F-16 Flies with an Empty Cockpit

As a pilotless F-16 roared into the sky last week at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., members of Boeing’s QF-16 team and the U.S. Air Force celebrated. The flight represented the first unmanned QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target flight. Put another way, fighter pilots now have an adversary for which to train against that prepares them like never before. Two U.S. Air Force test pilots in a ground control station at Tydall remotely flew the QF-16, which is a retired F-16 jet modified to be an aerial target. While in the air, the QF-16 mission included a series of simulated maneuvers, reaching supersonic speeds, returning to base and landing, all without a pilot in the cockpit.


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