Test pilot Major Desmond Brophy (Canadian Air Force Exchange pilot)
gives a tour of an F-16 Fighting Falcon (aka Viper) cockpit used for
flight testing at Edwards Air Force Base.
If you're wondering
what test pilots are doing in a relatively senior and proven airframe,
the answer lies in continuous improvement and the fact that the airframe
itself is far from the only thing that changes the flight
characteristics of a modern fighter. These aircraft are inherently
unstable and, though they are flown by pilots, it's computers that keep
them in the air. When changes are made to the hardware software or
weapons systems that give these aircraft their edge, test pilots are
sent up to evaluate the effects of those changes on the aircraft's
performance, capability and controllability. But enough with the big
picture -- click through for your guided tour of the front office.
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