The F-16’s First Flight

On January 20, 1974, General Dynamics test pilot Phil Oestricher readied the first YF-16 for its first “hop,” a brief flight just a few feet above the runway. But the simulator Oestricher had trained in did not adequately portray control-stick forces, and he hadn’t learned to judge how much aileron he was commanding. After liftoff, the YF-16 could barely be controlled, and Oestricher decided it would be safer to take off, try to regain control, and land. (0:45)

Latest Videos

Preview thumbnail for video'The F-16’s First Flight Now Playing
The F-16’s First Flight (0:45)
Preview thumbnail for video'
"The Wandering Soul" (1:14)
Preview thumbnail for video'X-47B First Carrier Launch
X-47B First Carrier Launch (1:25)
Preview thumbnail for video'Helicopter Rescue at 14,000 Feet
Helicopter Rescue at 14,000 Feet (1:56)
Preview thumbnail for video'Refueling Over Iraq
Refueling Over Iraq (2:20)
Preview thumbnail for video'F16 Walkaround
F16 Walkaround (2:11)
Preview thumbnail for video'Attacking Godzilla
Attacking Godzilla (3:09)
Preview thumbnail for video'Ospreys Over Afghanistan
Ospreys Over Afghanistan (3:52)
Preview thumbnail for video'One Tough Airplane
One Tough Airplane (2:51)