Sofia, Bulgaria: The European nation has got its first-ever F-16 fighter pilot – Captain Alexander Velinov. He was recognized as the first pilot from Bulgaria to underway the initial training course for flying an F-16 at a ceremony in the 162nd Squadron of the United States of America’s Air Force.
Tracing back to the year 2020, the Bulgarian government penned down a contract for purchasing the F-16 aircraft. The delivery of the aircraft is expected to take place in the forthcoming year (2023). Following the deal, a total of four Bulgarian pilots were selected to underway a specialized English language course prior to completing the whole training course in the United States. Among these pilots, there was the name of Captain Velinov. These F-16 pilots will be replacing the MiG-29 fighters of Bulgaria.
Captain Velinov stated, “When I return to Bulgaria, the F-16 will be a brand new aircraft for the nation, so it depends on the first pilots to be trained in the United States to build the foundation and set a high standard of work. As Bulgaria plans to move to the F-16 as soon as possible, my training in Tucson is vital.”
Meanwhile, Brigadier General Jeffrey Butler – Commander of the 162nd Squadron, on occasion, asserted, “We are proud of Captain Velinov and the whole Bulgarian aviation. Their training here in Arizona strengthens both the European Union and the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization ) alliance.”
F-16 Fighting Falcon is a – single-engine multirole fighter aircraft that has been developed by General Dynamics for the – United States Air Force (USAF). Since its production, to date, a total of 4,600 aircraft have been built.
The improved versions of the aircraft are being built for export to other countries. Features of the F-16 are a frameless bubble canopy for good visibility, side-mounted control sticks to ease control while manoeuvring, an ejection seat reclined 30 degrees from vertical to lessen the effect of g-forces on the pilot, & the first utilization of a relaxed static – stability/fly-by-wire flight control system that supports to make it an agile aircraft.