F-16 B Fighting Falcon – An enthusiast’s dream.
The F-16 B Fighting Falcon is coming to Latin America.
General Dynamics F-16 A and F-16 B Fighting Falcon incorporated into the Venezuelan Air Force (FAV) on November 16, 1983, about 38 years ago. This is the first air force in Latin America to obtain the latest generation of fighter aircraft from the United States.
On August 31, 1983, the 16th Air Fighter Group was formed in accordance with the resolution of the Ministry of Defense. It composed of the 161st “Caribes” (Piranha) squadron, the 162nd Gavilanes (Sparrowhawks) squadron and the 167th maintenance squadron. Almost two and a half months later, on November 16 of the same year, the first six F-16 A arrived.
In all its activities over the years, the 16th Grupo Aéreo de Caza (Air Hunting Group) has established multiple milestones for F-16 users and these milestones are still in place, the most important of which is no accidental operations in more than 20,000 flight hours. In twelve years, the percentage of availability and operability was the highest, averaging 82%, far exceeding the 73% ownership of NATO countries and the U.S. Air Force.
Today, the assets of the 16th Fighter Air Group consist of less than 4 F-16 A and one F-16 B Fighting Falcon in operation. The absence of upgrade programs and the impossibility of obtaining spare parts for the F-16, made it necessary to find a replacement for the Viper in the 2000’s. Finally, a replacement was found in the Russian Sukhoi Su-30 MKK..
The modeler’s dream
What is the biggest dream of aviation modelers? Air shows are filled with aviation enthusiasts, but what if they could ride in one of their dream machines? In this article, our friend and contributor, Joe Odoardi, tells us what it feels like to be in the cockpit of his beloved F-16 B Fighting Falcon belonging to the FAV. I hope you enjoy it as much as he did.