Videos!: F-16 Viper: 0 to 15,000 feet in 45 Seconds

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The General Dynamics (now Lockheed Martin) F-16 Fighting Falcon made its first flight back in 1974, that's over 40 years ago! Yet it is still a combat workhorse fighter of the United States Air Force. It has only a single engine, but that engine has a thrust-to-weight ratio greater than 1. What that means is the Falcon can climb AND accelerate while going vertical.  The Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-200 afterburner turbofan can produce over 23,000 lbs of thrust, which exceeds the planes empty weight of 18,900 lbs.

The F-16 is also very maneuverable, being able to withstand +9G of load. To help the pilot cope with the high Gs, the seat is reclined at a 30 degree angle.  This aids in keeping the blood up in the pilot's brain during tight maneuvers rather than having it rushing to the pilot’s feet.

In this video the F-16, from a standing start, climbs 15,000 feet in just 45 seconds. That’s a climb rate greater than 20,000 fpm.  But even that performance is not coming anywhere close to taxing its limits. An F-16’s climb rate is spec’d at 50,000 fpm!!! 

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