The first flight of the F-16, which was developed by the US-based defense and aerospace company General Dynamics, took place 49 years ago today, on January 20, 1974.
During a high-speed taxi test, General Dynamics test pilot Phil Oestricher had to take off to avoid an accident and landed safely after about 6 minutes of unplanned flight. Thus a flight was carried out during the test, albeit by chance.
The F-16 program began its development in 1969. The ceremony of the first prototype leaving the hangar was held on 13 December 1973.
The first official flight of the F-16 took place on February 2, 1974, 15 days after the accidental flight.