F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Top Aces Announces FAA Certification of F-16 Fighter Aircraft

May 19, 2021 (by Erin Black) - Top Aces Corp., a leading provider of advanced adversary training, today announced a groundbreaking milestone as its newly-acquired F-16 fighter aircraft earned FAA certification and completed its first flight.

F-16 78-0322, now N854TA on its first flight out of Mesa Gateway as a civilian aggressor with Top Aces.

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 F-16s in January, becoming the first private company in the world to own and operate a fourth-generation fighter aircraft.

Top Aces’ highly-skilled in-house maintenance team then returned the aircraft to fully operational and airworthy status at its F-16 Center of Excellence in Mesa, Arizona. This week marks a historic achievement as Top Aces’ first F-16 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.

“By recruiting the most experienced former USAF Aggressor pilots and ground crews, deploying this high-caliber aircraft, and upgrading the F-16 with tailor-made system modifications, Top Aces will provide the most tactically challenging, realistic, and cost-effective adversary training. The entire Top Aces team is very proud to play our part in providing the men and women who operate USAF and USN front line fighters with the most advanced level of training possible,” says Russ Quinn, President, Top Aces Corp.

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.

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    F-16 #78-0322, now with civilian registration #N854TA seen on the ramp at Mesa Gateway as a civilian aggressor fighter with Top Aces. [Photo courtesy of Top Aces]