The pilot exits the F-16 and it takes off without himon September 25, 2013 @ 7:36 am (Updated: 8:22 am - 9/25/13 )
A Boeing F-16 jet fighter, which had been sitting in the desert, out of service for 15 years, is flying once again. With one slight modification to the pre-flight procedure.
After making one final check, "Just making sure all my switches are set in the right position, the throttle is free and clear, the lights are on."
Pilot Jason Clements leaves the cockpit.
And then Clements watches the F-16 take off without him.
Planes without pilots are nothing new - they're called drones. But a real F-16 full performance fighter plane without a pilot? That hasn't been done until now.
A Boeing video shows the first test flight of a once-mothballed F-16 which has been retrofitted so it can be flown from the ground - not to be used in some cyber war, but as a target.
And what a target. It took off from Florida and flew over the gulf of Mexico with two Air Force pilots flying it from the ground.
Retired Lt. Col. Tom Mudge was one of the two at the controls. "The flight itself went very well, it went as advertised. The jet performed well and did what it was supposed to do."
He took it up to 40,000 feet and speeds of Mach 1.47 - that's 1,119 miles an hour - and had it doing barrel rolls and hairpin turns that, would make a human pilot black out - and then, a perfect landing.
"It made a beautiful landing, maybe one of the best landings I've ever seen," said Mudge.
While the remote-controlled QF-16s are not designed for battle - you know that's the next step.
When you think about it, if opposing powers can fight it out by remote control, so that the best pilots and the best equipment would still win, but you wouldn't have to kill anybody, why not?
Thieves have stolen all the decorations for Seattle's popular Halloween Alley
A Boeing CEO says Everett's new 777X wing facility is a sign of commitment
All You Can Eat
6 belt-loosening food challenges in Seattle you may not be man enough to complete
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.