Viper Fanboy who Became Warthog pilot tells why he would never trade its A-10 for an F-16

Viper Fanboy who Became Warthog pilot tells why he would never trade its A-10 for an F-16

By Dario Leone
Apr 8 2024
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The F-16

The combat-proven F-16 has proven itself as the world’s most capable 4th generation multi-role fighter, serving as the workhorse of the fighter fleet for 30 customers around the world.

In an air combat role, the F-16’s maneuverability and combat radius (distance it can fly to enter air combat, stay, fight and return) exceed that of all potential threat fighter aircraft. It can locate targets in all weather conditions and detect low flying aircraft in radar ground clutter. In an air-to-surface role, the F-16 can fly more than 500 miles (860 kilometers), deliver its weapons with superior accuracy, defend itself against enemy aircraft, and return to its starting point. An all-weather capability allows it to accurately deliver ordnance during non-visual bombing conditions.

F-16 Fanboy

‘All through high school, and then all through pilot training, I wanted to fly the F-16. Agile, multirole, and downright sexy, the Viper was what I set my sights on,’ Lynn Taylor, former A-10 Pilot, remembers on Quora.

‘Then assignment night came, and I walked away with the A-10.

‘Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to think about that.

F-16 Fanboy who Became A-10 pilot explains why he would never trade its Warthog for a Viper

‘Then I went through A-10 training.

‘Then I flew the Hawg operationally.

‘Now, if I had the chance to go back and do it all over again, and had my pick of the litter…

‘I would pick the Hawg as my first choice, no matter what else you put in front of me.

‘Yeah, there are more sleek looking aircraft. And there are jets with more thrusties. There are fighters without anything close to the energy management issues the Hawg has. And they have cool gadgets ,fancy computers, a radar (can’t forget the radar). And a useful autopilot (the A-10’s is craptastic). Oh, and a parking brake. (Seriously, how hard would it have been to install a friggin’ parking brake? *sigh*)

The A-10 is amazing

‘But, despite all of its faults, the Hawg is amazing. As long as you manage your energy well, it’ll turn on a dime and give you change.’

Viper Fanboy who Became Warthog pilot tells why he would never trade its A-10 for an F-16
F-This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-16CM Fighting Falcon – Wild Weasel 50th Anniversary, 2015

Taylor continues;

‘In addition to being crazy maneuverable, it’s an incredibly stable and accurate weapons delivery platform. One year we had a new Wing Commander who insisted that we’d have a Turkey Shoot (bombing competition) between the A-10 and F-16 fighter squadrons on base every year.

‘We had exactly one.

‘In every event, the Hawg squadron won first, second, and third place.

‘Every. Event.

‘And they didn’t even let us use The Gun.

‘Speaking of which… The Gun.

‘There is nothing else like it in the world. Firing it is truly indescribable.

‘Then there’s the close air support mission.

Viper Fanboy who Became Warthog pilot tells why he would never trade its A-10 for an F-16

The A-10 and the guardian angel job

‘Ya know… being a guardian angel is a pretty cool job. Dangerous, to be sure, but still pretty cool.

‘In addition to feeling a sort of kinship with the boots on the ground, there’s a visceral satisfaction to the instant feedback of bombs on target. Or bullets, or rockets, or missiles. Or popping up over a mountain ridge line, followed by firing off a missile from five miles away, then the Gun at two miles, followed by bombs inside a mile, followed by more bullets while exiting the target area.

‘I don’t remember meeting an A-10 crew chief who didn’t like the jet. It’s designed to be rugged, with redundant and interchangeable systems. Yeah, it’s old, but it’s relatively simple.’

Taylor concludes:

‘All I know for sure is that we Hawg drivers were sure proud of our steed, and we absolutely loved the mission.

‘And, we didn’t much care what anyone else thought about either one.’

Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II model
This model is available from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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