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The darting mission of the F-16 Fighting Falcon
An Air Force F-16C Fighting Falcon from the 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, performs aerial acrobatics for more than 285,000 aviation enthusiasts during the Farnborough International Air Show July 21. Most commonly known as the “Viper,” this compact multi-role fighter has proven itself by dominating in air-to-air and air-to-ground combat. The F-16C’s exceptional handling and maneuvering capabilities allow the aircraft to pull upwards of 9 G’s. Approximately 70 aircrew and support personnel from bases across Europe and the United States participated in the air show. This premier global aviation event allows exhibitors to showcase the newest aerospace equipment and technology. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Jerry Fleshman)
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The darting mission of the F-16 Fighting Falcon

Posted 7/26/2010   Updated 7/26/2010 Email story   Print story


by Capt. Naomi Evangelista
65th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

7/26/2010 - FARNBOROUGH, United Kingdom  -- The F-16 Fighting Falcon has been a part of the U.S. Air Force for more than 30 years now and has continued to provide support to the nation since then, but while its mission is to provide multi-role support for the United States and allied nations, its mission varies from each of its locations.

"We are a multi-role aircraft- we fly air-to-air and air-to-ground missions," said Capt. Jon Flickinger, pilot with the 555th Fighter Squadron at Aviano Air Base, Italy. "Lately we have been primarily flying close air support missions in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Capt. Clayton Bailey, also a 55th FS pilot currently stationed at Aviano Air Base, Italy, commented on the variety of missions he's flown during his five years in the Air Force.

"At Aviano where I am now, I work in the weapons office and am the mission planning chief," said Captain Bailey. "I do all the mission planning for TDY's and trips. I have to know where we're going and how we're going to get there."

But the captain hasn't always been a mission planning chief.

"I was last stationed in Korea and it was a lot different there," the Lexington, Kentucky native commented. "At the 555th, we have the NATO mission and work with all the NATO countries and have a joint, integrated operation. In Korea, while we worked with the Korean air forces, it was a more centralized mission where we're ready to take the fight north if we have to."

"Our overall Air Force mission remains the same but specific missions to support that bigger picture is different- it changes and you have to adapt," he added.

Yet another mission the captain has recently helped out with is the Farnborough International Air Show, which in his words is a special opportunity.

"We've been getting to show off our plane to people from all over the world that have some kind of interest in the F-16 aircraft," he said. "The interaction with the people is unique."

But no matter what type of mission he's supporting, he loves what he does.

"I love flying -- it's the best part of my job, especially when we're supporting the ground folks and a larger mission," he added.

Two F-16C Fighting Falcons from the 555th FS participated at the Farnborough International Air Show July 19 to 25. 

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