unimportant to the discussion, but when you try to say that an F4U had a rotary engine, that is quite a different sort of error. After all if facts are unimportant what is the point of having discussions at all?

Finally regarding your point on the F-5, Northrop themselves changed the F-5 from twin engines to a single F404 in an effort to bring its performance up to scratch for the 1980's, they then renamed the F-5G into the F-20 to further modernise its image so no, without the F-16 the F-5 would not be a dominant twin jet fighter today, the situation would be no different.




[edit on 20-1-2008 by waynos]



posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 06:11 AM
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reply to post by Harlequin
 



i must ask - what is the point of this thread? to debate the F16 and its `safety` record? if so make an arguement that can be `countered`or `agreed` with - just posting `facts` makes for a boring discussion as well - theres little to discuss.


I disagree, there’s a lot to discss.

F-15 fleet has obviously exhausted its life span and is in need for replacement. T-22s are still a controversy both in price and rather persisten teething problems (corrosion/software/etc)

F-35 is nowhere in sight, and just like F-16 it is also a full FBW single engine aircraft.

Are we to see the repeat of the Falcon?






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