on May 18, 2021, CanadianTop Aces Private Aviation Company performed the first flight of one of its former Israeli F-16As since their arrival in the United States earlier this year. As we have reported earlier that Top Aces to buy 29 F-16 fighter jets from Israel.
Adversary air operator has achieved FAA certification of its new fleet of F-16s. The first of the company’s newly purchased former Israeli Air Force F-16s took to the air in preparation to support a U.S. Air Force Contracted Air Support indefinite delivery/indefinite…
The aircraft, which was trackable online through ADS-B, is the former Israeli Netz 129 (USAF serial 78-0322), also known for its involvement in Operation Opera in 1981. Before yesterday’s flight, the F-16 received its new civilian registration N854TA.
Based on its ADS-B track, the F-16 flew from Phoenix Mesa Gateway airport (Arizona) for just over an hour, testing its entire flight envelope in the nearby Outlaw Military Operations Area, a big reserved chunk of airspace East of Phoenix which is used also by F-16s and F-35s from Luke Air Force Base.
As standard for Functional Check Flights, the aircraft maneuvered at various altitudes, from 8,000 ft to 23,000 ft, and speeds, including high-speed runs at 600 kts, slow flight at 80 kts and stall testing.
In order to support the US Air Force (USAF) Contracted Air Support indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract, Top Aces took delivery of its first four former Heyl Ha’Avir (IAF, Israeli Air Force) F-16s in January, becoming the first private company in the world to own and operate a fourth-generation fighter aircraft. Another 25 former Israeli F-16A/Bs are expected to follow.
N854TA is an F-16A Block 5, built with US serial 78-0322, but sold to Israel as 129 under the FMS Peace Marble I program in September 1980. It was one of the aircraft to drop its bombs on Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor during Operation Opera in 1981. N854TA retains its Heyl Ha’Avir (IAF, Israeli Air Force) colour scheme while additionally carrying the name Billy Bob.
Although Top Aces headquarters are located in Montreal, Canada, a specialised F-16 Center of Excellence was opened in Mesa (AZ). Since the arrival of the first quartet of F-16s in January, the maintenance team there has returned the aircraft to full operational and airworthy status.
This week marks a historic achievement as Top Aces’ first Fourth Generation F-16 fighter obtained FAA certification and successfully performed its initial test flight.
A fundamental step in preparing Top Aces’ F-16 fleet to serve the USAF is the integration of Top Aces’ open architecture Advanced Aggressor Mission System (AAMS), which will provide the most advanced adversary capability in the industry.
This proprietary system features the latest technologies including active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, infrared search-and-track (IRST), advanced data link and helmet-mounted cueing systems.
Top Aces provides advanced adversary (“red air”) and joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) training to the world’s leading air forces.
It has the largest fleet of commercially-operated fighter aircraft and is the first company in the world to acquire the F-16, which will enter service later this year in support of the USAF.
Its mission-critical training enhances the operational readiness of combat forces by providing real-world experience. Top Aces’ training creates significant cost efficiencies and extends the lifecycle of military fleets.