The pilot of the F-16 Viper, which is the U.S. Air Force’s frontline fighter and attack aircraft, is at the pinnacle of combat aviation. Viper Force tells the story of what it takes to become an F-16 pilot and what it’s like to fly and fight the Viper in combat. Because the F-16 is a dual-purpose combat aircraft, its pilot must master two widely divergent disciplines: air-to-air flying against enemy fighters to maintain control of the air over the battle field and air-to-ground flying in support of ground forces, soldiers, and marines, in contact. The crucible for creation of the Viper pilot is the air force’s 56th Fighter Wing, the successor to World War II’s 56th Fighter Group, the legendary Zemke’s Wolpack, which also flew a fighter/attack aircraft, the P-47 Thunderbolt. Viper Force also provides an up-close and personal look at the F-16 Viper squadron at war with information on its missions, command and control in the air, and the crucially important but often overlooked maintenance and ordnance ground crew.
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About the Author
John M. Dibbs is an award-winning air-to-air photographer, who has flown in more than 120 different aircraft types, undertaken 850-plus air-to-air sorties, and authored eleven books including his widely acclaimed Flying Legends series. He lives in Redmond, Washington.www.planepicture.comRobert “Cricket” Renner is a 1988 Air Force Academy graduate who retired in 2010 following twenty-two years of active duty service, almost all of which involved flying combat aircraft. With over 3,200 hours in the F-15 Eagle, Lieutenant Colonel Renner flew thirty-seven combat sorties over northern and southern Iraq, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, and has been rated as an instructor pilot since 1994. He resides with his family near Anchorage in Eagle River, Alaska.