Air & Space Airshow Spotter’s Guide

Fun facts about the airplanes you’ll see on the summer circuit.

Lockheed Martin F-16

Lockheed Martin F-16
(Illustrations by Harry Whitver)

How to recognize: Single vertical tail, cropped delta wing, half-moon air intake beneath cockpit.

Claim to fame at airshows: U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds perform precision formation aerobatics to demonstrate the agility of the front-line fighters.

Claim to fame in service: More than 4,300 F-16s have been built and the type is flown by the military services of 24 nations.

Mission: Roles of the Fighting Falcon range from air combat to Homeland Security patrols.

Performance and specifications: At altitude, the F-16 can reach speeds of Mach 2 or more than 1,500 mph, with a maximum weight of 48,000 pounds. Its range is 1,740 miles.

Main variants: Current versions of the F-16 include the Block 50/52 and the Block 60, each of which improves the avionics, sensors and weapons, and situational awareness compared with previous models.

USAF Thunderbirds

Lockheed’s F-16

See the gallery at top for more airplanes.

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