Tour The F-16’s Cockpit And Learn How To Fight In It In These Rad Vintage Videos

These F-16 throwback videos are a must watch, both for nostalgic laughs and for their awesome content.

byTyler Rogoway|
F-16 photo


The internet has brought us so many things, but for any aviation or military technology enthusiast, one of the best of those things is the seemingly endless trove digitalized vintage air combat videos from decades gone by. Ranging from the hilarious squadron videos from the pre-Tailhook scandal era, to Cal's Used Fighter Jet Emporium, to no-nonsense defense contractor promotional reels, box set documentaries, government instructional tapes, and just about everything in between. 

And by "in between" we mean this at first seemingly outright corny, but turns out to be actually pretty awesome instructional supplement video made by the software development firm known for their simulators, Spectrum HoloByte. This video in particular was made for their hugely popular FALCON 3.0 air combat simulator based around the F-16. 

The video is early 1990s nostalgia central—the set, the music, the serious tone, and make sure to stay tuned for the clunky Thrustmaster cockpit simulator bookend ad at the end.

The very well cast F-16 instructor pilot and host, Pete "Boomer" Bonanni, does an outstanding job at describing Basic Fighter Maneuvers (BFM) tactics, and he even uses that "cutting-edge" tele-illustrator in the process. The "students" in their flight suits are pretty hilarious looking, but they do help with filling out the presentation. Overall the entire time capsule of a video is really worth watching, both for nostalgic laughs and for brushing up on your BFM knowledge base.

This second video—which is unrelated production-wise to the first but compliments it nicely—gives us a quick tour of the early F-16C (Block 25) cockpit configuration. It goes into some of the improvements over the earlier F-16A's cockpit features, and also gives a run-down on the basic Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) pod concept which would find itself on the Block 40 variant of the USAF F-16C/D. 

Video thumbnail
Video thumbnail

If you are interested in what it was like to actually fly and fight in the F-16, you can get an unprecedented Navy Topgun instructor's perspective here, as well as a USAF Weapons School instructor's take here. We have also talked to a pilot and bestselling author who is widely considered to be the deadliest F-16 pilot of all time about his time in the "Viper's" pit, check out those features here and here

Pilots will continue to experience combat in F-16s for many decades to come as the "Electric Jet" is likely to continue its production run past the 50th anniversary of its first flight, with the USAF now planning to keep the type in service till at least 2048.

Tyler Rogoway/Author

Contact the author: